The 2019 European Health & Fitness Forum (EHFF) takes place in Cologne on April 3rd, 2019 and Oxygen Consulting has contributed a chapter to a new book. Titled ‘Marketing and Sales in the Fitness Sector’, the book will help all industry stakeholders to more clearly understand where their business is positioned in a fast-evolving fitness ecosystem.
Previous books in this annual series include:
Oxygen Consulting’s chapter is titled: ‘Creating a compelling sense of place that connects with the consumer.’
What follows is an excerpt from Ray Algar’s chapter.
During the emergent phase of the fitness sector, the principal channel of distribution was the physical venue. The physical and tangible characteristic of the property was the primary means by which the business and the customer would connect and interact. Considerable financial resources, due diligence and senior management attention would be invested to ensure that clubs were located in neighbourhoods that tapped into an underserved need. The distribution channel was short and direct – from club to consumer – and the assumption was that the two sides would enter into an exclusive and hopefully long-term relationship. Although this may sometimes still remain possible, this chapter explores how the distribution of health and services and experiences is evolving.
Services are no longer inseparable
Historically, a key distinction between a physical product and an intangible service was a characteristic defined as ‘inseparability’. This meant that a service was normally produced and consumed at the same time because, unlike a physical product, it could not be stored for later use – in delivering the service experience, the provider and the consumer could not be ‘separated’ (treated by a chiropractor, for example). Many parts of the fitness sector have been constrained by this assumption, especially legacy providers, which are those organisations created before the turn of the millennium. However, a transformational moment was Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s invention of the World Wide Web in 1989. For the first time, the Web allowed the opportunity for service producers to deliver services over distance. This is now having a transformational effect on how people ‘consume’ health and fitness experiences. It allows a fitness entrepreneur, such as Jeff Cavaliere, to reach a global audience with virtually no physical infrastructure. Cavaliere served as the Head Physical Therapist and Assistant Strength Coach for the New York Mets baseball team before becoming a global online fitness influencer. He now uses his formidable exercise science knowledge and persuasive communication style to educate and inspire his 6.6 million YouTube subscribers (larger than the population of Denmark). His YouTube videos have been viewed just under one billion times (at December 2018). As a comparison, 24 Hour Fitness, which is one of American’s leading club chains, with more than 400 venues, has attracted 11,000 YouTube subscribers since 2009. Cavaliere’s content coupled with YouTube’s global distribution creates a formidable partnership which is helping to unlock new demand for fitness services.
Read the full text here.