Marketing Your Brand, Part 2
To increase the effectiveness of marketing activities on your brand development, there are some areas on which to focus. “The key element is a clear message to the target group that differentiates the club from its competition,” says Smith. “We call this a ‘key connection point.’ The connection point is essentially how a club can satisfy a consumer’s fitness need or goal.”
To present a clear message, a fitness facility needs a clear target. “Most important is a clear vision of the club’s desired membership,” says Douglas B. Baumgarten, president of Country Club Fitness in Rockville, Md., provider of fitness center design, equipment, and management/staffing to private and country clubs. “Until that is formed, one cannot market to those demographic groups,” he says.
How you target is another important delivery consideration. Behavioral targeting can improve your marketing success rate. RedHotMarketing uses behavioral modeling instead of demographics in its target marketing. “Our system goes beyond simple demographics to show what drives individual consumer decisions as they relate to fitness,” says Smith. That enables a fitness center to formulate unique advertisements that bond the consumer to the health club, he says. The more tailored you can make your promotional effort, the less likely it will be just another drop lost in the advertising ocean. Smith adds that by segmenting marketplace by lifestyle, fitness facilities could realize a 5 to 20 percent increase in marketing response.
“No matter who handles the marketing, the club should have a specific plan, specific budget and specific goals,” says Baumgarten. “As with all tasks, the manager must make sure that sufficient time, effort and funds are devoted on a consistent basis to ensure good results.”
Planning works well with a logistical outlook. “The time spent planning ahead, gathering information, training staff, accessing materials needed, outlining a budget, assigning tasks, getting staff involved and committed, and defining revenue goals will assist in avoiding costly mistakes and disappointing results,” says Anderson.
“Overall, in looking at any marketing plan for a prospect or a current member, it’s important to keep it simple. [Make sure] that it makes sense to you, it’s easy to communicate to the staff, and most importantly, it will make sense to the person you are trying to reach and [calls them to] take an action,” says Anderson. The WOW! vision statement is,”To make WOW! world-famous, one WOW! at a time.”
Delivery is improved when marketing planning and evaluation are interwoven. “A club can improve its marketing planning by measuring the results of current and past marketing,” says Barthel. In turn, evaluating marketing helps to ensure marketing dollars are spent wisely, he says.
“When reviewing a promotion, it may be easy to just say, ‘It went well,’ and not dig deeper. You need to dig deeper. You need to get specific,” says Anderson. “Whether a marketing plan went well or not, you need to ask yourself and the team the “whys,” so that you can be better prepared for future events,” she says.
Marketing performance evaluation can include a mixture of sales analysis and marketing cost-analysis. “Measuring marketing effectiveness is different for every club, but the bottom line is the dollars spent and dollars made,” says Barthel. “Clubs should set a percentage of their total budget on marketing, and set a goal of sales revenue from it, breaking it down to income from membership sales and other profit centers.”
Red Hot Marketing recommends two methods to measure the effectiveness of marketing. With one, total all expenditures toward advertising, contests and PR, and divide by the number of leads produced. The second method is used when a fitness facilityhas a new component in its marketing program.
With this, divide the total costs of the individual component by the number of leads it produced. Both of these methods will give you a cost per lead that can be measured against other programs or months.
The big picture
A thought to the broader aspects of marketing will ensure your package is safely delivered. “Marketing encompasses how the phone is answered, to the personal training session, from the membership tour to the group fitness class, and everything in between,” says Anderson. It’s an ongoing process. She continues, “Every small encounter adds to the overall goal of getting new members, and keeping your membership base.”