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Why City Fitness Doesn’t Believe in New Year Marketing

City Fitness on new year marketing

Every January, people around the world choose a New Year’s resolution — a goal they’ll strive to achieve over the course of a new calendar year. And according to iQuanti, a data-driven digital marketing company, the most popular resolution is to get fit.

In 2017, “There was a 315 percent increase around the search term ‘gym’ and a significant increase around fitness-related searches, which shows just how important people are taking physical fitness,” said Sastry Rachakonda, CEO of iQuanti, in an interview on New Year’s resolutions with NBC News.

Due to the increased interest in fitness around the New Year, many clubs create promotions and special offers that aim to attract New Year’s resolutioners to their gyms over the competition.  

However, City Fitness in Philadelphia takes a different approach.  

According to Tom Wingert, the brand’s vice president of marketing, they instead focus efforts on a Q4 price promotion that’s aim is to take customers off the market before January rolls around.

In December of 2017, we ran a promotion waiving enrollment, designed to take would-be ‘resolutioners’ off the market,” he explained. “The next month — January — we teed up a brand awareness campaign, ‘Stand Out,’ celebrating the choices people make when they join a gym. Joining a gym puts a person among a relatively small group in society that are saying, ‘I want to live an active lifestyle.’ It’s our job as a brand to acknowledge and applaud that.”

According to Wingert, City Fitness does not run a price promotion campaign in January, and hasn’t since 2015.

This approach has paid off.

“Using this one-two punch, we were above 126 percent of our sales goals for both December 2017 and January 2018,” said Wingert. “We’ll do something similar this year, and likely in years following, assuming we’re not doing something like opening a gym in January. We also collected, on average, about 90 percent of enrollment fees in January of this year, which had a welcome impact on our balance sheet.”

This story showcases that sometimes, successful marketing means bucking tradition and thinking outside the box of what you normally do each year.


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

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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