The weight loss industry is just huge, with the annual revenue of the US weight loss industry some $61 billion. That means lots of businesses are cashing in on obesity, as 108 million people are on diets in the US alone at any point in time.
How lucrative is this business? Just look at how much celebrities are paid to endorse major weight loss programs. The fee is as high as $3 million, ABC News reports.
One of the companies doing exceptionally well in the industry is Weight Watchers, a weight management system that has become a veritable way of life for millions of people across the globe—from the US and China to Europe and New Zealand. It's a case study of how savvy marketing can propel a company to the forefront of its industry.
Weight Watchers is clearly the dominant company among weight-loss centers and programs, banking north of $1.2 billion each year. It is at least three times larger than its primary competitors, Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig. Weight Watchers has some 8 million website visitors per month and 1.72 million paid online subscribers.
So what are the company's marketing secrets? Let's take a look at six savvy principles Weight Watchers has implemented to solidify its position at the top of the weight-loss stack.
1. Give them what they want, not what they need
We are driven by our desires. We buy expensive fast cars because we crave the "success" image associated with them, not because they are a sensible mode of transportation. We want iPhones because they are a status symbol, not because of the crystal clear voice reception. Same with Jimmy Choos, and Louis Vuitton bags. Sales of such products are all driven by wants.
Weight-loss products are no different. We may know that the key to losing weight is to cut out junk food and eat more vegetables. But that's not what we want. We want to be able to eat our donuts and drink our Frappuccinos. And, smartly, Weight Watchers lets us do that.
Matthew Denos, PhD is an entrepreneur, biologist, and blogger who studies and reviews Weight Watchers and other clinically proven weight loss programs.