Key Tips and How-Tos

Review the “unique selling proposition” of the programs

Understand your target market

Develop and implement an ongoing marketing effort

Evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing efforts


Review the “unique selling proposition” of the programs


  • Previous consumer research has identified the features of the AF Life Improvement Series programs that make them attractive to consumers and help to set them apart from the competition, This set of features is known as the programs’ unique selling proposition. The table below describes the distinctive program features that consumers reported.  You can leverage these unique selling proposition points to help you more effectively market the programs.

  • See: the Competitive Analysis to learn more about how to distinguish the AF programs from other programs



Consumer research identified the following key features of the AF programs:

  • DEVELOPED FOR PEOPLE WITH ARTHRITIS: People with arthritis share many concerns and challenges – not the least of which is a need to feel safe and secure while engaging in physical activity. The physical activity programs offered by the AF were developed by people who understand arthritis and were specifically designed for the person with arthritis. In addition, the education program was developed at Stanford University based on a needs assessment with people with arthritis and the latest innovations in adult learning, with the result being a course that is interactive and empowering.
  • PROVEN OUTCOMES: The AF Life Improvement Series programs have been evaluated repeatedly in scientifically designed studies, the results of which show significant improvements among program participants. In addition, the AF programs have withstood the test of time, still being offered after nearly a quarter century. Programs with proven outcomes are desirable to people with arthritis because these individuals are often motivated to participate in physical activity and education programs as a way to manage the pain and discomfort resulting from arthritis.
  • NATIONALLY CERTIFIED INSTRUCTORS: Having nationally certified instructors is desirable to consumers because national certification creates a halo of safety for consumers, which counteracts the fear of injury or additional pain caused by physical activity.
  • EASY ACCESS: AF Life Improvement Series programs may be offered at minimal cost, making them readily available to the majority of people.  In addition, the programs are offered in most major American cities and in locations that are attentive to Americans with Disabilities Act standards, including access for people in wheelchairs and with impaired mobility.




Understand your target market


  • Much research has already been done about the target market for the AF Life Improvement Series programs. This research will help you to choose areas to market your programs where you will get the most visibility for the people who are most likely to register for your programs.



Based on consumer research, the AF is targeting women ages 45 and above who are either mildly to moderately affected by arthritis or who need or want joint-safe programming.  Men, however, should not be excluded from marketing efforts and as resources allow, other groups should be addressed. State health departments and partnering agencies may target other market segments.

The primary AF target audience is segmented as follows:

  • Mature onset (55-64) and Active Retirees (65+) want self-management as a vehicle to maintain their lifestyle independence and interpersonal relationships.
  • Younger/early onset (45-54) want preventive behaviors that can help them maintain youth and vitality and expand their interpersonal relationships.

Current marketing materials target women ages 55-64.  Consumer research identified this audience because they are both committed to maintaining present activity levels, and their condition has not progressed beyond a crucial point at which the physical activity and education would have less dramatic benefits.






Develop and implement an ongoing marketing effort


  • There are a variety of marketing methods that work well in increasing participation in AF programs and services.   It is the decision of you and your partners as to which methods will work best for your situation.
  • Remember that effective marketing is an ongoing effort that should include strategies specific to a scheduled program launch but also include ongoing methods to ensure regular exposure to the programs over time. Create a marketing calendar with scheduled marketing activities so that marketing becomes a regular part of your life.



  • Develop a budget for your marketing plan. Marketing is an investment.


    See: The following for information and other resources that may be useful as you develop your marketing plan: 


  • Marketing 101 tip sheet describes the “six Ps” that comprise an effective marketing mix, including Participants, Product, Price, Place, Promotion and Partnership.  This information will provide tips about presenting the programs as a relevant and attractive product, more effectively promoting and distributing the programs, maintaining a relationship with your customers and forming collaborations
  • Successful Promotion Strategies tip sheet provides brief descriptions of key methods for promoting the programs to potential class participants such as the use of word of mouth activities, media relations, newsletters/ Web sites and other organization vehicles, flyers and brochures, print ads and public service announcements,  direct mail and physician/ health professional and community outreach
  • How to Encourage Word of Mouth tip sheet provides more detail on how to solicit testimonials, facilitate pass-along messages (viral marketing) from class participants and educate program ambassadors to get the word out about the programs
  • Media Relations tip sheet provides four how-to tips on planning, developing, conducting and evaluating media outreach efforts
  • Marketing and Promotional Timeline is a sample plan of work that outlines key marketing and promotional tasks and scheduling.
  • Materials to Help Publicize the Life Improvement Series provides a list of resources such as branded brochures and ads that are available to you to use in recruiting class participants. A sampling of these materials is provided in the Sales Kit package, and a complete set is provided in the accompanying DVD.


Evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing efforts


  • Monitor which of your promotional and marketing methods appear to be most effective. For instance, routinely ask how participants found out about the programs, and keep track of how many people call you in response to different promotional activities.
  • Periodically examine your findings and adjust your plan as needed.

  • See: Media Relations tip sheet to learn more about how to evaluate the effectiveness of media activities


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