Current Marketing Trends

October 4, 2021

Marketing investments are more carefully considered these days than ever before. The pandemic has significantly impacted daily operations, causing health clubs to restrict member usage through reduced capacities and limited programming. Closures are all too common. Club operators are challenged to decide on even the most basic marketing investments like when to invest, what the message is, in which channels, and how much to spend are the top concerns we’re addressing with our clients.

As a data-driven marketing agency deeply rooted in the fitness industry, Instinctive Insights has identified trends impacting campaign results right now. For context, our primary objective for our clients is to deliver profit on marketing investments. Our processes include analysis of persona and channel performance in every client campaign.

Here are some of the trends we’ve identified in recent weeks:  

  • Young families aren’t converting well, especially if schools are not open and parents are stuck at home covering.
  • Families with teenagers and Seniors with children continue to perform well.
  • Empty-nest Seniors have primarily left the marketing mix, except for states and markets that are “open” from a government-restriction perspective.
  • Alumni performance has improved substantially over the last few months despite a dip downward in November.
  • Frozen memberships seem to be the most dug in and are holding tight for a certain comfort level; we’ve had little success re-engaging this audience.
  • Referrals are often converting better than Alumni and are more vital than ever; they are comfortable at the club and want others to join them.
  • Targeting competitor clubs that have or are closing with Facebook/Instagram campaigns is proving lucrative.
  • Social/digital platforms are challenging direct mail for ROI supremacy, even if they have lower conversion rates (many clients are doing smaller direct mail and broader digital campaigns).
  • November was a tough month for ROI, though December is proving significantly better, and we expect that trend to continue into January and beyond. In fact, our January campaigns look super healthy right out of the gate.
  • Here’s what we recommend for investment:
  • Focus internal marketing efforts on ACTIVE and FREEZE members. There’s no need to spend money on either of these populations when you can easily stay in front of them with useful and appealing information by email and in social media.
  • If you have an external marketing budget, develop a profitable strategy, and drive new members to the club.

Decisions to spend on marketing are not easily made these days. However, with a thoughtful, data-driven approach, there won’t be missed opportunities to grow the member base. Marketing is a necessity—even during difficult times like these. The clubs and gyms that invest in whatever capacity they can in promoting the brand and trying to bring in new members are the most likely to be thriving in the future.

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