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Data Points: Improving Your Decision-Making

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Two industry leaders share how health clubs can manage their data points and make the most of them to help make decisions.

Clubs have more member data at their disposal than ever before, but how can owners manage this data and use it effectively?

For starters, make sure you are collecting the right data points. 

“The starting point is to implement processes to ensure the collection of verified personal information, such as name, gender, date of birth, mobile phone, email and residential address,” said Tom Lapcevic, the executive chairman for ROR Partners. “These data elements support identity resolution, record deduplication and the creation of unique identifiers for each consumer. Identity resolution facilitates legal compliance, improves the efficacy of third-party data enrichment and lays the foundation for a customer data platform.”

Lapcevic said the next step is to track relevant behaviors and events associated with resolved identities, such as changes to membership status, club check-ins, personal training sessions and utilization of club amenities. “If this data is well-structured and coherent, you are one step closer to implementing automated personalized marketing campaigns and supporting advanced analytics,” he said.

According to Lyle Gadin, the vice president of client strategy for MOTUS CI, data points are beneficial in marketing messaging because they give you context for the audience you’re targeting. Marketing isn’t just about creating content, but creating contextual content.

“For example, if you collect interest data, you can build an audience of prospects who all selected hiking as an interest, and then engage that audience with content around leg strengthening workouts to improve hiking performance,” said Gadin. “Or you can market your rehab programs to any prospect who indicated they had a previous injury on their sign-up form. It’s about using your data points to create content that resonates with your prospects.” 

Additionally, research indicates highly contextual, personalized messaging substantially outperforms general messaging. In fact, Lapcevic said prospects and members have come to expect meaningful engagements. “As prospects and members progress through their fitness journeys and more information is collected, it is highly beneficial to put your data to work through rapid testing and learning to determine how to best enhance the experiences of your consumers,” he said. “These learnings can be further applied through look-alike modeling across you marketing channels.”

Executing marketing campaigns from your data points does take work on the front end. Gadin said your club’s data collection has to be consistent and will need to be refreshed. A great way to keep data collection consistent is by ensuring you have the right tools and technology in place to help you succeed. 

Lapcevic said there are many outstanding platforms and applications for putting data to work. However, you should start with identifying your needs, creating a plan and then assessing which technologies are best for your needs, resources and timelines. 

Gadin agreed the right tool and technology to use depends on the club and how they want to operate. At the very least, he recommends using an Excel spreadsheet or Google Sheet.

“If you want to streamline the process, you can invest in CRM software like ABC Fitness Solutions, Datatrack, Club OS, GymSales, etc.,” said Gadin. “It’s incredible the amount of technology available to fitness owners and operators that wasn’t available even 10 years ago. What’s more, a lot of this tech is free. In Facebook, you have dashboards full of analytics on audience insights and engagement. There are free websites for keyword searches and scanning tools to look at your SEO rank. Google has an entire suite that is free.”

Ultimately, Gadin recommends clubs  do the homework when it comes to implementing a technology. “Speak with your colleagues in the industry to discover the tools they’re using and then test them,” he said. “Take advantage of free trials. What’s great about educating yourself on this technology is when you sit down with a marketing agency you can be participatory. You’re able to find the right solutions for your club.”

Overall, fitness clubs naturally have a lot of data  simply from their point-of-sale process. At a minimum, you should have access to a member’s name, date of birth, address and information on the add-on services each member purchased. From that data alone, operators can execute contextual marketing, geospatial analysis, service line cross-selling, and demographic analysis based on age and gender. 

While the amount of data your club already has at your disposal can be overwhelming, Gadin recommends four easy ways to improve your decision-making now.

“First, silo your personal training clients into an audience group and market a training recovery program to them,” said Gadin. “Second, use zip codes to identify geographic sales clusters. You can take that information to your marketing agency and say, ‘Hey we’re seeing 60% of new members are coming from this area of the city. How can we maximize our club footprint in that zip code?’ Third, gender demographics can inform club branding imagery. If your club is 70% female, you may want to rethink branding that exclusively features men. Finally, age demographics are useful in selecting fitness programming. Certain age groups tend to prefer specific workout styles and classes.” 

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Taylor Brown

Taylor Brown is the assistant editor for Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at taylor@peakemedia.com

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