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Marketing Walking for Health research



In England, half of all adults are not active enough to benefit their health. This means that they are at risk of developing serious illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Macmillan Cancer Support and the the Ramblers run Walking for Health which is England’s largest network of health walk schemes, helping people across the country lead a more active lifestyle.

The schemes have been organising walks for a number of years and have improved the lives of thousands of people. Macmillan is keen to encourage more people living with cancer taking part in these walks.

The Brief

Macmillan commissioned Make Sport Fun to test different marketing materials for promoting Walking for Health to people living with cancer.

Our response to the brief

The great majority of people living with cancer are over 50s, and we’ve had great results in the past with marketing to over 50s via direct mail. We worked with Macmillan’s marketing team on developing five versions of a direct mail pack. We helped them to base these on the existing research we’d done into how to market activity generally to cancer survivors.

We then conducted six focus groups with cancer survivors aged over 50 to gather their views on the five concepts.


It soon became clear that our target audience didn’t like any concepts that were ‘too clever’ or ‘complicated’ they wanted messages to be clear, the envelopes to be plain, and images to be simple and relevant. This fitted in with what we already knew about this audience from the Make Sport Fun communication plans.

From this initial research we were able to produce a report that will help Macmillan in recruiting people to Walking for Health and recommendations for how to take the mail pack forward. These will be used by Macmillan to promote Walking for Health to people living with and beyond cancer and will further complement their excellent range of support services and literature.


“Make Sport Fun went go the extra mile in the work they did for us. 10 out of 10”

Jaquetta Fewster, Macmillan Cancer Support