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Roundtable Recap: Marketing & PR in the Moment


On June 10, REX Roundtables and Club Solutions Magazine presented the tenth installment of a weekly virtual roundtable series aimed at helping clubs navigate through the COVID-19 crisis, sponsored by Instinctive Insights.

Panelists included Kari Bedgood, the chief marketing officer of Active Wellness; Bill McBride, the co-founder, president and CEO of Active Wellness; and Blair McHaney, the CEO of MXM and owner of WORX health clubs. The discussion was led and moderated by Brent Darden, the founder of Brent Darden Consulting and chair of REX Roundtables.

Following is a summary of top takeaways from the discussion, centered around marketing communication strategies.

Highlights from Discussion

  • Remember you have different member segments, so market to each group accordingly. These segments could include: 
    • Members still doing virtual-only 
    • Members who have frozen or cancelled their memberships
    • Members who are now visiting in-person upon reopening
  • Think about the “why” behind your marketing decisions — what are you trying to achieve? 
  • Solicit feedback/collaboration on marketing decisions. Employees will ultimately have more buy-in. 
  • Align marketing with your vision and purpose. Who are you as a brand? Build messaging around that. Aim to build trust through your marketing.
  • As owners, you need to be aware of what messages are going out, especially during times of crisis or turmoil. 
  • With email especially, make sure your message is super relevant to your audience. People are inundated with email, but if your message is relevant, they’ll still open it. 
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, TV and radio took a financial hit. As a result, now may be a good time to invest in TV and radio advertising, and it’s easier to negotiate a good deal. 
  • The panel touted the benefits of customer testimonials during this time, but think about the question you’ll ask your customers to get great answers. McHaney asked members the question, “What do you think of WORX as a company in terms of how they handled the shutdown?” 
  • According to Bedgood, “Videos are so important and really tell the story of what the experience is like.” 
  • Video marketing examples from WORX. Click here. 
  • Marketing/reopening examples from Active Wellness: 
  • If you can craft professional videos, great. But oftentimes, raw videos taken with a phone will work just as well. Active Wellness encourages staff to record/capture video that can be used in future videos.
  • When creating a video showcasing your reopening policies, pay attention to detail. Give an accurate visual of what members can expect. 
  • Tools Active Wellness uses for marketing/collaboration: 
  • If you make a mistake in marketing, it’s OK to acknowledge it. Explain how you’re going to fix it and make it right. 
  • Listen and acknowledge all feedback on social media or review sites, even negative, unless it’s deemed as abusive or violates guidelines. Only delete or block users if they’re violating guidelines. Additionally, don’t delete negative comments, but address them. 
  • Ensure staff know what you’re communicating to members and how to respond if asked/approach about it. 
  • Create a FAQ page — this will make responding to questions so much easier. 

To access the on-demand version of this webinar, click here

UPCOMING: Don’t miss the 11th installment of our virtual roundtable series, “Successful Strategies for Shaping Your Future: Maximizing Member Re-Engagement” on June 17 at 2 p.m. EST, in partnership with REX Roundtables and Club Solutions Magazine and sponsored by AV Now Fitness Sound. Limited seats are available. Click here to reserve your spot.

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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