impressions

Weight Watchers

Opening a new business-to-business distribution channel.

Background:

Weight Watchers International recognized that medium- to large-sized companies could be a rich source of new and renewed customers — women and men who would like to lose weight but whose lives are too busy to accommodate Weight Watchers meetings after work or on weekends. Sell-in posed a three-tiered challenge.

Franchisees had to buy into the opportunity so they would offer and support the product and the necessary infrastructure. Senior HR management had to buy into the benefits they would accrue in return for providing an onsite meeting place. A sufficient number of employees per site had to be recruited to form and sustain successful groups.

Assignment:

Develop and manage a campaign covering lead generation and fulfillment, worksite recruitment, trade show sales, re-enrollment, and all related collateral.

Solution:

First, one-on-one research among franchisees and client-side targets to assess receptivity. Then, a comprehensive program to supply all three audiences with the tools they needed for success. A sales kit armed franchisees with materials to mount a B2B sales effort and recruit new Weight Watchers members. An easy-to-use, step-by-step Sales Implementation Manual included sections on every facet of the process from sell-in through re-enrollment and housed samples of all communications materials.

Corporate targets received a series of direct mail packages, a sales video, sales presentations, and leave-behind materials. Each supported the value proposition of a healthy workforce and the goodwill created by a morale-building onsite program for employees. Themes ranged from "Help Shape Your Company's Future" to "Worksite Wellness-An Advantage in Today's Marketplace."

For employees, communications focused on food-related workplace challenges-the morning donuts, the candy machine, the high-fat cafeteria temptations. Messages about the power of group support and doing something special for yourself at work spoke to employees from posters, table tents, place mats, invitations and pre-enrollment Q&As.

Communications efforts among participating companies were bolstered by support materials including payroll stuffers and memo/newsletter/email templates written in different styles and tones to meet the needs of individual corporate cultures.

Results:

A 75% initial sell-in among all franchisees in North America-the highest response in Weight Watchers' history. After three years of ongoing promotional support, the new distribution channel represented 10% of Weight Watchers International's overall corporate sales.

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