MIT Sloan Hosts Talk About the Modern Value of Old-School Advertising

MIT advertising

Even for newer customers, there is an undeniable value in the old methods of advertising, according to cycling startup Peloton Senior Brand Marketing VP Carolyn Tisch Blodgett, who recently spoke at MIT Sloan.

Founded in 2012, Peloton makes a high-end exercise bike that livestreams indoor cycling classes—sort of like your own private FlyWheel. According to Blodgett, Peloton is vertically integrated, which means that “employees design the hardware, the software, teach the classes, and even deliver the bikes.”

Largely through word-of-mouth, Peloton’s revenues exploded to $137.5 million in just four short years, which placed the company atop Crain’s Fast 50 list. Despite this rapid, significant growth, Peloton is trying to reach a broader audience beyond its base of “affluent suburban women” (see sticker price: $1,995 plus $39 per month subscription fee).

Digital advertising is just one part of Peloton’s overall marketing strategy—one that Blodgett believes becomes increasingly “more expensive and less effective” once you understand that every company is buying on Facebook in 2017.

Speaking recently at the MIT Sloan Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, Blodgett explained that Peloton has begun to “invest in offline channels” like TV commercials, radio spots, billboards, direct mail, and 29 new brick-and-mortar showrooms to build a “community of those for whom fitness is a core value.” She explains, “We’re always testing new media channels.” Especially channels that maximize the ability for consumers to have hands-on experience with the product. “Trying the bike is a really important part of the purchase journey.”

With the holiday shopping season in full swing, Blodgett explained the company’s newest commercial, saying “We spend a lot of time showing the product, but my favorite part is the scene where the daughter is riding a tricycle and looks up at mom on the bike. That’s an emotional side of the product, and we’ve never really told that story before.”

You can find out more about Peloton and its luxury services here.


About the Author

Jonathan Pfeffer

Jonathan Pfeffer joined the Clear Admit and MetroMBA teams in 2015 after spending several years as an arts/culture writer, editor, and radio producer. In addition to his role as contributing writer at MetroMBA and contributing editor at Clear Admit, he is co-founder and lead producer of the Clear Admit MBA Admissions Podcast. He holds a BA in Film/Video, Ethnomusicology, and Media Studies from Oberlin College.

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