February 2007 - ERA Member Profile

Meeting Medifast

ERA team members Jason Bell, Mike Candela, Patrick Cauley, Meghan Faul and Sheridan Malphurs visit with Medifast and take a tour of its Maryland-based facility.

It’s the same thing at the gym every year come early January. The wait to get on a treadmill is almost unbearable, as all of the New Year’s resolutions kick into gear. If you are one of those still looking to get healthier in 2007, ERA has a new member that may be right up your alley.

ERA team members received a rare treat, literally, this past January while making a stop at member company Medifast in Owings Mills, Md. As the ERA team members entered the building, we were each handed a delicious weight-loss chocolate bar as we sat down to learn more about the company.

Medifast is a weight-loss program that offers meal replacements, which are eaten every three hours throughout the day to keep metabolism burning, energy high and hunger at bay. Richard Zeeb, senior vice president of marketing for Medifast, says that Medifast is different from its competitors for a variety of reasons. Medifast’s program is a “five and one,” meaning you are to eat five replacements throughout the day, yet you also get to have one lean-and-green meal with your family. Medifast also has a diabetic-friendly track for those whose weight problems come with extra difficulty. In addition, Medifast has literally thousands of doctors who approve and recommend the system to patients. In fact, Medifast began through distribution from doctors.

One of the more intriguing aspects of Medifast is the way it has been able to position its product into the social networking space. MyMedifast.com offers blogs, chat rooms and “tips of the day” for Medifast customers. “It’s an online virtual community where people can link up with others in the program for support,” says Zeeb. Medifast Marketing Manager Christopher Walbert goes into greater detail on how effective MyMedifast.com can be. “Around 200 people are on there at any one time,” says Walbert. He explains the site as somewhat of a refuge for those with nothing but skinny friends or a spouse who doesn’t understand the weight loss challenge fully.

In conjunction with the waves that MyMedifast.com has made, Medifast’s online business comes in at around 70 percent, compared with roughly 40 percent of business three years ago. Along with the online space, Medifast has walk-in clinics and also certified health coaches who sell the product and work on commission.

Medifast is currently looking to expand heavily into the DR space. Joining ERA this January was a good start, followed by the release of long- form and short-form spots. In these new ventures, Medifast also is looking to grow its target market. Currently, most customers are women who fall between the ages of 45 and 59. Medifast is hoping that its move into DR will broaden its base of males and younger individuals.

The ERA staff had an opportunity not only to learn about the company, but also to tour the call center and production facilities where the foods are made. Toward the end of the visit, Zeeb described that with a return rate of under 2 percent, he has been able to come out with what he calls, “the strongest guarantee in the weight-loss business”-a 30-day complete money back guarantee along with a free extra week of food. As with many of our other members, it’s an exciting time at Medifast-ERA is simply happy to be along for the ride.


No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment