Active Lifestyle. Part 2

Friday, October 12, 2012 12:29
Posted in category Health

Most professionals in the fitness industry probably have their own opinions about these questions, but part of the problem lies in the last question. Active-lifestyle marketing research and strategies are available, but researchers have failed to make active-lifestyle providers and promoters aware of them. However, even without knowledge of this research, fitness professionals can read Chapter 6 of the 1996 Surgeon General’s Report, entitled Understanding and Promoting Physical Activity. While the content can be a bit overwhelming, professionals can combine the theories from the report with three frameworks to gain insight into how best to promote physical fitness.

The frameworks

Three important frameworks can help to design and implement any marketing strategy. One framework encourages the idea of stages which people move through when adopting a behavior. In the fitness industry, the behavior is participation in a sport or exercise program. A second framework proposes that an associative network of knowledge called a means-end chain guides an individual’s behavior. The means-end chain helps to explain how people might be motivated to adopt a specific form of active lifestyle behavior. The third framework encompasses the concept of involvement. This concept helps to understand the relationship between self-relevance and the desire to change or maintain specific types of behavior.

Following is an overview of each framework, as well as a discussion on the theories in Chapter 6 of the Surgeon General’s Report and how they aid in understanding the frameworks. Also included is a summary of research findings that suggest strategies for marketing the active lifestyle.

Stage of adoption framework. The stages of adoption framework suggests that people will adopt a sport or exercise program in a series of phases. Figure 1 illustrates an Active Lifestyle Stages of Adoption Model (ALSAM). This model is based on qualitative and quantitative data from a variety of sources, including theoretical models commonly used in business literature, the transtheoretical model from health literature (see Chapter 6, p.213) that was developed out of research in psychotherapy, data from several worksite programs, a health club interest study and a windsurfing participation study. The ALSAM consists of two broad phases: active and inactive. Within each of these phases, the several adoption stages are all relevant to marketing strategy design.

Stages of adoption models, including ALSAM, have several similarities. First, they all propose that exercise or sport adoption is not an instantaneous or random event. There are antecedents to adoption, which are the cognitive stages (awareness, comprehension, interest, evaluation, decision, trial, etc.) that people pass through on their way to adopting physical activity. Thus, your marketing strategies should help motivate people to move through each stage. Encouraging the adoption of a behavior via the stage approach is thought to be the most effective way to encourage adoption and maintenance of the desired behavior.

A second similarity among stages of adoption models is that they state that people progress through the stages at varying rates. People can move back a stage (or several stages) as well as forward. It is the job of active lifestyle promoters and providers to understand the reasons people slip backward and move forward.

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