When Two Worlds Collide
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Chaos brings opportunity, and the fitness industry is certainly operating in a chaotic mode as we go into 2016. Meaning, if there was ever a time to attack in this industry by anyone looking for growth opportunities, it would be this year.
Chaos can be defined for us as an end of one belief system and the beginning of a new era where, no matter what you think you know about the business, the rules have changed and everything you think you know is now horribly wrong.
On one side of the collision, we have the mainstream fitness world, locked into the rules of 1995 and struggling to find a new identity to stay competitive. Everything we think we know in that world is failing. The $39 price point is disappearing and is being replaced by the $9 - $19 players. The traditional way we market to consumers doesn't work any longer... illustrated by the end of almost all retro marketing tools, such as direct mail, newspaper ads, radio and cable television. And, most importantly, the client is becoming better educated and no longer will settle for what has passed as a fitness industry for the last 70 years.
On the other side of the collision, we have the training gyms. With respect to the lower end struggle, weirdly, it is just beginning to heat up, and the low-price players will find themselves in a total war this year. The original $10 gyms have always believed that price is their definer and that the $10 barrier would protect this category, since no one would be crazy enough to go lower. Yet, not only are some crazy enough, their plan is perhaps that of a mad genius.
There are now gyms in the Northeast offering two-for-one memberships for $10! The mad genius part is that no one cares about the number of people it takes to sell a $10 membership. Getting the $10 membership sold is the goal. And, it won't be long before it might be four people for $10. Just crank out the $10 memberships and don't care about the number of the people in the gym!
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