Over the summer our Director of Marketing & Partnerships Paul Woodford was interviewed by Hussle for one of their ‘Side Hussle’ expert insights.  Woody discussed all things marketing, particularly around the impact COVID has had on the future direction of travel for leisure operators.

The interview started with Woody being asked, what sales and marketing challenges did he see gym operators facing during the next 12-months as the UK recovers post-pandemic?

Changing, developing, growing and moving your sales and marketing on will be crucial; operators who just go back to their pre-Covid acquisition strategies are going to struggle and even fail.

The fitness sales marketplace has changed dramatically; consumers have had more than a year to reflect on where they direct their spend, if indeed they direct it our way at all.

For too long our sector has focused on short term, price-led promotions to drive interest. It’s time to step up and develop brand-led, inspiring campaigns that focus on why your facility is the right fit for the target market you’re trying to attract.

Think of your brand as a person, with a clear personality and passion. Your brand values are like that person’s DNA – the commitments they live by. Your brand vision is what drives and defines that passion; use this vision to create the energy and clarity your team need to deliver.

For operators who wish to revisit their brand, where should they begin?

When we build/develop brands we focus on vision, mission, goals, values, commitments and messages. We use these triggers:

1. The Why – what’s your purpose? What impact do you want to have? Who are you aiming your offer at?

2. The What and the How – this is all about your venues and your products … what you offer, and your people and your pricing

3. Identity and Personality – what’s the essence of your brand? What are your core values? These needs to be relatable, believable and unique to you

4. Tone of voice – what emotions and passions are you looking to evoke in your customers with your messaging?

The key here is to ask: does your brand make a difference to customers’ wellbeing? Your facility is just one element of your product that contributes, but there is so much more you can offer. Customers need to feel they are part of something bigger than just a club.

The marketplace is noisy and marketing spend is lower than ever. Rather than the ‘outside to in’ marketing approach most take, focus on an ‘inside to out’ campaign, using real member stories to inspire new customers, using your community as a lure.

The interview continued with Woody being asked about how whether he felt the sector was damaged from 2020, as well as giving some advice on how operators can focus on getting back to normal.  Read the full interview here.