Why Wellness Is Different

Making the world better isn't like selling pizza.

Health & wellness businesses meet clients at every stage of life, helping them meet both opportunity and adversity with grace, resilience and purpose.


Decisions about health and wellness are the most personal decisions your members, clients and patients will ever make.

The same-old same-old marketing messages and stereotypes that might work for hamburgers or haircuts don't work in health and wellness. Not every woman wants a "bikini body in time for summer." Not everyone with diabetes is overweight. Not everyone wants to "fall into fitness" just because it's October.

And high-pressure, manipulative sales tactics and "how low can you go" discounts undermine the value of what you offer and actually turn off your prospects.

Selling wellness means understanding the mind of your customer:

  • What's their life experience been like?
  • What has their experience with health and wellbeing been like?
  • What's really motivating them?
  • What obstacles hold them back or derail them?
  • What will make them feel successful?

Then—and only then—you can really connect with them.

The 14 reasons that wellness is different

1. A higher standard

State ethics requirements. HIPAA requirements. And even Google and Facebook have special  rules for health and wellness.advertising rules for health and wellness — sometimes requiring additional approvals just to advertise. Not to mention state ethics restrictions and HIPAA requirements.

2. A unique customer journey

Every one of your clients, members or patients brings a unique mix of life experiences, hopes and fears to your business, whether they're chasing gold at the Olympics or trying to manage diabetes. They're often carrying complex emotional baggage that makes them think twice before committing — yet another reason selling wellness is nothing like selling a sweater or a fancy cup of coffee.

3. One-of-a-kind programs

We've worked with more weight loss programs than we can count — yet we can honestly say that every single one has been different. Same goes for sports conditioning, yoga studios, diabetes self-care centers, counseling and therapy practices, women's wellness centers, concierge medical practices and so on.

Every business takes a different approach, targets different segments, and builds a unique program just for that audience.

4. Yes we can!

Does anyone lose sleep at AT&T if I’m having phone problems? Not a chance. But the people in our industry really care. They're truly invested in helping — in making lives better.

5. Not just a number

“Enter your account number to get your balance.” “First, check for an answer in our online FAQ.” “The hold for a live representative is currently 128 minutes.” “Email customer service.”

Other industries actively avoid live contact with customers, because it costs more. Not health and wellness. Everyone in this industry knows that health and wellness is the most personal thing in the world. There is no way that customers can just be numbers.

6. Battle of the experts

Need a new kitchen counter? The choices are fairly limited and largely depend on budget.

Want to lose weight? The list is endless, and even experts disagree on which methods actually work best.

That’s why health and wellness marketing has to authoritatively cut through those conflicting messages to connect with potential customers.

7. Free for all

We’d be rich if we had a nickel for every time a Radial client said “We need to make a decent living for our team and we have to take care of our investors, but what we really care about is helping as many people as possible.”

And they mean it. Can you name any other industry where business leaders think that way?

8. Good is never good enough

In other industries, companies get lazy. They stop improving their products — after all, that costs money. Health and wellness leaders never stop dreaming big. They're always thinking about what would work better, how to incorporate the latest research, how to touch more lives.

9. No hassles

Most health and wellness businesses hate the thought of hassling people to buy their stuff. And their instincts are good. In this industry, marketing only works when it’s authentic and distinctive.

10. Great expectations

Health and wellness businesses are eternally optimistic. They have to be. They are the Weebles of the business world. Knock ‘em down, and they bob back up again. Because when you know you can change lives, your determination to succeed overcomes hurdles where others falter and second-guess.

11. Customers think different

Buying a TV is pretty simple. Choosing health and wellness services or programs is tough. These are buying decisions that rest on a foundation of life experiences, internal self-talk, dreams and disappointments…it’s all in there!

12. Works in progress

Gratification is instant — or darn close to it — for most consumer purchases. Want a new outfit? Browse your favorite mall, check your go-to websites, ping a few friends — you’re done!

Not in health and wellness. In our industry, customers don’t overflow instantly with wellbeing. It takes time. It’s a marathon, possibly an ultra-marathon, never a sprint. They don’t change overnight. They backslide. Their life situations change. Their needs change.

13. Higher expectations.

When’s the last time someone said to a financial advisor, “Before I take your advice, let’s take a look at your bank account!”

Fair or not, right or wrong, many customers think they can tell whether we practice what we preach just by looking at us. We’re supposed to be super-fit, never stressed, never sick, at an ideal weight.

14. Saying the unsayable

Health and wellness professionals talk about awkward, tough topics all day long. What’s a better word than “fat”? How can we explain to guys that protecting their heart health also improves their — ahem — stamina”? How can you talk comfortably about end-of-life decisions?