Marketing Sports Nutrition Products to Everyday People


Is broadening the scope of your health nutrition brand a good idea?

The majority of sports nutrition companies that market products like energy bars, powdered supplements and sports drinks have traditionally, and almost exclusively, targeted professional athletes. That trend seems to be changing.

According to an article by Stephen Daniells of nutraingredients-usa-com, leading OTC company, Swisse Wellness is now focusing on what they term  “a premium quality sports nutrition range designed for everyday men and women who lead busy, active lifestyles.”

The article also cited a 2013  report by Packaged Facts that suggested sports brands could improve profits by focusing on casual athletes such as fitness walkers and yoga buffs.

I  can appreciate the need for companies to expand their offering to keep growing. However, as a professional athlete and a veteran marketer, I can’t help but wonder
if some of the brands that follow suit will run the risk of diluting their marketing messages. And will the added sales be worth that cost?

Gatorade is a great example of a brand that tried to expand into convenience stores to capture the added business of “everyday men and women”.  And, yes, it did damage to their brand. The article “How Gatorade Redefined Its Audience And A Flagging Brand” (written by Jason Feifer and printed in Fast Company, 2012) describes the uphill battle to undo that damage.

I’m not saying that it is always a bad idea for sports nutrition brands to market to a broader audience, but I would caution that it is not without risk. Maybe powerhouse brands like Swisse Wellness can afford to make a few wrong turns with their brand, but smaller sports nutrition companies may want to tread lightly.

Rather than jumping on the proverbial bandwagon and going after an audience as undefined as “active men and women”, perhaps your marketing dollars—and your energy—might be better spent developing a rich, interactive online relationship with your current target audience. There are plenty of dedicated athletes that will appreciate your brand more for its loyalty and love of true sport.

You can read Stephen Daniell’s article in its entirety at Swisse Wellness on US sports nutrition sector: ‘We think there’s an opportunity in this space to make a big impact’

Follow Jessica on Twitter @JessClay to discover new marketing tactics that can energize your health or nutrition brand.

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