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Marketing to ‘Heroes’


Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 10.20.00 AMWith CrossFit Boxes opening by the dozens each and every year, many health clubs are capitalizing on the trend by opening up Boxes of their own within their facilities. That includes Gainesville Health and Fitness (GHF), which opened up GHF CrossFit in Tioga, Florida, two years ago.

According to John Carmean, the director of communications for GHF, this called for some strategic thinking when it came to marketing. That is because marketing to CrossFitters is different than marketing to other club demographics.

“We like to do things that are edgy and creative, because many [CrossFitters] see themselves as heroes,” explained Carmean. “The CrossFit demographic is typically made up of people who like to go above and beyond and challenge themselves.”

This is currently being showcased in GHF CrossFit’s “A Hero Will Rise” campaign. The campaign showcases CrossFit coaches dressed up as warriors and uses keywords such as “personal bests” and “high intensity.”

For gyms that also have CrossFit Boxes, here are some of Carmean’s tips for marketing to that particular demographic:

  • “We have 27,000 members, so the CrossFit demographic is a really small slice of that. We found that they really respond well to marketing that has an edgy, emotional, gritty feel to it.”

  • “A local graffiti artist came into the GHF CrossFit to paint art on the walls. It has real personality.”

  • “CrossFitters are really drawn to our coaches, so we put our coaches’ personalities at the front of our marketing. The coaches take part in the marketing campaigns, and this allows us to market a relationship between the coach and member.”

  • “We also try to market the members’ successes, because that really resonates with them.”

In addition, Carmean explained that Box is a bit different than traditional CrossFit locations. Instead of being boxed in by four walls, members often make use of an outdoor space that includes deadlift platforms, jungle gyms and various pieces of functional equipment.

“We put our own GHF spin on it,” he said. “We thought it was a way to stand out from other Boxes in our area.”

When marketing to “heroes,” some creativity is required.

By Rachel Zabonick

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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