Hyperlocal Targeting and AI Have Made Orangetheory Fitness a Nearly $1 Billion Business

The brand is launching a national campaign to bolster growth

Orangetheory Fitness plans to grow its business in 2018.
Orangetheory Fitness

By the end of 2018, Orangetheory Fitness plans to have 1,300 studios in 17 countries, and by midyear, it expects to hit $1 billion in revenue. To get there, the fitness brand has worked with Knoxville, Tenn.-based The Tombras Group over the past three years, building its membership with a hypertargeted approach—strategic programmatic, social and mobile media buys—for people within a certain distance of its studios.

Now, the company is launching its first national brand campaign to build upon that work.

“When Orangetheory started in 2010, there wasn’t anything like it in the world,” said Kevin Keith, chief brand officer at Orangetheory Fitness. “Today, there are many copycat boutique fitness concepts that attempt to replicate us but fail because they haven’t made the investments we have made in the science, training and technology that together give our members incredible results. Because of this, we want to tell the world the why behind Orangetheory and how our science-backed approach to group personal training literally gives people more life.”

Given the company’s growth—in 2015, when it began working with The Tombras Group, it had 200 locations; now it has more than 840—a national campaign is a more efficient approach to building brand awareness than relying solely on word of mouth and local digital marketing.

“Our brand campaign in 2018 is strategically designed to equitably elevate brand visibility across the entire country and in doing so bolster the effectiveness of our digital AI lead generation,” Keith said. 

“The marketing has always been about getting people to try a class in our studio to experience it for themselves in a category where people have become jaded to false promises and claims,” Keith said. “Once a person comes in for a trial, we have a terrific rate of conversion to a member.”

To Orangetheory Fitness, the marketing issue isn’t getting people to stick around once they try the fitness classes, but getting people into the studio.

“To get people in, we’ve mostly invested in hyperlocal social lead generation ads targeting affluent women living within three to five miles of each studio to gain a studio member base,” Keith explained. “Once the studio had gained a solid member base, two-thirds of new members come through existing members who love the experience, love the results and refer their friends and family.”

In the new year, Orangetheory Fitness plans to increase its media spending and do more national advertising to go along with its digital work.

“Through several predictive modeling exercises, we discovered that our lead generation works more effectively when complemented with top-down brand advertising,” Keith said. “Further, we’ve augmented our digital strategy with AI to make our buys even more cost-effective and continue the strategy that we started with and paired with the national campaign to push the brand over the $1 billion mark.”

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