Michele Wong is a fitness and wellness client management expert with nearly two decades of experience in programming and operations, serving community centers, medical fitness centers, corporations, and residential communities. We had a chance to speak with Michele about how her company, Active Wellness, markets itself to potential clients and helps those clients achieve their business goals.
Tell us a little about your background. Why are you so passionate about the fitness and wellness industry?
Fitness and wellness are foundational in my life. They have enabled me to live the best life possible and be the best “me” for the people in my life. I feel fortunate to be able to have a job where I get to make connections every day from my personal to my professional life.
Given the diverse range of services that your company can offer its clients, how do you go about marketing Active Wellness to all these different niche industries?
Our new business strategy is focused around different targets. Based on those targets, we create messaging, content, and our products to work within their industry.
What have been some of the most successful lead generation channels or strategies for your company in the past?
Our regional manager’s local network, former employees, and liaisons that have moved to new locations and who need management services are our best sources for leads. We believe in a partnership with our clients, so we have seen our business grow through referrals in the communities we serve. We have also been successful at generating qualified leads through third-party partnerships. Our vendor partners will often recommend us to their partners who are looking for management services.
Even though you are a B2B company, do you still utilize social media as a marketing channel for any reason?
Yes, we leverage social media including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn to share fitness industry news, company news, and highlights from our employees and members.
How do you communicate to potential clients that hiring your company will actually save them money or generate more revenue in the long run?
Our clients appreciate that we provide financial modeling for their specific business as part of our sales process. Immediate savings can be demonstrated right up front in direct employee costs and in the management of third-party vendors for products and services where we have national contracts and purchasing power. Additionally, financial modeling provides clients with the business case for management services. In commercial facilities, our sales and marketing expertise increases membership revenues and lowers cost-per-member acquisition. In corporate models, our track record on engagement allows us to show offsets in operating expenses through sales of ancillary services.
Since corporate wellness is such a hot topic right now, how do you position your company to stand out from the crowd of competitors?
We prefer to focus on a well-being approach which is more holistic when compared to the traditional employee wellness programs, most of which are focused on managing or minimizing health risks. Given the nature of our business, we typically attract employees who are more active; so we take a broad approach and focus on not just physical well-being but also social, carrier, financial, and community aspects of well-being. We adopted our programs for our corporate partners; and through higher engagement and employee satisfaction, we help reduced health risk and health care costs. This approach doesn’t require heavily dedicating resources to incentivizing the measurement of biometric markers. Our approach shifts the paradigm of measuring risk as the cornerstone of employee wellness.
Given how much the U.S. population is aging, do you expect the demand from elder care communities for your services to grow in the near future?
Yes, we are highly focused on helping our senior communities live actively. We are currently offering Active Aging programs through the community centers we manage in every area of the country. We know one of the most important physical programs for the elder community is fall prevention; but beyond physical programs, our goal is to provide a sense of belonging and connectedness to a larger community.
What other future opportunities do you foresee for your company – and what must you do to take advantage of those opportunities?
Since we deliver fitness and wellness management services in many different models, the opportunities in each one vary. In our community centers, we are implementing programs that offer something for every age and fitness level. This is an “everything under one roof” model and it includes everything from child care and specialized group training to medical services and chronic condition management. In the corporate space, we are seeing the need for more virtual programming and self-service fitness centers. Our procurement and design team is engaged with property managers and builders who want to offer a state-of-the-art fitness amenity with limited ongoing staff costs. On-demand staffing and virtual programming are bridging the gap between full-service centers and self-directed fitness models.
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