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ROR Partners: Return on Relationships

ROR Partners

Greg Dowd, Tom Lapcevic and Cheryl Barnett share how ROR Partners is leveraging data, relationships and results to fuel the success of its fitness clients.

American author, lawyer and comedian Ben Stein once said, “Personal relationships are the fertile soil from which all advancement, all success, all achievement in real life grows.” 

A great example of a brand that understands the powerful value of relationships is ROR Partners — with “ROR” actually standing for “Return on Relationships.” 

ROR Partners was recently expanded through its recent acquisition of the local/fitness division of Epsilon from Publicis Groupe. However, the brand has actually been over a decade in the making, spawning from the tight-knit relationship between industry veterans Greg Dowd and Tom Lapcevic. 

Lapcevic and Dowd first began working with each other while Lapcevic was the chief marketing officer of 24 Hour Fitness, and Dowd was the president of Epsilon. Right off the bat, they discovered they were synergistic in how they viewed client relations, strategy, execution, partnerships, product vision and more. 

As a result, when the opportunity to form ROR Partners came about, they didn’t hesitate. 

“Tom and I have a common strategic commitment to a service-first approach,” said Dowd. “We know that delivering exceptional value to our clients is the only path to long-term success. We look at each client relationship as a true partnership.” 

The combined forces of Dowd and Lapcevic, plus a highly experienced leadership team and data-driven solutions and technologies, make ROR Partners a powerful contender in digital media marketing.

“ROR has a very experienced management team across all disciplines, coupled with countless years of collective fitness experience,” said Lapcevic. “Our expansive fitness database is augmented with Epsilon data sources and machine learning to provide invaluable insights for member acquisition and retention. We have also taken the world’s most advanced advertising platforms, including Facebook, Google, Adobe and Conversant, and productized them for fitness applications. This combination of people, fitness experience, data and technologies allow us to help clients achieve unprecedented performance levels.”

And, ROR Partners truly wants to help its fitness clients and the industry as a whole — showcased through its key involvement in leading industry organizations and state alliances. 

ROR Partners

“We have team members serving on boards and committees of many industry-leading organizations,” said Dowd. “ROR has also forged tight relationships and integrations with top industry platforms and complementary solution providers in addition to non-industry specific, world-class martech companies. We’re delivering a level of technology typically unaffordable to our relatively smaller industry.”

In fact, ROR has a highly effective advertising campaign process that leverages its technologies and data, including advanced trade area analytics, consumer research and segmentation, real-time content testing, media-mix modeling, omnichannel optimization, transparent measurement and analytics, and rapid “test, learn and adapt” processes. 

All of this is customized for each client’s consumer journey, value propositions and points of differentiation to properly target the “next best prospect” within a given trade area. This results in highly efficient marketing campaigns with minimal waste and optimal performance.

“Perhaps one of the most impactful aspects to our overall solution is the creation of a client-specific marketing database,” said Dowd. “We start with integrating your first-party data, then we cleanse and enhance your data. We leverage this database for incremental insights and trend analysis as well as advanced segmentation and personalization.” 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic consequences, it’s never been more important for clubs to have an innovative digital media agency partner that can help them navigate uncertainty and prepare for the future. 

Cheryl Barnett, the chief growth officer at ROR Partners, said she sees this sentiment first-hand with their clients. 

“Our clients want the best ROI for their marketing, but honestly, they want more than that,” said Barnett. “They want a partner they feel is in the boat with them. A partner that is looking beyond the horizon to make sure they are steering in the right direction and making the navigational changes necessary for a smooth journey.”

As a result, ROR Partners complements its high-tech, data-driven solutions with a caring, customized approach to client service.   

“It’s important to us to understand what our client’s annual goals are and how that breaks down monthly and what tools we can use to keep it on track to meet goals,” said Barnett. “When we are integrated with our clients, it allows us to see things they were not able to see before. We can bring new insights and trends that affect much more than their marketing. A successful working relationship with our clients is when we are an extension of their team. We wake up and go to sleep thinking about their success.”

Despite the challenges of the current times, Dowd, Lapcevic and the entire ROR Partners leadership team feel very optimistic about the industry’s future. 

“We remain extremely optimistic regarding the opportunities ahead for our clients to create a healthier and more fit world,” said Dowd. “People need and value the services our fitness clients deliver. We feel privileged to have an impact on people’s adoption of active lifestyles.”

This isn’t just an optimistic outlook that’s not supported by action. ROR Partners plans to play a key role in fueling the growth of its clients and the industry, and ultimately, helping more consumers buy-in to a healthy lifestyle. 

“Our vision is to help clients provide fitness solutions to a broader membership base with gym-based and digital fitness solutions,” explained Lapcevic. “We believe fitness is a continuous journey that is location agnostic — inside clubs and studios, at home, outdoor. We believe we are well-positioned to help clients make the transition to omnichannel fitness.” 

With a bright future in mind, Lapcevic said it’s more important than ever for clubs to highly scrutinize their marketing investments to ensure success. “As a basic example, there are certain individuals who simply won’t be influenced by marketing due to COVID-19,” he said. “It’s important to identify those individuals and suppress them from campaigns to avoid waste.” 

Moving forward, Barnett also advised operators to better utilize the first-party data already at their disposal to help make marketing and business decisions — something ROR Partners can assist with. 

“Nobody has a crystal ball, but each club operator is sitting on a gold mine with their first-party data,” said Barnett. “This data allows them to understand what is happening in the club. Who is coming in to use the club, who’s comfortable joining the club, etc.? We enrich this first-party data further to identify trends and insights so operators can adapt their operations and we can flex their marketing.” 

Ultimately, the newly formed yet highly experienced ROR Partners team is excited for what lies ahead — with an emphasis on relationships remaining a central focus. 

“This has been a dream to get here,” said Barnett. “The relationships we have internally are just as important as the ones we have with our clients. Our goal is to strengthen and grow our clients’ relationships with their communities and members. The common goal within our team is client success.”

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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