Marketing strategy of a fitness club.
Name: Krámer Kornél
Subject: Marketing of Services
Tutor: Tom Owens
Marketing strategy of a fitness club
Table of contents
What does fitness mean? Is it a way of life? A far away dream? A constant struggle? Is it about joy and pleasure, or deprivation and punishment? The way man view the process can determine his or her level of success. Many new fitness enthusiasts start off on the wrong foot, and even veterans can be led astray. There are some important points to remember: eating is not about willpower, exercise isn’t a penalty, and deprivation is never a successful long-term strategy.
A healthy routine should be based on adding things to life not taking them away. It’s about trying delicious new foods and moving body and mind in ways that inspire people. For example: learning a new exercise; reading a book on T'ai Chi or triathlons; taking a rock climbing lesson; spend time thinking about ways to enrich and improve life rather than ways to get punished for eating that last slice of pie.
In a world that’s focused on the quick fix, it’s not always easy to do things slowly and do them right. Fanaticism seems to reign supreme. However, falling prey to all-or-nothing thinking can wreak havoc on the body and the self-esteem. People seem to think that they can pound out a new body with hammer and chisel, but the truth is that each healthy day is a layer of paint, every workout a brush stroke. It’s the healthy changes unfolding over time that make the masterpiece.
The whole essay is based on these rows. In the following you can read about the marketing strategy of a possible fitness club in Nyíregyháza.
The Hungarian Gallup society made a health survey about the health status of the Hungarian people. The results are very disappointing. Next part of the essay contains a short list about the highlights of this survey:
- One quarter of all middle-aged adults and half of the elderly population were permanently restricted by health problems to take part in social activities. (In the Preliminary Report we use the term 'young' for the 18-34 age group, 'middle aged' for the 35-64 age group, and 'elderly' to refer to adults aged 65 and over.)
- 1 out of 10 elderly person was dependent on other people for performing everyday activities. 1 out of 4 of these elderly persons needed help for getting out of bed.
- 1 out of 6 women and 1 out of 11 men had mental health problems during the 2 weeks before the interview that restricted them in their everyday activities and/or to take part in social activities.
- 1 out of 6 adults thought his/her health was bad or very bad. However, more than 40% of the population thought his/her health was good/very good.
- Some 40% of the middle-aged population, three quarters of elderly women and two thirds of elderly men were affected by cardiovascular diseases.
- Two thirds of women and half of men had complaints of pains in the neck, back or lower back.
- Half of the adult population was overweight or obese.
- During the 12 months prior to the interviews, 1 out of 10 adult suffered injury or poisoning that required medical care. Most of these accidents happened at home.
- Almost 1 out of 4 women thought that they could do nothing or very little to improve their health and 1 out of 5 men shared this opinion too.
- Almost 1 out of 4 women and more than 1 out of 3 men smoked tobacco every day.
- Three quarters of women and one third of men drank never or only occasionally alcohol. 1 out of 5 women and almost half of men were moderate drinkers. One woman out of 20 and one man out of 5 was a heavy drinker.
- 10% of the elderly population did not use any form of health service during the 12 months prior to the survey.
- Some 80% of the adult population had his/her blood pressure checked at least once within the 12 months prior to the survey.
- The proportion of the population using alternative medicine was negligible.
This is a preview of the whole essay
In comparison with the mortality statistics of other European countries the health status of the Hungarian population is extremely bad. However, mortality data alone is not sufficient to characterize the health status of the population: information on health problems - especially chronic diseases - is essential. In Hungary, morbidity data is only available through the registry-based data collection systems, but even that is very limited in utility and the information provided is often dubious. A number of countries use health surveys to collect valid data on the prevalence of most important diseases.
The survey showed that 40% of women and 33% of men suffer from cardiovascular diseases.
Figure 1. Cardiovascular diseases by age and gender
One out of 13 women (7.5%) and 1 out of 16 men (6.2%) suffer from diabetes. One out of 6 women (18.2%) and one out of 8 men (12.4%) suffer from asthma or other allergic diseases. Nearly two thirds of women (63.8%) and nearly half of men (49.1%) complained of pains in the neck, back or lower back. In half of the cases the pain radiated to the limbs: 35% of women and 23% of men complained about severe pains.
Figure 2. Neck, back, lower back pain by age and gender
During 12 months prior to the interview 1 out of 12 women (8.1%) and 1 out of 9 men (11.6%) suffered injury or poisoning that required medical care. One third (33.4%) of the most severe injuries and poisonings happened at home, and only one fifth (20.8% and 19.3%) happened at work or in traffic. Injuries or poisonings suffered by women happened mostly at home (42.6%) and in traffic (26.6%), while injuries and poisonings suffered by men happened most often at work (29.2%) and at home (26.3%).
Figure 3. The activity performed when injuries and poisoning happened by age and gender
The survey showed that 1 out of every 4 women (24.5%) thought that she could do nothing or very little for her health. It seems that men are less pessimistic in this regard: only every 5th men shared this opinion.
The proportion of those who thought they could do much or very much for their own health seems to decrease with age. While nearly 90% of young men and women thought they could do much for their health, this proportion is 55% and 65% among elderly women and men, respectively.
Figure 4. Distribution of the responses to question, "How important are your own efforts to stay healthy?" by age and gender
We have found - in concert with earlier national and international studies - that women of all ages use all forms of health service more frequently than men do.
One out of 10 elderly people (9.6%) did not use any kind of health service during the 12 months prior to the interviews. Moreover, only 85% of elderly women and 81% of elderly men used GP services during this period of time. In view of the relatively bad health status of the elderly population, this is a very unfavourable phenomenon. However, a more adequate interpretation of these results will only be available once the detailed analysis of the relationships between use of health care and health status is ready and available.
Figure 5. Proportion of the people who did not use GP services during the 12 months prior to the survey
It is however a favourable finding that 80% of adults - 81% of women and 76% of men - had had their blood pressure checked at least once during the 12 months prior to the survey. Only 6% of the people affected by hypertension did not have their blood pressure measured within 1 year before the survey.
Figure 6. Time since the last blood pressure measurement by age and gender
In comparison to the relatively high interest given to alternative health services in the media, the proportion of the population who used this kind of health services on an exclusive basis was found far below the expected number. Only 3% of women and 4% of men were found to be using alternative health services parallel to formal health services.
These distressing pieces of data show us that Hungary is in a need of healthcare development. Nowadays more and more people feel that they must have to make something for their health. The investors also realized this opportunity and this is the reason, forwhy more and more new fitness clubs and other healthcare facilities are born. The following section covers the health behaviour of the Hungarian people.
This research shows that middle and youth ages are in the most serious need of sport and health care. But the experiences show that the youngsters are more able-minded toward these activities. They can get used to sports more easily than older people. This is the reason forwhy fitness clubs used to concentrate on the younger age classes. Another important reason is the new fitness trend that rules the present fashion world. More and more young people try to be fit, because this is the new trend. During the socialism nobody took care of fitness, but in the 90s a new lifestyle started to rule Hungary.
Another important target is the class of young mothers. Their interest is very simple: they want to lose weight (caused by pregnancy) or want to relax their everyday exaction. A fitness club can be a new meeting point for these women who want to relax or they can just talk with their friends during their everyday sport.
The next main target is the working class. It contains everybody who is under the pressure of everyday stress. Nyíregyháza is getting more developed and more young people coming to this region of the country, and they also request the fitness lifestyle.
In the positioning strategy of the fitness club the place plays a very important role. In the following section of the essay you can read a short research about the chosen region, eastern Hungary (mainly Nyíregyháza).
West tends to east
Nyíregyháza. The future border town of the Schengen border. With its cheap estate market, industrial park and dischargeable and young workforce, this city might be one of the biggest winners of the EU enlargement. The city is utilizing the opportunities given by the triplet border.
Nyíregyháza is the most dynamically developing town of the north-eastern region of Hungary. It is the shire town of Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg County, and with its 27446-hectare area it is the seventh biggest and with its 120000 habitants it is the sixth most populous city in Hungary.
The radial frame city is filled with parks and greenwoods. In the eastern part of the city lays Sóstó, which is the pearl of the city. Its natural thermal provides great opportunities for those, who want to make healthcare facilities. What is more, this city has the most parks and open space in the country.
The advantageous locus of Sóstó might play an important role in the positioning of the fitness club. The beautiful environment offers great opportunities for all healthcare utilizations.
The Triplet Border of Schengen
Nyíregyháza’s site is superb, its opportunities are good, and its future is more and more magnificent. In these features were interested those investors, who entered the market of the city in 1989. In the 90 kilometres radius of the Nyíregyháza three countries’ markets are reachable: Ukraine, Rumania and Slovakia.
Additionally, after the EU enlargement Nyíregyháza will be the only big city by the Schengen border. After the government announced, that the M3 highway will toward to Nyíregyháza (presently the end of the highway is only 50 kilometres far from the city), the investment spirit increased. Another factor affected this spirit positively too: the airport of the city, which was built in 1928, has been renovated, developed and now it has a protemporaneous “border-opening” license. The Airport Nyíregyháza is registered in the AIP catalogue (this catalogue contains all of the worlds capable airports) and the owner is the government of the city. It is capable to take 20-25 small airplanes per day.
The developed traffic system of the region is a big opportunity, which helps the fitness club, because it expands the customer environment to the three neighbour countries too.
Companies focused in the industrial park
The government gives great discounts for those who want to invest in this region. This is the main reason, forwhy the moderate GDP of the county is generated mainly by Nyíregyháza and its agglomerations. Experts rate the city’s industrial park as the best logistical service-provider of eastern Hungary. Moreover, the government gives free run of these properties for those who are interested in it. Additionally, if the company employs minimum 100 employees or if it wants to make least 500 million HUF investment, the government gives local tax-bote. The industrial park (called Login Park) is on a 120-hectare land space and it is the biggest and most developed one in Hungary.
Based on the processing industry
Since 1970, the following companies entered this region: Flextronics (electronics), Michelin (tyre manufacturing), Phoenix and Hübner (rubber products), Butler (steel structures), Dunapack Ltd. (paper and packaging production), Berwin England (textile production), Nutrica (dairy production) and Universal Leaf Tobacco (tobacco industry). After the privatisation the following industries became more powerful: packing industry (EKO), transporting (Révész Eurotransz), cereal industry (Szabolcs Gabona), meat-trade (Kárpát-Hús) and shoe industry (Szapport).
These two sections show that Nyíregyháza has a very good opportunities and this city will benefit a lot from the enlargement. New comer companies mean new customers for the fitness club, so it is essential to win these people.
Although Nyíregyháza was founded in the 13th century, it only is city for 250 years. But it is not the only reason, forwhy Nyíregyháza is young. 24 % of its population is 16-19 years old and 38 % is under 34. This city is one of the biggest school towns in Hungary. There are three colleges and one university in Nyíregyháza and that means overall 30000 students. Here are the most young and qualified people in the county, moreover, the workforce is much cheaper, than in the western part of the country. In the city and in its environment there is a considerable 10000 numbered reserved-workforce. Experts try to decrease the 8,5% unemployment rate with effective retraining system and self-training. The opportunities are given because Nyíregyháza is the education and cultural centre of the county.
The high rate of young people and the huge number of schools provides also a big opportunity for a fitness club.
Unlimited estate market
Although there are 4 housing estates under construction, still the building of small houses is significant. The unlimited estate market has another consequent: in the last 5 years the estate prices became three times bigger (it is bad for those who want to buy, and it is good for those, who want to sell). The relatively low estate prices also help the establishment of a fitness club. Presently the estate prices are following:
The script for employees
Personal training can be a very rewarding career and for many, it’s more than just putting clients through workouts. The feelings of appreciation after helping someone achieve their fitness goals, is what drives a trainer. The trouble is, many personal trainers switch careers because they find they just can’t make it.
One of the biggest problems of a trainer is the lack of focus on teaching them not just exercise science but basic business principles. Many individuals go out and get certified and are led to believe that if they’re a good trainer they’ll get clients. Plus, some are even lead to believe that the better they are the busier they’ll be… unfortunately, that’s not the way it works at all.
The problem is prospective clients don’t know the difference between an ACE certification and an NSCA, nor do they really care! What they care about is results - what benefits they’ll receive. People might think that’s common sense, but it’s wrong! If it were common sense, all of the personal training certifications and courses would teach it.
There are only a few trainers who know this and even fewer who implement this into their work. There’s a lot of talk in the personal training field right now about professionalism, and while I agree it is important, it doesn’t matter one bit if there are no clients. Plus, a trainer can be the most educated, certified, qualified, and professional one out there and still struggle to stay busy.
Prospective clients are more concerned with whether or not a trainer is going to help them, not how many certifications he or she has. But there are a few simple and basic business and marketing strategies that can make all the difference in the world. The goal of a personal trainer is to help understanding what the “ideal” client wants and give it to them. The following basics are mentioned for the trainers of the fitness club.
Know the “ideal” client
It’s critical that you know who they are, what they do in their spare time, where they eat, etc. The more you know the better off you are and the easier you can get your marketing message across.
Become an expert
It doesn’t mean just know your stuff (which you should), but you should position yourself as an expert in a specific category. For example, you might work with busy business executives – you can position yourself as the expert at getting busy corporate execs into shape fast.
Use multi-step marketing
This is where so many trainers make a huge mistake. If you get a lead or prospect and they don’t sign up what do you do? Forget about them? Hopefully not, because that’s what most trainers do. Leads are not easy to come by, nor are they cheap, so why give up on them? You should add them to your mailing list and send them informative articles or your newsletter – you never know when they might be ready to sign up. Plus, many people feel uncomfortable doing business with someone they don’t know. Let them get to know you, your company, and your services.
Get some help
Just like your clients need your help, don’t be afraid to get help in the area of business and marketing. Get the help of a successful business coach and it makes a world of difference.
Customer care program
The customer care program is very important in the case of a fitness club. A good program makes the customers coming back. The following points are designed to maintain a good customer care.
- Understanding customers and what they expect: personal trainers are the centres of this point. They work together with the customers every day and they can understand them. A personal trainer should always listen to the suggestions and the ideas of a customer. The ultimate aim is to develop the fitness club and without the ideas o the customers it is impossible.
- Defining the ”service quality” concept: after the customers made their suggestions, the manager of the fitness club has to find the way to implement these ideas. If the customers see that their wishes are involved in the development of the club, they will feel like they would be the part of it. This will lead to the perfect quality of the service.
- Involving all employees through empowerment: as it was mentioned, personal trainers are the essential elements of customer care. They are who listen to the problems and the ideas of the customer. Trainers can be continually trained to understand the customer. With time they can be as close to them as a psychiatrist. The goal is to understand their inner thoughts. This is the reason why all employees have to feel that they are all the part of the club and their efforts are very important.
Implementing the ideas
The following part of the essay covers those ideas, which can make the club successful:
- Personal trainer: the most essential item of the fitness club. He is the communication centre of the club. His role is the development of fitness programs for each costumer; he has to suggest the fit meal receipt.
- Playground for children: young mothers are one of the main target groups, so it is very important to establish a place, where they can leave their children during their fitness time.
- Good parking opportunities
- Special services: e.g. sauna, air-conditioning, solarium, hypoxic-training, etc.
- Healthy buffet: this is the best way to show the healthy way of eating to the customers.
- Sport wears and accessories: plus profit for the club.
- Remedial gymnastics, massage
- Discounts and boons
The research is based on the Gallup Survey
These pieces of information are from Szabó László, CEO of Ingatlan Centrum Ltd.