If I were your fitness business marketing consultant, here’s the next thing we would do… together. We would hop in my car and go visit a few car dealerships!
There are several similarities among fitness clubs / studios and auto dealerships. At the local level, they are similar in that both clubs/studios and dealerships are “sales driven.”
However, the larger umbrella for dealerships are the “brands” they carry. And the branding is carried out by the manufacturers (think Ford, Chevy, Honda, etc) through big national ad campaigns.
Similarly, it’s the same umbrella / branding benefits that a licensee or franchise receives from being a Gold’s Gym, 24 Hour Fitness, Curves, etc. In the fitness industry, this is typically “commodity” marketing…. fitness for the masses.
But, what about the small independent club or studio?
What’s the Positioning?
There’s a point where a potential member is going to draw a comparison between you and your competitors. There’s just no getting around this fact. A small club or studio will always have difficulty if it attempts to compete on price — or to be all things to all people.
It’s the same as Joe’s Hardware attempting to compete with Home Depot or Loew’s. Instead, a small club or studio should be unique – in a premium way. It should be like the difference between going to a Ford dealership versus a Ferrari showroom.
And, that’s why, together, we would actually make the trip to an exotic car showroom and take in the look, feel and yes, even the smell of what it is like to be a “premium priced” marketer.
Check out the merchandising. Ferrari is acutely aware that as a premium priced marketer it must be a brand evangelist (apparel, towels, model cars, key rings, sunglasses, driving shoes, etc.). And, none of it is cheap. The quality is as high as the car itself.
The Commodity “Mind-Set”
The point is that fitness professionals often get trapped into “commodity thinking.”
It’s a huge mistake.
Independent trainers should position themselves as a “signature” model. Studios and small clubs are high-end “boutiques.” These positions command premium pricing and much higher profitability.
The high-end positioning also provides numerous opportunities to “line-extend” into new profits centers … including branded products, consulting, speaking and executive health management.
The next step is to conduct a little competitive research by visiting a “commodity club” as a potential member and take the tour. Are you getting the Ford dealership commodity “price-point” treatment?
Compare it to your facility. Your staff. Your Presentation.
O.K. now for the self-serving portion of this post.
Creating a signature brand is the reason to brand your daily journals. It’s the reason to carry your own signature brand of supplements. It’s the reason to ONLY carry apparel with your logo.
With all the “noise” in the fitness industry, the top marketers of clubs and studios as well as the top trainers in the country understand the “value” of their brand…. and really use it to cut through all the clutter!
It is the essence of our business model to help you become a highly profitable signature brand.
Ford or a Ferrari?
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