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Entries in mass marketing (2)


IHRSA 2016 Session Spotlight: Effective Use of Data-Driven Marketing

“Health clubs’ advertising budgets aren’t getting bigger, so it’s a matter of how can we do more in the boundaries of what we have,” says Mary Frank, sales and marketing manager for Cincinnati Sports Club. “My advertising budget hasn’t expanded, but I’ve done more because I’ve been smarter with every dollar I spent.”

Frank will detail how other health club operators can use data to maximize their marketing initiatives in her IHRSA 2016 session, “Doing More With Less: Effective Use of Data-Driven Marketing.”

Common Marketing Challenges

When it comes to health club marketing, a common misstep is trying to cast your net too wide.

“There are a lot of marketing mediums to use to spread the word about your club. The traditional methods included direct mail, which is a very expensive method to communicate,” Frank says. “Owners/operators believe they need to market to thousands—quantity over quality—to get the sales results that they needed. This ties up very valuable marketing dollars and limits you to diversifying your portfolio with new avenues including social media, digital advertising, and driving referrals.”

Social media marketing can be an effective sales tool, but the variety of options can lead to health clubs spreading themselves too thin online.

“The challenge is to find the one or two that will sell your story the best and stick to it,” Frank says. “Too many sources can send a confusing message of who you are and what your club is trying to accomplish.”

Data-Driven Solutions

In order to stretch their advertising budgets, health club operators must strive for quality over quantity in their marketing efforts—and technology can help.

“Today’s technology advances allow us to have more information about the consumer available to us,” Frank says. “You can actually hand pick the potential members that best match your existing member and target them specifically. Additionally, by watching what is going on in your marketplace as it relates to consumers, you can see if there is an untapped market that you have not been reaching out to. Overall, being smarter with who you mail to can generate more sales and lead to a lower member acquisition cost.”

And Frank has done just that. Twenty years ago, it was common practice for her to send one direct mail message to 10,000 people. This January—thanks to tracking trends and targeting demographics—she mailed to 6,000 people using 10-12 tailored messages.

In the past two years, these tactics have decreased her member acquisition cost by $100.

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What is the best way to mass market?

Can a club be something for everyone? Sure. But that doesn't mean you should target everyone in the city where you are.

Justin Tamsett and Tracey Bourdon tackle the question about mass marketing not coming back with the desired results.

Q: "We like to think of our club as a place for everyone. However, I have been noticing that our mass marketing efforts are not resonating with the different demographics we want to attract.  What are the best ways to target different demographics and market to them more effectively?"

A: Marketing of health clubs is becoming more difficult as generally clubs are doing the same marketing, so the consumer is becoming desensitized to our efforts.

The key for making your marketing successful (ie work) is segment the market beyond demographics and then go to that specific segment with your specific message.

This means drill deeper into a target market and get really specific about the description of that market. Consider their psychographics (interests and attitudes). Analyze these people and determine their pain points. What is creating pain in their life and your marketing must show them you have the solution. Discover where these people shop, eat, and hang out. And that is where you go to market to them.

Your marketing must have proven value of your product and how you have helped someone of that specific segment. This would be shown through a before and after photo, a testimonial or even better a video testimonial. You want people of the specific market segment to see the image, read the copy of watch the video and think “That person is just like me! If they can do it, so can I.” 

Finally, to prove your solution works offer a trial. A paid trial will reduce the number of leads but it will increase the quality of leads. This means the people who are prepared to pay a small amount to trial your facility (and your solution) will be more qualified.

A very important point to note is this: if your solution to your target market’s pain (ie why they would join your club) is not unique, then you are potentially simply raising the profile of fitness in your community and marketing for your competitors. So ensure the message in your marketing clearly states your unique solution to them.

Justin Tamsett
Active Management


A: Great question since no one has unlimited marketing budgets.

First, solicit the help of a full service marketing agency that can identify where your current members reside and the demographic profile of those neighborhoods.

This should help you identify “like” populations that would be good prospects for Club Membership.

Second, ask for a search of local residents who meet whatever demographic profile you determine is a great target (for example, homes with children ages 5-13  or women in the household with incomes over $70,000).  This is invaluable information as it allows you to precisely market to only those households that meet your search criteria.

Finally, don’t forget to use a variety of marketing tools such as email, guerilla material, Facebook and other social media avenues to spread the word about your promotions and programming.  Engage your members in “sharing” the word about your club and leverage the power of your happy members! Testimonials are still the best form of advertising.

Tracey Bourdon
Head Marketing Coach
Susan K. Bailey Marketing & Design


 Visit to read responses to more than 100 questions such as these or to submit a question of your own to be answered.