Research Outline

Marketing for ACE and ISSA


Support an evaluation of the overall digital advertising market for sports medicine training certification programs by researching the marketing strategy and messaging for the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA). The analysis should include the present information as well as any strategies or messaging they may have used in the past.

Early Findings

The early findings and setup for succeeding analysis are linked in a spreadsheet here.

Definition of Terms

  • Promotion includes what channels are used to communicate and what is said on each channel (as they may be different). It also includes any customer service or support. Specifically, it answers the following questions: What message does the brand use to share its purpose, product benefits, and competitive advantage? Is it sold directly, or through others indirectly? How are potential consumers informed about the product, convinced it will be useful, or persuaded to buy it? What role does branding play? How can the consumer get help if needed?
  • Promotional channels may include the following: Advertising, Public relations (PR), Personal selling, Sales promotion, Direct marketing, Digital marketing, and Guerrilla Marketing.

Market Selection/Target Audience:

  • American Council on Exercise (ACE): Fitness professionals and health enthusiasts
  • International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA): Fitness professionals

Product (ISSA):

  • Certification courses with the following features: online access, continuous support (including over the phone, a business guide, a free website, and more educational courses after you graduate), materials that are up-to-date, a relaxed schedule (up to 8 months to do when most students finish in less than 3 weeks), a certificate from a credible and respected institution, and an untimed, open-book online exam.
  • ISSA offers certification in personal training, a range of specializations, and also a range of bundles that offer discounts for combining certifications.

While both organizations have heavy digital presence, their marketing strategies are very different, most likely driven by the fundamental difference in their target audience. In order to drive a more structured analysis of their competitive strategies, marketing strategy can and should be broken up into separate components instead of being analyzed as a standalone concept. The below recommendations are based on that finding.