Industry Buzz: IHRSA 2016 Was A Tech-savvy Splash
IHRSA 2016 was a total social splash! This year there were more examples of the importance of implementing a social media strategy.
Randi Zuckerberg and Jay Baer were two keynote speakers that specifically focused on the link of technology and digital strategy in driving your brand forward. The book Leading Digital (by Didier Bonnet and George Westerman) says, “Digital Masters exceed their industry peers on average by 9 percent in revenues and 26 percent in profitability. Digital masters excel at making better decisions about what technology initiatives to pursue and steering those to success.” FIT-C believes that encouraging more participants to become digital masters will grow the marketplace. Learn more here or click here to read the whole report from FIT-C.
Across all the speakers and seminars, there was a common thread on absolute must-do’s to be current. I’ve compiled a list of the “Top 3 Non-Negotiable Must-Do’s” according the the experts featured at IHRSA 2016:
- Mobile Responsive Design. I attended the FIT-C roundtable on Wednesday afternoon and the packed room was at a unanimous consensus: If you do not have a mobile-friendly website or mobile app, you are not only behind in the game, you are not even being considered. Multiple people in the room admitted that they make their own purchasing decisions based on a company’s ability to be mobile friendly. According to Internet Retailer, 25percent of shoppers inside a store will make purchases on their mobile devices while shopping there and 71 percent of shoppers are on their mobile devices doing cost comparisons while in-store. It’s absolutely imperative to have a mobile-friendly site.
- LIVE Interaction with Your Consumer. Long gone are the days where you can just post articles and call it a day. You must engage your target audience, respond to their comments, and cater your content toward their changing interests and needs. On Wednesday morning Randi Zuckerberg delivered an amazing keynote where halfway through her talk she got out her smartphone, invited a handful of willing participants up on stage and started live streaming the event! She interviewed each one of the volunteers and really elevated the excitement of her talk. Not only that, she managed to get over 15,000 “likes” on Facebook that same day. That is the type of engagement today’s customer is craving.
- Smart Equipment. Several companies offer smart fitness equipment.Eco Fit has a tremendous product that is being tested to create an easy way for health club operators to visibly see the usage stats and service opportunities before they even happen. Imagine a world where you know the specifics on all your equipment and can diagnose problems before equipment is completely out of commission!
Another highlight of smart equipment is that many service providers are starting to see the relevance of open hubs. One in particular, Star Trac, featured the launch of their open hub network, demonstrating how easy it will be for the consumer to plug their device of choice right into the fitness equipment. The sad fact is that people often set their iPads over the top of the fancy touch screens that come standard on a lot of equipment, eliminating the need for the screen provided by the manufacturer.
These three points aren’t just tips, nor are they social “trends” per se — they’re non-negotiable, and they’re here to stay. We need to stay current, we need to keep up with the world around us, we need to evolve our business to match our technologically-driven environment.
Did you join in at IHRSA? What were some of your favorite takeaways?
Lindsey Rainwater, also known as Lindsey RainH2O, is a sought-after business consultant, leadership coach, writer and presenter to the fitness and wellness industry. For more information about Rainwater, follow her on Twitter @LindseyRainH2O or check out her websitewww.linseyrainh2o.com.