Fit-Tech: Your Journey Starts Here
Your fit-tech journey isn’t a sprint.
We are all, even the most digitally advanced among us, just at the beginning of our fit-tech journeys. Change will continue to happen and clubs must be ready to stay the course. Far from a once and done dash to the finish line, digital transformation is a journey of continual learning and evolution. It is a marathon, not a sprint.
That being said, change is coming fast and clubs must respond fast. A marathon, yes, but that long-term perspective doesn’t negate the need to act now. At the very least, every fitness business should have passed the starting line of its own fit-tech marathon. If not, start now. Just take the first step, then learn and adapt as you go. Your members will forgive a few ‘that didn’t work’ moments as you try things out, ask for their feedback and fine-tune.
Before you act, ensure you have a digital strategy. Remember that your digital offering will be your extension of your brand. If you have loyal members at your club and you create an online offering that’s relevant to them, the big brands — the Apples and Pelotons of this world — become less of a threat. So, who are your members, your demographic and what do they want? What would a digital extension of your offering and your brand look like? This isn’t about copying others. It’s about complimenting your unique, in-club experience with a digital one that’s equally unique and relevant to your customers.
During lockdown and its aftermath, gyms and health clubs went big on livestream content. They also went big on social media to make it work. It’s understandable, COVID-19 forced everyone to work quickly and social was an easy answer, with the audience already there and tech that worked.
But putting all workout content onto the likes of Facebook Live, Instagram Live and YouTube was arguably the biggest mistake operators made in the rush to get online. Why? Because in doing so, clubs effectively gave away their contacts, their opportunity to gather data, their ability to monetize and their ownership of the customer relationship to these B2C platforms.
But it can be rectified, if clubs now take steps to build their own ecosystems: branded networks of physical and digital touchpoints that they control, through which they can deliver their fitness experiences direct to members both in and out of club.
Think of Amazon Video as part of Prime membership, Apple TV as part of the Apple One subscription service and Peloton’s expansion beyond its bike. Ecosystems are everywhere when it comes to content. Done right, the content drives the audience to the rest of the business. Done right, it builds loyalty by delivering a unique 360° journey under the one brand.