Cool New Marketing Technologies: Caught and Served

Marketing Lessons from CrossFit

By jlovett

April. The gyms that once were swarming with New Year’s resolution-ers are back to their normal pace. But for me this year, something is different. The reason: CrossFit. After becoming a member late last year, and having quickly assumed the role of proselytized junkie, I wanted to take my experience as a CrossFitter and understand from a marketing standpoint, how CrossFit has been able to distance itself from the competition and create legions of brand advocates. Here is what I’ve learned:

1. Acquisition – To overcome the reluctance associated with doing anything new, especially joining a gym, CrossFit not only provides the first class for free, but also goes out of their way to acknowledge you and welcome you. Prior to my first class, I received a confirmation email, a follow-up phone call, and upon arrival the first day, was greeted by name at the door, shown the lockers and told to change. Compare that to the standard ‘gym tour’ where you are paraded around the gym in your street clothes, looking every bit the complete and utter neophyte. There is also little commitment to joining CrossFit. There’s no membership contract, and anyone can quit at any time. Once you decide to join, you have basically 2 membership options to choose from. Since CrossFit is a premium priced service, they offer 2 classes a week at a cost that is relatively comparable to a good gym and an unlimited class program for roughly 2.5X that price. They know from a psychological standpoint that offering 3 per week at an incrementally higher price than the 2 per week, they would see fewer upgrading to the unlimited, because hey, 3 workouts per week is probably all most people need. It’s important to note that they feel extremely confident in their product and that although many members do start off with the less expensive option many do ultimately switch to the higher priced unlimited program.

2. Gamification – Ok, I’ve been told this term is played out, so let’s call it sustained motivation, (susmotification?). Regardless, this is a primary reason that CrossFit becomes so addictive and effective for people because you are competing against yourself and others. Workouts are repeated every so often, giving you an opportunity to beat your previous best. There is also an unspoken competition with others as well. Since everyone does the same workout each day, everyone’s times are posted on the board. You are able to see that the hundred pound girl from the 5:30AM class completed the workout in 21 minutes with a 55 pound weight and you are hell bent to beat her. Within the class themselves, they often pair you up with someone who you want to beat head to head, or team you up, motivating you to both beat the other team and work harder so as to not let you own team down. As a result of this competition, you give more than you would by exercising alone, have more fun, and get better results.

3. Community and engagement – In most gyms, people go about their own workout, rarely interacting with each other, even in the group classes. CrossFit creates a much more personable and intimate experience. The classes are typically small, and everyone at the gym is doing the same workout of the day (WOD), and can thus converse and moan (wallballs anyone?) with each other about the experience. They further establish the sense of community by creating ‘inside’ names. For example, a CrossFit gym is called a ‘Box’ and the workouts have female names (Diane and Barbara) and are also named for fallen soldiers, which drives a sense of purpose among members. Because of the community atmosphere, it is not uncommon for CrossFitters to get together outside of the gym, furthering the loyalty towards CrossFit.

4. Advocacy – When was the last time someone said to you, “You really need to join my gym, it’s amazing”? Probably never. Most people instead are trying to sell the remainder of their locked in membership contracts on Craigslist. But CrossFitters are like the Apple fans of the gym world. They will talk on and on about CrossFit and the paleo diet and tell you how it changed their life and that you should try it, all while dressed in their CrossFit hoodie. This army of walking testimonials promotes CrossFit much better than any corporate marketing campaign could. This is why when you can’t get away from the ubiquitous gym advertising in December and early January, you never see a CrossFit ad. They don’t have to, which of course helps in acquisition (see bullet point 1), creating a virtuous cycle.

CrossFit has created a unique niche in a very crowded gym marketplace. We as marketers can learn a lot about how CrossFit has been able to create a unique and powerful brand and separate themselves from their competition in an extremely competitive and established fitness space.

What YouTube One Means for My Brand Channel

By Greg Jones

Welcome to the future of YouTube! YouTube just announced YouTube One is beginning to roll out. If you’d like to be the first brand on the block to take full advantage of the new look; read through my Channel Checklist, and then click through at the end of the article to upgrade your channel. Happy YouTubing!

Channel Checklist

1. Channel Icon

The channel icon has been around for quite some time. With recent updates to YouTube and closer ties with Google+, Google has been making a push to keep channel names and icons consistent across both services. If you haven’t already, I would recommend you pick a logo or image which best represents your brand, upload it to Google+, and use the same image for your YouTube channel icon.

2. Channel Art

Gone are the days of YouTube background art (sad, I know). If you are currently relying on it to deliver brand colors and styles to your channel page, you are in for a very big change!

Channel art has replaced background art and is your primary opportunity to express your visual identity. This is very akin to Google+ and Facebook cover photos, so it should look familiar.

The plus side is your channel will now have a similar look and feel anywhere your channel is found, and on any screen size, as channels are now designed responsively. This does pose a few challenges, as your Channel art will look slightly different with each device and screen dimension you view it on. Download and review the Channel Art Specification in order to avoid awkward crops and off-brand layouts.

3. Channel Description

Your channel description has moved to its own tab called “About”, and now takes up the center column of the page. In the past, the channel description has lived in the right hand column, and was typically a very short paragraph or else it was cut off. I would recommend that you revisit your channel description text and expand upon it to fill the new space you have been given.

4. Web Links / Social Links

Web links and social links have been pulled out of the right hand column and overlaid on your Channel Art. Keep your link title text short, and use this as an opportunity to cross link your social profiles if you haven’t done so already.

5. Add Sections

Sections are a new user experience element which let you organize how your videos and playlists are laid out on your channel page. You can add sections or delete them as you see fit, but the most helpful content streams to add here seem to be “Recent Uploads” for your regulars, “Single playlist” if you upkeep one or more playlists  with weekly or monthly content, each deserves its own section, and finally “Popular Uploads” to help newcomers view your best stuff first.

If you upkeep multiple channels, this is a great opportunity to consider consolidating all of that content into its own Sections of a single channel, if possible.

6. Channel Trailer

This is the best feature that has been added to YouTube One Channel. Channel Trailer is the first thing that greets someone who hasn’t subscribed to your channel. It’s a video placeholder to allow you to shoot a high quality channel pitch to welcome viewers to your channel, and explain to them what they can expect to see from your channel and why they should subscribe. If you have a production calendar with daily or weekly topics or programs, this is the place to share it. Use video annotations to help guide viewers to additional content, or to get them to subscribe.

Ready to get started?

Visit the YouTube One Channel Page, and don’t forget to check out the Channel Art Guidelines if you get stuck.

Your Customers Are Telling You Something. Are You Listening?

By DHawkins

In today’s world nearly everything can be done in a virtual environment. Long-gone are the days when you had to get in your car and drive to the store to purchase the latest and greatest cassette tape, jean jacket, or George Forman grill. We can shop from our laptops, iPads and smartphones while on the beach, waiting at an airport, or even in the bathroom.

With all of the gadgets and activity in the online community, how can you keep track of and learn from customer behavior on your website? Customers come through your virtual door all day and night – the “store” never closes. Whether you are selling a product, a service, or looking to generate leads for a business, the behavior of each and every person who enters your site can provide you with invaluable information.

In the movie “Field of Dreams”, the mantra was ‘If you build it, they will come’. A lot of websites are built with this in mind. People think that if you simply have a web presence, then people will come flocking to your site, buy or learn about your product and sales will be through the roof. They tend to forget that there are hundreds of other purveyors out in cyberspace that compete directly or indirectly with their product and can take away their potential customers. Competition is everywhere, so how do you make yourself stand out and how do you know if your site is working for you?

There are many companies who already recognize that the insight that they can gain from looking at the patterns and behaviors of their everyday visitors can unlock the code to opening the floodgates of success. It’s no secret as to how these smart websites get ahead of their competition: It’s Analytics.

Analytics is more than collecting data and creating spreadsheets of numbers. It involves delving into the data and looking for patterns and trends and letting that insight drive business decisions that move the company forward. How do you do that? We start with these steps:

Define Your Goals

Define your goals and highlight those metrics (site activities) that can be used as a measuring stick for success. We like to call these KPIs or key performance indicators. For example, if your goal is to increase subscriptions to your online newsletter, then look at the number of visits to the newsletter sign-up page and the number of successful sign-ups. You can make site changes in hopes of influencing your conversion rate (# of sign-ups/# of visits) such as altering the length of the sign-up form, changing the location of the form on the website, or even changing the color or text within the “submit” button.

Create A Measurement Plan

Create a measurement plan for your overall website. The measurement plan will include metrics such as number of unique visitors, average time on site, top pages views, documents downloaded, bounce rate, as well as all site activities (newsletter sign ups, contact us, or information requests). Use the measurement plan to drive your reporting which will be used to craft your story.

Use an Implementation Plan

An implementation plan provides direction to the website developer as to where to place code to track specific on-page events. Most analytics tools will provide for page tracking as well as more specific coding to capture unique events. Testing of the implementation is vital to insuring that all metrics are being accounted for and are tracking correctly.

Optimize, optimize, optimize

Optimization is vital to the ongoing success of any website. Whether you are selling a product or gathering leads, each engagement provides an opportunity to learn how people interact with your site and how they gather information. Tactics such as A/B testing, Multivariate testing, and testing targeted at site conversions can help to drive pivotal business decisions.

An A/B test can be used to test one version of a headline versus another for example. In this way, you can determine which headline drives more traffic. Multivariate testing will allow for testing multiple changes at one time, for example, testing one version of a landing page versus another. Finally, you can test elements such as placement, color, and design as they relate to user interaction with forms, buttons, or other desired site actions.


An analyst gathers all of the data and looks at the bigger picture. Throughout the process, we will be able to sift out the site activities that are in line (or out of line) with the original goals and measurement plan. To be successful, the analyst must have an understanding of each individual business and its goals in order to make accurate recommendations.

At Cramer, we take the time to get to know our clients both from the perspective of where they sit currently in their marketplace and where they would like to be. Discover what your customers are telling you. Let’s write the next great story – yours.