This Beach Body Was Always Ready:
Battle Between Health & Fitness Frontrunners
If your boyfriend lives on carbs, cookies, and beer, he might not be the best support system if you’re trying to lose the 10 pounds you gained while hibernating last winter. Or maybe it’s time to quit drinking, quit dairy, quit gluten – or just start being more healthy in general. For many consumers, that’s where the local health and fitness program comes in: tried and true diet plans, workout tracking, and personal support.
Local reach is critical for health and fitness programs. Though many workout buffs and health fanatics have fantastic online sign-up programs, the ones that have storefronts can reach customers on another level. But are they local-branding savvy enough to hit all the marks?
Local consumers connect through search and online listings, ads, reviews from other customer experiences, and referrals. To see how two health and fitness programs compared as local brands, digital marketing company Brandify used its proprietary software to see what areas they excelled at, and others where they need some help. Brandify looked at local marketing for 492 Jenny Craig locations and 663 Weight Watchers locations, and though this battle was close, one brand stuck to the plan and hit the goals.
Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers are already household names in many places in the U.S. Some participants say that the option to attend meetings in person is the clincher for them, others know they can’t be trusted to show up to an optional event on a regular basis, and instead opt for online or phone one-on-one support. Weight Watchers was founded 20 years earlier than the competition, the company revamped its formula in 2011, and it recently got a boost from Oprah. But it wasn’t enough for the local marketing outcome – though the Data Quality, Local SEO, and Reviews rounds were close, Jenny Craig won this Brand Battle by taking everything in positive moderation.
The Final Scores
Jenny Craig: 679 Weight Watchers: 665
Battle Rounds: Data Quality | Local SEO | Reviews | Local Ads | Engagement
Like fitness plans and swimsuits, there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for brands to succeed at local. But each of the following Brand Battle rounds are an essential component to healthy marketing plans, and these two health and fitness program companies are staying ready so they don’t have to get ready.
Battle round: Data Quality
Data quality is to marketing what nutrition is to a health plan – the whole strategy doesn’t work if you don’t take it seriously.
Jenny Craig took on one of the most daunting challenges in local branding with its data quality, an essential component to local marketing. Many consumers looking for a local weight loss program will search online, and having those search results pop up without any errors can mean the difference between gaining a customer or being passed by.
Jenny Craig beat the competition in this Data Quality round with more accurate address and phone number data and fewer “Not Found” locations. But the brand’s data wasn’t perfect – on Google, 25% of Jenny Craig location addresses showed errors, and 65% of the company’s locations were unclaimed on Foursquare.
Not claimed locations were the only places where Weight Watchers beat Jenny Craig – overall, 43% of Weight Watchers’ reviewed locations were not claimed, compared to 50% of Jenny Craig’s locations. It was all downhill from there for Weight Watchers though, with 28% of its locations showing errors on Google, 90% of its locations not claimed on Foursquare, and nearly 50 locations not claimed on Google – almost 10%! The biggest loss for Weight Watchers on data quality was on Foursquare, where 61% of the company’s locations show the wrong address and 86% have an incorrect phone number. Jenny Craig took home the win in this round with just nine points over its competition: 76 to 67.
Winner: Jenny Craig
*Locations that were “not found” were not returned in any search results. Locations that were “not claimed” were returned in search results, but data about the location such as phone number and address could be incorrect or missing.
Battle round: Local SEO
An effective local Search Engine Optimization strategy means companies are taking their brand health plans seriously – and these two brands haven’t yet fully committed.
In another nine-point round, Jenny Craig was shown by Brandify’s research and analyzation to be excelling on Bing’s local search, with 60% of its locations showing up in the first, second, or third results positions for the keyword term “weight loss”.
But Weight Watchers did better on Google, with 70% of its locations showing up in the 1-3 positions for the term “diet programs”, compared to only 19% of Jenny Craig’s locations. The data was also telling in the locations that did not show up for both companies, and Jenny Craig came out on top again. 74% of Weight Watchers locations do not show up on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) for the search terms “diet program”, “health consultants”, or “weight loss” on Google and Bing search engines. In contrast, only 32% of Jenny Craig locations do not show up on SERPs for the same keywords – giving the company another slight lead over Weight Watchers, 61 to 50 for the round.
Winner: Jenny Craig
Battle round: Reviews
Many customers find reviews and referrals to be as useful as a spotter and these two brands should get off the same old SEO treadmill, and start lifting heavy.
Reviews are incredibly important for name brand weight loss programs like these two battlers – weight loss scams are rampant and diet pill ads flood broadcast networks every year. And consumers fall for the quick-fix fitness offers every year, too, meaning that a recommendation from a friend or consistently positive reviews can drive a steady uptick in new sign-ups.
This reviews round was also a close one that Jenny Craig just barely won. Brandify analyzed reviews for both companies from October 1, 2016, through March 2017 to gain an understanding of consumers’ opinions and their thoughts about the two programs’ effectiveness. Weight Watchers had more 4-star and 5-star rated locations, with 76% gaining those accolades compared to 72% of Jenny Craig locations. Both companies received very positive reviews that included the keyword term “staff”, with Weight Watchers receiving more than 90% positive sentiment for those reviews. For overall satisfaction, the two companies tied, both receiving nine points for the satisfaction that their customers expressed.
Where Jenny Craig beat out its competition in this third battle round was by having overall less negative sentiment, with 33% negative reviews, while Weight Watchers locations received 42% negative customer sentiment. Weight Watchers location reviews also showed strong negative sentiment of 78% on Yelp and Google combined for the keyword “weight”. Jenny Craig won the Reviews round, 18 to 13.
Winner: Jenny Craig
Battle round: Local Ads
Local ads are to marketing what nutrition is to a health plan – it’s 75% of the game.
Local ads are an essential part of every marketing strategy, and any company must be in touch with its local audience in order to succeed. This is especially true for name brand weight loss programs with storefronts such as these two, which are now competing with countless online-only programs.
The Jenny Craig brand took an undeniable lead in this round, though the company could still work on its local-focused ads. On average, 95% of Jenny Craig’s search keywords rank in the 1-3 positions on SERPs – the keywords that the company pays for in ads. According to SEMrush data, Jenny Craig spends more money on online advertising – about $500,000 per month for desktop and mobile compared to Weight Watchers’ spend, at not quite $72,000 per month for search ad campaigns, also for desktop and mobile. That helped Jenny Craig win this round with double the points of Weight Watchers, 18 to 9.
But Jenny Craig still has improvements to make, along with its competitor. Neither brand uses location extensions in advertisements, which would, for example, enable a user to direction pull up a map with directions to the nearest local store.
Winner: Jenny Craig
Battle round: Engagement
Engage those core muscles with every exercise you do – and don’t forget to put customer engagement at the top of your marketing priority list.
Engagement with local customers is a must for local health and fitness programs, and social media is often the place that companies find they can make this connection most effectively. For Weight Watchers, this was the only battle round that the company excelled at at won, beating Jenny Craig with more than double the round battle points, 34 to 16.
On Facebook, Weight Watchers locations had almost 30 times more check-ins than Jenny Craig locations, indicating Weight Watchers’ commitment to connecting with its customers. Weight Watchers locations performed better than Jenny Craig with regard to its local-social engagement strategy, and its corporate-social efforts. Weight Watchers also does a decent job of engaging the company’s social media fans overall, with a significantly better engagement rate than Jenny Craig.
Winner: Weight Watchers
Brand Battle Winner: Jenny Craig
Brandify’s Recommendations for Weight Watchers
- A HIGH-DATA DIET: Data quality is one of the most important details in a local marketing strategy, and Weight Watchers must start by fixing the address and phone number inaccuracies on the two search giants Google and Bing. Next, Weight Watchers should target its Foursquare muscles and claim the 91% of its location that are left unclaimed on the check-in favorite. For good measure, Weight Watchers should do a quality check of its Name, Address, and Phone number (NAP) data on Facebook.
- USE CORRECT FORM – ON SEO: Weight Watchers must use better form in its local SEO workouts – those few locations that do rank high on Bing SERPs aren’t enough to help this brand win its local customers. It needs a better strategy with local SEO to catch up to its competition, because it has a long way to go – more than 40% of Jenny Craig locations rank high on Bing’s results pages.
- TARGET REVIEWS FOR MORE GAINS: Weight Watchers does use local pages, but the company has an opportunity here. By extending their reviews base beyond social media and local-based sites like Yelp, Weight Watchers could create options for customers to leave reviews and ratings on their own webpages.
Brandify’s Recommendations for Jenny Craig
- WORK IN ON THE ENGAGEMENT MACHINE: Jenny Craig needs more engagement with customers, whether that means on social media or in online reviews. Claim profiles, maintain them with accurate data, and engage with customers on a local profile, Brandify says, and customers will trust your brand more, bringing more online activity and increasing reviews volume.
- GO DATA-BEAST MODE: Jenny Craig’s locations on Google have too many inaccurate locations – nearly a quarter have address inaccuracies. Improving this data quality, as well as the 65% of unclaimed Facebook locations, will help Jenny Craig keep its edge over the competition.
- STICK TO A LOCAL SEO DIET: To maintain its lead over Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig should take a look at its local SEO strategy on Google. The company’s locations rank high on Bing SERPs, but on Google, only 35% of its locations pop up as at least one of the top three results.
The battle was scored using Brandify’s Social Data Matching (SDM) technology with data from various channels,* including Google, Bing, Facebook, Yelp and Foursquare. Data was entered into the Brandify analytics engine to test the two companies’ local digital marketing footprint to determine a final Brandscore for each. The Brandscore is calculated with an algorithm consisting of more than 250 variables over 5 core location-based areas: Data Quality, Local SEO, Reviews, Social Engagement, and Local Advertising.
Street Fight and Brandify will publish a new Brand Battle each month.
*Other channel sources included in this analysis: Yellow Pages, MerchantCircle, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube.
Brandify is transforming the way businesses connect to consumers by leveraging location technology and offering unrivaled personal service. Brandify has helped hundreds of brands understand and improve their local presence. Current and past clients include True Value, Jo-Ann Fabrics, Applebee’s, Black & Decker, and more. For more information about Brandify, go to brandify.com.