Peloton, a leader in the at-home fitness market offering live and on-demand fitness group classes, just hired Lori Tauber Marcus as CMO. She is charged with expanding the brand that is already spinning fitness forward.
Founded in 2012, Peloton’s high design and social connectivity enables real-time expert instructor feedback, monitoring of output metrics, and interaction and competition with fellow riders.
The New York-based company’s streaming app costs $39/month and its branded stationary bikes cost $1,995. With close to $120 million in funding from investors including L Catterton, Peloton’s biggest challenge now is to build awareness with consumers.
As Marcus told Ad Age, “The company has created such disruptive innovation in a new category that we have some explaining to do to consumers in terms of what is this product.” Her experience includes marketing and general management roles with Keurig Green Mountain Inc., The Children’s Place, Nielsen Marketing Research and PepsiCo.
In May, Peloton will debut a new ad campaign and Marcus said the marketing spend this year will be higher than the $6.3 million spent on measured media last year.
As for other notable brands in the category, Equinox-owned SoulCycle and Flywheel Sports, Marcus told Ad Age, “They’re not competitive, they’re complementary. They do a great job of getting people invested in fitness and spinning but then people need a complementary home solution.”
brandchannel spoke to Marcus about the challenges ahead for Peloton.
bc: What are the biggest challenges for brand growth at this point?
Lori Marcus: Peloton is an amazing at-home fitness experience. The workout is killer, the breadth of live and on-demand rides is beyond imagination, and the community of riders is extraordinary. Because it’s not like anything out there, our biggest challenge is to communicate to consumers in a way that they understand it and are enticed to do further research and ultimately buy the bike.
bc: How did your previous experience at PepsiCo, The Children’s Place and Keurig Green Mountain prepare you for the disruption from Peloton in the category?
Marcus: PepsiCo was a wonderful place to learn all the fundamentals of brand strategy and activation. While at The Children’s Place, I was fortunate to get immersed in the world of e-commerce, social media marketing, CRM, visual merchandising and creative services. Then at Keurig Green Mountain, I was also able to experience the more complex world of marketing a disruptive innovation where technology plays such an important role in enabling the product experience for the consumer.
bc: What’s the magic elixir you’ve defined that offers the ease of at-home workouts but captures the discipline and social aspect of online participation?
Marcus: I don’t know if the original founders ever imagined how strong, connected and downright amazing the Peloton community would be. Of course, the bike is fabulous—a smooth ride, enabled by the best technology. The instructors do an amazing job, and their workouts vary for whatever music/ride you’re in the mood for every day. They engage the studio riders and the home riders alike so that every day, you can have the best workout of your year.
All of that said, the secret sauce, in my opinion, is the community. Riders don’t just compete with each other on the leaderboard—they support each other to help everyone achieve their personal best both on and off the bike. In all my years of marketing, I’ve never seen such a wonderful group of engaged riders/fans/friends.
bc: What’s the next business benchmark for the at-home fitness market?
Marcus: Our content is extraordinary with thousands of rides available on demand. We’ll continue to explore how to make the content even more rich and engaging. Our riders would like us to offer even more fitness opportunities beyond the bike.
bc: In taking on your new role, what about Peloton was most personally and professionally appealing and why?
Marcus: First and foremost, I purchased a bike earlier this year and became immediately obsessed with the product. After years of being bored to tears on my home elliptical, I was thrilled with the opportunity to get a challenging, engaging, fun ride for those early morning weekday workouts. Most days you’ll find me in my basement singing along with Jenn or Christine or Cody at 5:45am.
On a personal level, it is a privilege at this point in my life to market a product I care so deeply about. Professionally, I’m also thrilled with the opportunity to work for an early stage company where I can have significant impact on the company’s growth and work side by side with the founders to build an extraordinary culture.