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Column Marketing & Sales

Marketing: Forming Consumer Tribes within Your Gym

consumer tribe

Michael Solomon in his book “Consumer Behavior: Buying, Having and Being” defines consumer tribes as “a group of people who share a lifestyle and can identify with each other because of a shared allegiance to an activity or a product … members identify with others through shared emotions, moral beliefs, styles of life, and of course, the products they jointly consume as part of their tribal affiliation.”

A great example of a consumer tribe in the fitness realm is the CrossFit community. CrossFitters share a passion for CrossFit, but they don’t just workout together — they also attend the same events and buy the same products.

Zumba is another great example of a fitness-related consumer tribe.

Why do people join consumer tribes? They do so because humans want to connect and share experiences together. It also is a way to express self-identity and find fulfillment.

Consumer tribes aren’t always as high-profile as Zumba and CrossFit. In fact, there may be consumer tribes within your gym. Examples could be:

  • Small Group Training
  • Running Groups
  • Triathlon Training Groups
  • Certain Group X Classes
  • Certain Yoga Classes

Why should you be concerned with finding consumer tribes within your gym? There are a few reasons:

Increased retention: The people within consumer tribes are loyal. If their consumer tribe sits within your gym, the likelihood of you losing them as a member is extremely low. These members are more engaged and have tighter social bonds than many of your other members.

Increased revenue: Consumers in a tribe don’t just bond around an activity, they also bond around specific products and services that they “jointly consume as part of their tribal affiliation.” So, if you can identify what products the tribe is consuming and start offering them at your gym, you can begin capturing some of the dollars.

Example: Say you have a thriving Zumba program. If so, you should be sure to sell Zumba-branded clothing and other items.

Easier marketing: Marketing to these groups is also much easier than other consumer groups, because you know exactly what the tribe is interested in. Tailor your message to speak specifically to this niche group, and distribute that message where the consumer group is: On social media.

Do you have a consumer tribe with your gym? If so, what activity are they bonding over?

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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