How Breathe Education revamped its marketing and its business

The pilates training business needed to reinvented its business and along with its entire marketing approach to survive the Covid shutdowns

In March 2020, Breathe Education was operating in-person, combined with some elements of its pilates instructor training course delivered online. Then Covid hit and as many places were shuttered, the training business faced an uncertain future.

Instead of closing up shop and hoping to just weather the storm, the business looked for another path. And instead of going dark, like many businesses, and turning off its marketing, it went against this temptation.

“We took the mentality of every crisis is an opportunity. I think there was a lot of luck for us because we are a business that could be moved online and the technology has come of age to enable us to pivot online,” Breathe Education founder, Raphael Bender, told CMO.

To begin with, the business started doing the training the same way, but all online. Courses were videod and completed in one session, as would happen when people came to the centre for a weekend or day-long course. 

However, it quickly become apparent this was far from ideal and that moving the training onto a digital platform actually enabled Breathe to offer training in smaller segments and with other digital accompaniments such as messaging, online training groups and videos that can be re-watched.

“Having students engaged early and offering progressive challenges, is actually a lot easier to do online because it fits in with people’s schedules and we followed the research that shows if you have an engaging online training program it promotes student success,” Bender explained.

Reinventing marketing for an online business

Migrating the training to an online platform was just one element of the whole-of-business pivot. The other was all the messaging that needed to be quickly and comprehensively overhauled.

“We had created this whole marketing story built around a message which was ‘come and train with us in person’ so we had to totally redo all of that because overnight it all become irrelevant,” Bender continued.

Breath Education had to go back to the drawing board to develop all new marketing collateral, sales scripts and objection handling videos to have material that related to studying to be a pilates instructor online as well addressed Covid-related prospective student questions about job prospects. Working with the King Kong agency, the business was able to develop a new strategy and execute it in a short space of time and kept across how everything was tracking with regular review sessions.

The business has benefited from the granularity that comes with digital feedback on everything from images and headlines to text and CTAs across emails and online. “We know which headlines and emails perform better, which copy performs better. We don’t need to have an opinion on it, we can be guided be the metrics,” Bender said.

Thanks to the crisis, the business has grown significantly in the last 12 months and transitioned to being a pure-play digital business - a place it may not have got it with it. It’s been an unexpected paradigm change.

“Too many people think about their business as a product or service that they offer, rather than a problem they are solving,”  said Bender.

“It’s a mindset change and also a change in seeing what marketing truly is and that is about understanding your customer and their problem and how to solve that problem.”

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