Noom is looking to raise awareness and boost subscriptions for its namesake app, whose goal is to change the way people think about improving their health. The company this month expanded its leadership team with the appointment of Sean Foster, former SVP of global e-commerce for beauty giant Coty, as CMO.
In his new role, Foster sees an opportunity to build on the rapid growth Noom experienced during the pandemic. With many people either stuck at home or unable to go the gym, they sought out digital alternatives for health and exercise routines. Noom offers customized wellness plans in its smartphone app, which uses machine learning to guide subscribers in reaching their weight loss and exercise goals.
"Today, we're very focused on weight and weight management, but fundamentally, Noom is a behavior change platform that has incredibly broad applications," Foster said in an interview. "We're really interested in leveraging the strength of our platform to impact people's lives."
Noom initially focused on weight-loss because obesity has become a global health problem and is associated with other chronic conditions, Foster said. The pandemic added to those health concerns, with research indicating that overweight adults were more likely than the general population to be hospitalized because of a COVID-19 infection.
"The planks of our strategy are to continue to drive awareness and understanding for the brand."
Outside of weight loss, Noom sees an opportunity to expand its platform into other aspects of personal health such as sleep and anxiety, Foster said. The idea is to empower people to adopt healthy habits that last a lifetime.
"We're driven by fundamental beliefs that guide our product thinking and our marketing thinking," Foster said. "You are the single greatest force in your life journey. It's you, and it's how you live your life."
To fuel its expansion, Noom last month raised $540 million in a funding round that was said to value the company at $3.7 billion, Bloomberg News reported. Amid the surging interest in health, Noom's revenue last year doubled to $400 million as more people signed up for a subscription. After a trial period, Noom charges as much as $59 for a one-month plan. The price is lower for health plans that last up to one year.
Creating branded experiences
Noom wants to extend its reach among a broader group of consumers, though now it's mostly focused on a core group of women in their early 40s who are most likely to participate in a weight-loss program, Foster said.
"We're starting to move beyond that core and thinking about how to expand our audiences, and how we reach people in different ways," he said. "That means tactically, from a marketing perspective, really using those audience definitions as a way to think about channels and media, and how we create branded experiences across those."
Noom has strived to reach a mass audience with its campaigns, with the goal of ultimately driving downloads for its app. The ad creative has included "Noom Features" to highlight how people use its app, and "Noom Stories" with testimonials from people who have lost weight and kept it off.
"The planks of our strategy are to continue to drive awareness and understanding for the brand," Foster said. "That means using broad-reach vehicles like linear television, streaming — they're absolutely important parts of the mix for us — but we're also direct response-focused marketers as well. Once we build that awareness, we want to capture it as efficiently as we can."
Commerce and community
Paid social and search advertising are key parts of Noom's strategy to convert those audiences into potential customers. The company also seeks to maintain ongoing relationships with its customers by urging them to participate in its online communities, where they can find inspiration and support from other "Noomers."
"This is a very emotional product and a very emotional category," Foster said. "We have these incredible communities of our users who are actively engaging with one another and creating conversations around their experiences."
Noom doesn't disclose its current number of subscribers nor other metrics about its size. However, it currently employs more than 3,000 coaches who provide personalized advice for customers in achieving their health goals. Noom has been downloaded in more than 100 countries, but most of its marketing efforts have been focused on English-speaking regions. The company is ramping up its marketing efforts in non-English-speaking countries, Foster said.
While Noom is in a different line of business than Coty, where Foster previously worked, he said there are similarities in their efforts to drive a direct response from consumers. In overseeing Coty's e-commerce operations, he also focused on the consumer path to purchase.
"At Coty, we were driven by delivering a unique and compelling consumer experience, and how e-commerce can play an important role in creating a seamless journey," Foster said. "We think about the same things at Noom — that full kind of consumer experience."