Content Marketing: Hammer Nutrition’s Endurance News

As an endurance athlete, I’ve been a longtime fan of Hammer Nutrition products.  They make great fuels.

As a marketer, I’ve also long admired their approach to marketing.  Certainly, like most direct marketers, they send out the occasional catalog, but they don’t rest with just that.  Instead, they mail one of the most brilliant pieces of content marketing I’ve ever encountered: the Endurance News.

The Endurance News is a magazine of about 80 pages that successfully treads that fine line between sales pitch and useful information.  When it comes in the mail I read every page, from Brian Frank’s opening letter to race reports at the end.  OK, I skip over the constant (but justified) trashing of high fructose corn syrup and other refined sugars, but only because I’ve already had that drilled into me.  In addition to reading why their products are so great, also get great nutrition and training advice: advice that is usually more helpful than the hollow articles printed in triathlon magazines.

The brilliance of their approach, aside from striking the right balance of promotion and content, is that this magazine keeps me engaged.  I look forward to getting mail from Hammer, whereas catalogs from Road Runner Sports or Performance Bike, which I used to find interesting, now get recycled unopened: I have them memorized.  The only thing of interest in catalogs like that is the price, and I can get that online when I am ready to buy.

The Endurance News effort, however, does fall short in one critical way: they neglect to make the information easy to share.  It isn’t uncommon for me to come across an article that I would like to share on my other blog (a blog that focuses on triathlon training) or on twitter.  Unfortunately, I can’t easily do that.  Endurance News, when it is published online, is published as a PDF and in a flash viewer, meaning I can only link to the magazine, not to individual articles.  Keep the PDF and the flash viewer, but also strip the articles out into pure HTML, and add twitter and facebook links to each article to make it simple to promote this great content, and thereby create links to your website.

So, Hammer, if you like the idea, feel free to use it, no charge.  But if you want to compensate me with a few bottles of Race Caps, I won’t turn them away.

While I’m talking about Hammer Nutrition, I’d also like to point out what else the do very well:

  1. They have a great referral program.  I get 25% (as a credit) of any referred, new customer’s first order.  Do I promote their products? Yes I do.  Good job Hammer!
  2. They reward athletes who use their products, race with a Hammer kit, and wear hammer clothing when they get on the podium.  The payoff, called Hammerbuck$, can be as much as $1000.  I won’t take advantage of this because I only race in DeSoto shorts and wear my local club’s kit.  I would, however, wear a Hammer t-shirt on the podium (if I had one), but I don’t think that counts.  Still, people do take advantage of this program, which brings Hammer notoriety, so again good job!
  3. Finally, Hammer provides athletes with a subscription program.  This gets you free shipping, a discount, free advice, and lots of free stuff.  This should be very attractive to people using their supplements, but might be less attractive to people who primarily use their fuels, which are consumed less regularly.  Yes, good job Hammer!

Finally, a personal note to Hammer Nutrition.  Thanks for sponsoring all the races I’ve entered for the past three years.  All you need to do is get the USAT to swap out that Gatorade swill for Heed at AG Nationals this year and I’ll be a happy camper.

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