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May 8, 2024
(Updated on
Jan 3, 2024

Athletic Greens Became The Health Norm Using One Main Marketing Strategy

Source: Athletic Greens

If you’ve ever listened to a podcast, there’s a chance you’ve heard about Athletic Greens. How did it become so popular in the saturated wellness business? CEO Chris Ashende founded the nutritional green powdered drink in 2010 and, over time, developed an astounding $2.2 million in monthly podcast marketing spend. Ingredients include probiotics, digestive enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and powdered and dried fruits and vegetables. They are a wellness brand that offers a single product and operates on a subscription model, recently reaching an astounding valuation of $1.2 billion with their flagship product, AG1, which is only available for purchase on their website

Chris's early endeavours showcased his natural business aptitude, marking the beginning of his entrepreneurial adventure. His early success as a salesman was on display when he ran a lemonade stand. Foreshadowing his capacity to recognize and capitalize on market opportunities, his entrepreneurial zeal was on full display when he upsold a weary hiker from a plain lemonade to a more pleasant beer. During his time in high school, Chris read Dr. Michael Colgan's book on optimal sports nutrition, which sparked an interest in health and nutrition in him. This curiosity eventually led him to find Athletic Greens. Despite facing setbacks early on, such as the failure of his first sports nutrition company due to execution issues, Chris's journey took unexpected turns. He explored diverse career paths, from selling used cars to working as a policeman, realizing that he had not yet found his true calling. A venture into real estate investment brought financial challenges, leading to bankruptcy and a subsequent decline in his health. However, this crisis became the catalyst for change as Chris sought solutions in nutrition. He eventually founded Athletic Greens in 2008 as a result of his research into health alternatives and dedication to offering a more practical and affordable solution to nutritional issues.

In the face of adversity, Chris strategically launched Athletic Greens in 2010, adopting a unique approach by targeting health influencers rather than pursuing traditional direct-to-consumer marketing. The partnerships formed with influential figures like Tim Ferriss played a pivotal role in the brand's success, contributing to its rise in the health and wellness market. Over the years, Athletic Greens underwent strategic rebranding in 2018 and 2021, signalling a product evolution beyond a simple "greens" powder. Operating as a fully remote business since its inception, the company embraced a bootstrapping mentality, with Chris overcoming a substantial debt of $5 million. In 2022, Athletic Greens secured $115 million in outside capital at a remarkable $1.2 billion valuation. The company's success stems from a dynamic marketing playbook, leveraging influencers, podcast marketing, constant brand evolution, a focus on a single SKU, conversion rate optimization, email mastery, and a diversified approach to paid ads.

Chris Ashenden, CEO of Athletic Greens. Image Credits: Athletic Greens

Athletic Greens strategically navigates the marketing landscape, employing a multi-faceted approach to reach diverse audiences. A significant portion of their marketing budget is allocated to podcast marketing, a channel that allows them to connect with engaged listeners across popular shows like Pod Save America, Crime Junkie, The Huberman Lab and podcasts hosted by influential personalities such as Dax Shepard, Conan O’Brien, and Joe Rogan. This strategy leverages the intimacy of the podcasting medium, enabling Athletic Greens to communicate directly with audiences interested in health and wellness.

In addition to podcast advertising, the brand places a strong emphasis on TikTok partnerships, recognizing the platform's influence, especially among the younger demographic. The #agpartner hashtag on TikTok has gained substantial traction, showcasing the brand's commitment to engaging with audiences in a visually dynamic and interactive manner. TikTok's format allows for creative expressions of user-generated content, aligning with Athletic Greens' strategy to resonate authentically with their target audience.

Source: Instagram; User: Elissagoodman

Influencers such as Kate Glavan, embodying the brand's values of a healthy lifestyle, extend their partnerships seamlessly from TikTok to Instagram, ensuring a broad reach across both platforms. Recognizing the potency of User-Generated Content (UGC), Athletic Greens integrates authentic consumer experiences into its marketing, particularly focusing on morning routines, which have proven highly resonant with audiences. Additionally, Athletic Greens displays foresight by recognizing podcasters as influential partners and allocating significant budgets for sponsorships on high-profile shows like The Huberman Lab, The Joe Rogan Experience and The Tim Ferriss Show. The launch of its podcast, Inspiring Lives, further expands the brand's footprint in the realms of performance mindsets, entrepreneurship, fitness, and nutrition, showcasing a holistic and effective influencer strategy.

The supplement industry's surge during the COVID-19 pandemic, with multivitamin sales experiencing a notable 50% increase, aligns with Athletic Greens' upward trajectory, indicating that the brand is strategically positioned to capitalize on evolving market trends. While the brand boasts a diverse customer base, encompassing individuals of all genders and spanning a broad age range from 20 to 70, the majority falls within the 30- to 50-year-old demographic. This demographic diversity speaks to the broad appeal of Athletic Greens, indicating that its products resonate with a wide array of consumers seeking comprehensive nutritional solutions. Despite occasional taste concerns, customer testimonials highlight the product's efficacy in addressing specific health issues, further reinforcing its value proposition in the eyes of consumers.

Geographically, the brand attracts a significant portion of its website traffic from the USA, comprising nearly half (48%) of the total. Other key contributors include Canada, Germany, the UK, and Australia, demonstrating a global resonance. Influencers play a pivotal role in the brand's marketing, with a compensation model intricately tied to the lifetime value (LTV) of customers, emphasizing the importance of sustained customer relationships. Podcasters and influencers actively participate in promoting Athletic Greens through affiliate advertising deals, contributing to the brand's visibility. The CEO's emphasis on measuring the impact of brand advertising through the Net Promoter Score (NPS) underscores a commitment to customer satisfaction, while strategic testing of branded bottles on select customer segments reflects a nuanced approach to product evolution and revenue forecasting. Notably, Q1 emerges as a peak period for Athletic Greens, experiencing the highest surge in interest from January to March annually, aligning with seasonal patterns in consumer behaviour.

Athletic Greens strategically leverages the influence of renowned figures to fortify its brand image and market position. Notably, Tim Ferris not only endorses the brand but has also made investments, contributing both credibility and extended reach to Athletic Greens. The brand further solidifies its reputation through its association with Dr. Andrew Huberman, who serves as a professional health advisor, reinforcing its commitment to health and wellness. In terms of platform presence, Athletic Greens employs a diverse marketing strategy, spanning Meta, TikTok, Google, and podcasts. The brand's TikTok fame is particularly noteworthy, with a branded hashtag amassing a staggering 254.6 million views, indicative of robust audience engagement across this dynamic platform.

Source: Athletic Greens

In the fitness realm, Barbend and SanneVloet serve as influential partners, effortlessly incorporating AG1 into their content as a complement to health and fitness journeys. Sports enthusiasts find resonance in channels like WatchMomentum, appealing to a male audience through baseball and trick shots, while EricKarlsson caters to rock climbers and fitness enthusiasts, accentuating AG1's relevance in recovery. Unexpectedly, AG1 seamlessly integrates into the realm of film and animation with DanMurrellMovies, indicating the brand's adaptability. In the scientific sphere, Hubermanlab and BrainSuttererMD present AG1 in the context of sports medicine and rehabilitation, catering to a health-conscious audience. The finance sector is not left untouched, with SolvingTheMoneyProblem incorporating AG1 into discussions about personal finance and investing. TomBilyeu, under Impact Theory, channels the self-improvement narrative, intertwining AG1 with content on mindset and motivation. For those immersed in outdoor adventures, HeavyDSparks and StoneyRidgeFarmer showcase AG1 in automotive and homesteading contexts, connecting with audiences interested in natural and sustainable living. Dollemore represents the news category, likely optimizing for brand awareness, and TiptoeTingles, specializing in ASMR and relaxation content, offers a unique and calming experience for viewers. The influencers' adherence to a scripted narrative tailored to their specific genres ensures that AG1 is seamlessly integrated into diverse content, creating a unified and effective approach to influencer marketing for Athletic Greens.

Source: Athletic Greens

Athletic Greens' foray into influencer marketing is nothing short of a strategic masterpiece. The brand has cast its net wide, ensnaring a diverse array of content creators across various genres. From the expected realms of fitness, sports, and science to the unexpected territories of film, ASMR, and political news, Athletic Greens has not just embraced influencers; it has curated an eclectic portfolio that resonates with a multitude of audiences.

To enhance the impact, influencers receive thoughtfully curated product gift boxes containing AG1 and branded vessels. This hands-on approach not only showcases the product but also encourages influencers to authentically incorporate it into their content. The result is a cascade of user-generated content (UGC), creating an organic and viral buzz around AG1. Athletic Greens' ascent to influencer marketing stardom can be dissected into several key success factors that set the brand apart in a crowded space:

1. Diversity in Partnerships: Athletic Greens has strategically partnered with influencers spanning diverse niches, interests, and demographics. This deliberate approach allows the brand to reach a broad spectrum of audiences, ensuring that AG1 is positioned in front of eyes across various segments.

2. Relevance and Value for the Target Audience: The brand's success is rooted in its ability to tailor campaigns to specific audience preferences. Whether it's fitness enthusiasts, ASMR lovers, or followers of political news, Athletic Greens ensures that the promotion is not just relevant but also valuable to the viewers.

3. Integration into Content: The seamless integration of AG1 into influencers' content is a masterstroke. Rather than forcing promotions, the brand allows influencers the creative freedom to incorporate the product naturally. This non-intrusive approach fosters authenticity and resonates with audiences.

4. Consistent Ad Format: Athletic Greens' commitment to delivering a consistent ad format contributes to brand recognition. Viewers are familiar with the message, creating a sense of trust and reliability in the minds of the audience.

5. Hands-on, Natural Approach: The collaborative and hands-on approach with content creators goes beyond transactional partnerships. Athletic Greens fosters genuine relationships, resulting in influencers willingly creating user-generated content that amplifies the brand's reach organically.

In crafting a consistent and effective marketing format, Athletic Greens has not just positioned itself strategically; it has paved the way for influencers to become brand advocates authentically. The gift boxes, laden with AG1 and branded vessels, serve as a tangible expression of the brand's commitment, enhancing the overall showcase of the product. The success factors are the threads that weave the fabric of Athletic Greens' triumph. The brand's diverse partnerships, unwavering commitment to relevance, seamless integration into content, and a hands-on, natural approach are the cornerstones of its influencer marketing prowess. Athletic Greens stands out as a solution for busy professionals and entrepreneurs seeking a convenient and comprehensive nutritional supplement. Through a unique product offering, strategic podcast marketing, and the amplification of user-generated content, the brand successfully engages with its audience and fosters a sense of authenticity and connection.

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