How Weight Watchers Is Using People-Powered Marketing and Winning

Weight Watchers has used their Crowdtap program to create new products, find new customers and bring back old ones.

people-powered marketing

Last month at the WOMMA Summit, Crowdtap and Weight Watchers shared their experience working together to put “people-powered marketing” to use. Both organizations are seeing results. And why shouldn’t they? Millennials love brands more than any other generation, but they also think they have the power to determine whether a brand fails or succeeds, according to a study done by Havas Worldwide.

Crowdtap CMO Anna Kassoway says that’s because consumers “want to be heard and recognized for what they do and say. This follows through all the way from product ideation — “‘asking what do you think about this new packaging? What products do you want?’ — all the way until content creation and distributing it.”

Recently, Weight Watchers has put Crowdtap to work on creating new products. Lauren Salazar, director of social for Weight Watchers, says being specific has helped. Weight Watchers has long been sharing recipes, but by asking current, past and prospective members what they actually want, they can streamline the whole process. She says:

In general we know areas and topics — for fall, people are interested in seasonal food and everything. But by actually asking specific questions, we are able to tailor it in interesting ways. We asked our crowd what type of recipe they were looking for around apples and what kind of pairings they might be interested in. We were able to hone in on what people were really looking for. The result of that type of polling was creating this apple snack recipe that had peanut butter and chocolate chips, which we then shared with the community. When we do this, true to form, the recipe was shared and outperformed other content.

Weight Watchers has over 17,000 members in its Crowdtap community. But you only need a few to make a big difference. Salazar told me that while rolling out a new program last January, they tapped about 25 social influencers and asked them to share their experience:

We’ve really shifted our focus. [Before the Crowdtap program], we might have approached our influencer program differently, where we would just tell them about a product. And now we ask them to have an experience with it and they can talk authentically about it and their readers felt it. When we looked back at how this product did across TV, PR, digital and display we saw that 25 people drove 22 percent of all conversation around that product in January.

That’s sort of insane when you think about it. But Kassoway isn’t surprised:

Through discussions and polls, they’re able to include consumers from the beginning. Even though you have these hunches about things as a marketer, you can go directly to the consumer.

Weight Watchers is one of those brands that’s always been about creating communities — it’s sort of innate in their brand. But everything is adapting towards people-powered marketing. Kassoway says:

Everything is shifted to being community driven. As things shift away from the traditional channels where we broadcast at consumers, every brand will want to tap at least a portion of this. There isn’t going to be a brand of the future that isn’t consumer-centric in the way that they are empowering consumers to market for them and with them.

You can read more about Crowdtap and their methods here.