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In Print The Essentials

The Marketing of ‘Relevance’


I recently read an article in the Harvard Business Review that began to change my overarching thought process. It said, “If your customer retention strategy relies on ‘buying’ loyalty with rewards, rebates or discounts, it is coming at a high cost. And these days, it could also mean you’re giving up something priceless: your relevance.”

Another article in the blog sprinkler.com gave this startling statistic: “40 percent of companies currently in the S&P 100 are projected to be out of business by 2020. The malady? An inability to adapt to the rapid change of technology, data and digital consumption.”

How do we make the paradigm shift required to ensure digital is the foundation for marketing?

We begin by accepting the fact that digital is where our customers are living. We have no choice but to acquiesce to their demand for relevance.

Then we let go of the traditional four Ps of marketing: product, price, place and promotion. To become truly digitally relevant, we expand our thinking to include the following five Ps:

Purpose: Members feel the club shares and advances their values.

Pride: Members feel proud and inspired to use the club’s products and services.

Partnership: Members feel the club relates to and works well with them.

Protection: Members feel secure when doing business with the club.

Personalization: Members feel their experiences with the club are continuously tailored to their needs and priorities.

We can apply these principles to all of our products. For example, with our group programs we make sure that: 1) our purpose aligns with the member’s to connect and gain health; 2) the experience creates a sense of pride in their accomplishment; 3) we are partners in achieving the lifestyle they desire; 4) our quality of programming is safe; and 5) they feel the personalization of having an instructor that inspires them.

In the end, by being relevant, we will achieve all of our other goals of loyalty and retention.


Linda Mitchell is the director of public and government relations at Newtown Athletic Club.

Linda Mitchell

Linda Mitchell is the director of public relations and community partners for Newtown Athletic Club. She can be reached at linda@newtownathletic.com.

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