GNC kicks off promotional push for loyalty program

PITTSBURGH: GNC is kicking off a promotional push for its just-unveiled loyalty club, known as the Member Price Program. Marketcom PR is assisting the company with the effort.

PITTSBURGH: GNC is kicking off a promotional push for its just-unveiled loyalty club, known as the Member Price Program. Marketcom PR is assisting the company with the effort.

The initiative will allow members to access GNC's products at a reduced cost. A previous GNC loyalty program, known as Gold Card, has nearly 7 million active members who will be transferred to the new program. 

A major difference between the two initiatives is that the former only offered some deals at certain times of a month, while the new program gives deals continuously. For instance, members can save up to 50% on vitamins, supplements, and diet and sports-nutrition products every day, said Jennifer Brinker, SVP of marketing at GNC.

The awareness campaign will include national radio spots beginning May 6, direct mail and marketing email, store signage, and digital and social marketing. It is also using press releases and media outreach. As the program rolls out and customers take advantage of everyday member pricing, GNC will micro-target its customers based on their buying patterns.

The effort's goal is for consumers to benefit from a deeper dialogue with GNC. For example, if someone buys a diet product, the company may micro-target him for a complimentary vitamin, Brinker said.

GNC has high hopes that the outreach will draw more attention to the company.

“Our goal is to broaden our customer base among the enormous pool of consumers in this country who have made health and wellness and fitness activities an important part of their lives,” Brinker said.

The initiative also gives GNC a tool to reach across customer demographics, from serious athletes to those concerned about health and wellness and consumers in between, she said. It sees strong potential in the Baby Boomer category.

Introducing the program has risks, as well, said Brinker. Gold Card is the supplement industry's largest loyalty program, so it must make sure its 7 million members are in the loop. On the flip side, outreach must create excitement about member pricing among non-members or lapsed members “because we see a major opportunity to increase the base of Member Price Program members,” said Brinker.

Marketcom is performing ongoing corporate communications work, including marketing and media relations support for the Member Price Program. It deferred comment on its efforts to GNC.

The company reported $664.7 million in revenue in the first quarter of 2013, a 6.5% increase compared with the same period of last year. Net income was up 14% in the period.

Last year, GNC worked with Edelman to launch a line of nutrition products developed in partnership with actor Mark Wahlberg.

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