The Gym Experience

New Year, New Me…yes I know what you’re thinking…

That infamous quote we seem to hear consistently throughout the month of January. A time when consumers unite to eat healthily, quit smoking and shock horror, join the gym.

Yes, the gym, in January…a place full of ‘fitness newbs' aimlessly wandering around attempting to figure out what machine will help them achieve ‘killer abs’ in just one day. Fitness classes are fully booked, changing rooms are cramped and free lockers are a thing of the past. However the 1st of February arrives and all seems to return to normal…the fitness momentum has disappeared.

This ultimately highlights two questions; post January, what can gyms do to generate new memberships and most importantly, create an inspiring environment for their existing members?

This week in Marketing, David Jones, Marketing Director for Fitness First announced plans for a £70m rebrand of its fitness chains around the UK, all part of a bigger global re-launch to upgrade their clubs and most importantly, their member experience. Their strategy is based around “behavioural psychology,” with the intention of ensuring that the influx of new members that join in January continue to achieve their fitness goals all year round.

This is a pretty big move and in my opinion a vital one at that. After all a positive customer experience plays a fundamental role to the success of any brand. So it seems only natural that fitness chains should follow in the footsteps of other health brands, by attempting to create an engaging experience to keep their customers interested.

However, it’s not only existing members that need to be captivated but also new members that need to be attracted.

Our latest blog from Client Services Director Caroline Deutsch focuses on how health brands can use  experiential marketing  to address negative taste perceptions and build brand awareness. There is no reason why gyms shouldn’t be integrating experiential into their marketing to attract new members too.

However for this to work gyms need to think past the ancient laws of using instructors to leaflet outside transport hubs and take a proactive approach to target their consumers. Whether it be live fitness classes in the middle of a shopping centre, personalised 3D body mapping sessions to determine the right fitness plan, or a national educational roadshow, there is so much more that gyms can do to bring the physical and digital fitness experience to life.  

I applaud Fitness Firsts investment in the customer experience – I just hope other gyms follow suit and think about this refereshing approach not just for their current customers, but as part of their strategy to attract new ones. 

I’d love to hear your thoughts about the sort of experiences gyms could create to attract new customers.