2016 Winner

YMCA of Greater Des Moines - Summer Campaign

Register Media

Des Moines, United States

Category Marketing Solutions for Advertising Clients

Media associated with this campaign

Overview of this campaign

The YMCA of Greater Des Moines built a state-of-the-art facility in downtown Des Moines to replace a dated, 55-year-old facility. During this time, we surveyed our readers to determine what their fitness habits were currently. We found that 63% exercise or have plans to, but don’t currently belong to a gym. Only 26% said they currently are a member of a fitness class or gym. Combining these insights with market opportunity from a local Scarborough study, we knew that there was opportunity to gain at least 10,500 new members within a 10-mile radius of their locations.

The YMCA of Greater Des Moines was facing membership decline during this time, largely because of an increase in competition. Not only are apartments adding on-site workout facilities, but the number of gyms and fitness classes increased greatly. To make matters worse, a massive country-club style fitness facility opened a new location drawing a lot of buzz throughout the community.

While the construction of the new downtown YMCA building received a fair amount of attention, the Y new they needed to expand upon their previous media mix to reach people who were looking for an authority on healthy living or seeking a membership to a fitness center.

Their objectives included:

1. Increase memberships by 1,500 net new units

2. Improve retention and brand affinity throughout the summer months

3. Measure and track effectiveness of marketing dollars

Any campaign they would run needed to be expansive and targeted. The YMCA of Greater Des Moines offers a variety of services including a special rehabilitation facility, wellness coaches, summer camp programs and corporate memberships. Even though their primary objective was to promote the new downtown location, they wanted to make sure none of their other business areas were left out of promotion.

Results for this campaign

We proposed an integrated solution that would be highly visible throughout their market area and highly engaging for those interested in achieving a healthy lifestyle. We ran print and digital display ads touting a free 1-day membership to drive action from consumers. To promote their expertise in fitness and increase engagement with their brand, they published native content pieces on DesMoinesRegister.com weekly, including video. Email blasts were sent out to non-members, encouraging them to download a free 1-day membership to test out the nearest facility.

Not only were we able to meet their growth and retention goals, we provided a way for them to measure the results of their marketing dollars. A landing page was created to track the pass downloads that results from our media plan. The insights we gained from this page, combined with user heat mapping allowed us to continuously optimize the creative and media plan for this customer.

Between April and August they exceeded their membership growth goal by 40%, and increased their retention rate by 15%. On average, that was a return on investment of $1,260,000 for a 3-month campaign.


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