Breaking Down Boundaries

2014 saw changes and much activity in the fitness industry and new some trends. The hope of new things brought us the excitement of things like getting down in the mud with Spartan Fitness. CrossFit stepped up to be the exemplar of the aggressive type of training that only truly fanatical fitness enthusiasts understand. New gyms popped up, studios rode the trends and some big names ebbed and flowed in their fortunes.

The combinations of fitness and digital will continue to throw up unexpected and tantalizing opportunities. The importance of the digital component of any business is now beyond doubt, as retailers and companies that once thrived in in the bricks and mortar arena, unconcerned with the online world, have either changed their tunes or gone out of business. The power of companies that provide a strong component of digital value is that they get much more back in return from the market. This is as true for the gym business as any other market.

Digital Channels Open Doorsbaby

The ability to organize and to market your skills by using digital channels, such as social media and email, depends on the relationship that you build with your audience of potential new members. When you are starting out you can always borrow space in a school, a recreation center or meet in the park with the enthusiastic followers of your philosophy. If you’ve built the relationships, the network that connects you with your followers is the primary channel of value that you give as a leader; the physical location is but an afterthought.

This keeps getting more important as social media and digital communication become more accepted. Children today have never experienced a world where they can’t instantly look up a business or find instructions, advice and reviews for anything. Prepare now for this level of sophistication because they’ll be the dominant force in the consumer market all too soon.

Winning By Zigging When The Competition Is Zagging

The thing to remember about trends is that they represent the big picture. They are statistical generalizations that can always be beaten on the local level. So, while I’m saying that Zumba and Spinning are on the decline, as per the trends reported earlier, the local opportunity might be to offer exactly the service that is being dropped by the big box gyms.

When they rush off to get into the next big thing you can still make a market out of the remaining demand that is being unmet. This approach is called the long tail in marketing, finding an obscure need that cannot support the big budgets and high overheads of established facilities or the seven figure bottom lines that national chains expect.

The growing ability of independent trainers to find ways to leverage resources or networking to exploit the channel that brings in the biggest portion of the smallest market segment. The thing to do is to always be on the lookout for those trends and be ready to pivot into the sort of basic product or service that costs little but finds the underserved niche.

Think laterally and be ready to jump on the abandoned trend that left its enthusiasts miffed and underserved, be aware of the goofy new trends on the horizon and the potential for mix and match, the concept fusions, and creative juxtapositions. This approach has helped outfits like Crunch Fitness find niches where none had really existed.

So, let’s get on with 2015 with a positive fitness attitude, an open mind for creative solutions and unconventional approaches. It’s probably going to be a wild ride. But 2015 is likely going to be practice for the even more exciting and challenging times that will come along in years after that. Gym Insight will be reporting the events as we see them unfold and putting our own perspective on them. We have truly had an adventure in the last year. As we churn through another year of change and growth lets focus on what we can do together to make insight a more complete resource to gym owners across North America and beyond.

Bibliography

Connelly, Ellen. Hot barre and punk rope: these are the weirdest fitness trends of 2015. 1 December 2014. http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/dec/02/good-bye-soul-cycle-these-are-the-weirdest-fitness-trends-for-2015 (accessed January 24, 2015).

Fagan, Lawrence. CrossFit Trend Or Fad. 26 June 2014. https://blog.gyminsight.com/2779-crossfit-trend-or-fad/ (accessed January 24, 2015).

—. Crunch Fitness Business Model. 21 April 2014. https://blog.gyminsight.com/2014/04/crunch-fitness-business-model/ (accessed July 14, 2014).

—. Spartan Up! Reading The Spartan Race Philosophy. 13 March 2014. https://blog.gyminsight.com/2488-spartan-up-reading-the-spartan-race-philosophy/ (accessed January 24, 2015).

McCall, Pete. 10 Fitness Trends to Look Out For in 2015. 15 December 2014. https://www.acefitness.org/blog/5145/10-fitness-trends-to-look-out-for-in-2015 (accessed January 24, 2015).

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