With consumer sales making up a relatively insignificant portion of the company's total sales, Star Trac has decided 2003 is the year to build awareness of its brand among home users -- particularly higher-end consumers.
This doesn't mean the company will forsake its commercial leaning -- not at all, since that is its bread-and-butter. Nor will it launch lower-priced product lines -- that's not its forte and not where it intends to go, SNEWS was told. What it means is the equipment manufacturer will begin advertising and marketing campaigns on a small scale to reach those who might consider a high-end treadmill for their home.
"It's to reach those who don't have a problem with the price, and they want the best," said a company spokesman.
The company is targeting several markets, starting its outreach in Southern California where it is based. The markets include health club members, whom the company hopes to reach through possible cooperative arrangements with health clubs; elite or top recreational runners and walkers, whom the company will find via advertising in targeted magazines; and, lastly, homeowners -- either those building or renovating -- who want or could be shown the benefits of a well-outfitted home workout room.
The main message will be that these consumers shouldn't compromise with lower-priced, wobbly treadmills with weaker motors and fewer features.
SNEWS View: In the last year or two, Star Trac has made some really dynamic image shifts, moving up from being a rather conservative company (yeah, yeah, one with fine equipment) to one that actually has a little flash and can be a little hip. And the company has always made excellent equipment, no matter what its image was. It seems like a no-brainer to reach for high-end consumers who won't flinch at $5K and more for a piece of exercise equipment. Honestly, this is a smart move, but going for club members, discriminating homeowners, and elite and top recreational runners isn't exactly rocket science. The company should have been making this kind of move a long time ago.