Where's the Spend?
For the most part, diet-related products fall into two categories: meal replacements and appetite suppressants, says Rodriguez. "That probably ties in a lot to the psychographics," he notes. "I think you've got two types of people: Those who basically want the quick fix and those who are more health oriented."
In fact, the concept of dieting has changed over the years, with greater emphasis placed on healthy eating, rather than deprivation. Parker says, "We believe that most dieters—particularly after trying 'quick fix' approaches that may not have worked for them—are interested in a balanced, comprehensive and safe approach to weight loss." Which may account for the high profiles of weight management companies such as Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers.
Along with primary products and services such as appetite suppressants and meal replacement options, other products of interest to the weight conscious include exercise apparel, sports clubs and diet-related publications.
A Touch of Humor
When reaching out to dieters, whether via direct mail, e-mail or TV advertising, Parker suggests a little humor goes a long way. "With all of the self-image and health implications involved with being overweight, weight loss is a serious subject and ours is a fairly serious business. However, Jenny Craig's current marketing campaign is taking higher ground," he describes. "Through our promotion of Kirstie Alley and integration of her honest, straightforward humor, we believe we have created a paradigm shift around the perception that weight loss can actually be a positive experience, instead of a painful one."
However, you don't have to execute an elaborate media campaign to reach weight-conscious consumers. For instance, Herbalife, a provider of weight management, nutritional supplement and personal care products, recently has had success using a postcard with an inbound number so prospects can call in to qualify themselves. According to Rodriguez, whose firm Bulls Eye Marketing worked on the campaign, the company feels the postcard is the most cost effective for them. "The objective is to try to better target their market, rather than put something out there that's broad-scoped and generic," he explains.