Ahead of the Pack: 5 Lessons From Peloton’s Phenomenal Growth Story

pelotons marketing strategy

Ahead of the Pack: 5 Lessons From Peloton’s Phenomenal Growth Story

With a global member base of 4.4 million members and 1.67 million bikes and treadmills sold, there’s no doubt about it. Peloton isn’t stuck in the peloton (that’s cycling jargon for in the pack). In fact, the US-based company is well ahead of the game. That’s why we were so excited to welcome Anke Drewicke, their Head of Marketing Germany, for our latest edition of our SCALEup Marketer’s Snackbox webinar.

While Peloton has been around since 2012 and even had an IPO in 2019, they launched in Germany just over one year ago. How has their first year been in a market known for its love for fitness – but also a notoriously difficult one for a strong launch? Find out all the scoop below, including about Peloton’s marketing strategy in Germany, how they tailored their messaging and where they think the future is going when bricks-and-mortar fitness studios are back in action.

TV advertising works wonders

Anke explains there’s one channel they go to for raising awareness about their brand. “TV is unbeatable for brand awareness,” she explains. But that’s not quite all. Peloton is also in general a very performance driven company – and it turns out TV was pretty good for performance, too. “We take everything and figure out conversions,“ she explains. “TV was converting well, otherwise we wouldn’t do it.“ Lesson learnt – digital isn’t the only way forward when you’ve got performance on the brain. Especially with TV experiencing such an uptick in viewership in 2020

Their messaging is more explanatory than emotional (so far)

In the UK, there was a spillover effect from the US on launch, meaning many consumers already knew the product. But this wasn’t the case in Germany where nobody knew the product on launch. This affected Peloton’s marketing strategy, in particular their advertising messaging. “I’m a storytelling fan, but you can’t do that (explaining around the product) until you know the product,” she explains. That’s why Peloton’s advertising in Germany over the last year has been very product-focused.

From a storytelling standpoint, she spotlights the Reasons campaign, a campaign in the US which spotlights users who explain why they are on a Peloton bike and what it means to them. “It’s too early to do that for the German market, but I’m convinced the time will come,” she smiles. 

User acquisition AND retention are high

While performance is great for acquisition, she’s found that grassroots word-of-mouth is also propelling Peloton forward. “Members have supported our acquisition campaigns simply with word-of-mouth. Peloton is a very member-focused brand and I have never experienced a company like this before,“ she explains.

But it’s not just acquisition that’s a focus of Peloton’s marketing strategy: user retention is also key. “We invested a lot of money, blood, sweat and tears into retention,” explains Anke. And how do they keep their users motivated? High quality content. “The Peloton product is about the content,” she says. “It’s about classes too – in summer or winter.” Peloton may be known for its bike but there are even classes for activities like outdoor running, too. It’s a versatile enough offering to keep people subscribed – and to avoid the dreaded churn.

Competition is good – but the Peloton concept is here to stay

“We aren’t a trend, or just a product, but in fact we invented a whole new category,” she says. And what about rivals like Zwift, Tonal or Mirror? Is she worried? “First of all, we love competition. It helps up to stay on top of our game,” she says. “But I’m convinced by the Peloton concept. With our free hardware software and classes, we have a real USP. Who delivers that on a daily basis like us?”

And that applies too for the comeback of the gyms. “Peloton is reacting to the changing fitness habits of customers right now”, she says. And she thinks those habits will last much longer, even with the gyms open. “I think we will be sustainable and increase our numbers even more because of our great concept. We are just at the beginning and there is much more capacity and space to grow,“ she said.

There are some exciting content partnerships in the making

It’s clear that a crucial tenet of Peloton’s marketing strategy is content partnerships. “For example, Peloton music is one of our strongest concepts,” she explains. Peloton have since last year started releasing exclusive music and playlists on the platform, with Anke noting how they have recently had a partnership with none other than Beyoncé. Who run the world?!

And over to sports partnerships, as Peloton is a fitness company at the end of the day. Anke’s excited for the summer of sports, with the European Football Championships and the Olympics too. Right now, they’re collaborating with the DFB Academy (the official academy of the German football association) on special workouts and challenges in which users can train with the teams of the DFB Academy. “Working together with them, we focus on creating workouts promoting functional fitness excellence,” Anke says.

Oh and one more. What about the rumour that Joe Biden has a Peloton bike, but the White House won’t let it in?

“I’m not sure about this question,” she smiles. “But knowing us, we would have found a way.”

Thanks, Anke!

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