About five months ago, a gym was built in my friend’s building. There was a lot of excitement from the tenants because it provided an on-site area for people to work out. Promotional signs were posted and each tenant received a letter about this great new gym that had come to the building, offering a fee that was less than 65 percent of a typical monthly gym membership price. Just from those facts alone, it would seem that membership to this gym would just skyrocket, right? Well, unfortunately, quite the opposite happened. As of right now, there is less than a 15 percent tenant occupancy sign-up rate.
There are a couple of reasons the sign-up rate remained low:
- The gym is open from 7am to 8pm. While that might seem like a long period to be open, the hours are not beneficial for the majority of the tenants, who happen to be professionals who work from 9am to 6pm. If you incorporate their travel time to work, there is no opportunity for the tenants to get a decently-timed workout in.
- There are five workout machines, a weight machine, a dumbbell weight rack, and two balance balls, all in a room slightly bigger than an oversized living room. In terms of workout options, there is not much variety or quantity for those exercising. If you’re not a fan of an elliptical machine, exercise bike, or treadmill, then you will have no interest in any of the machines.
- There is one television in the room and no internet connection. In such a high-tech society, people have found a way to integrate technology into practically every area of their lives. For a person who is used to listening to music streaming via the internet while they work out, or having their own personalized television, this gym will not suit them as it missing these items.
Suffice to say, this gym has had a low membership rate since it opened and unless it makes some significant changes, the rate will stay low. The way the building originally tried to market the gym was that it was better than a gym membership from an Equinox or Crunch gym because it was more affordable and convenient. However, they didn’t keep in mind that the target market they were dealing with expected certain amenities that they were not offering. Therefore, they are truly not competing with their competitors—public gyms—because they are not offering benefits or features that attract their target audience.
This is why it’s important to ask yourself often if you’re truly competing with your competitors. You may offer a product or service that you think has great attributes to separate it from the pack, but if your target market doesn’t benefit from them, your offerings won’t be appealing. And ultimately, everyone will continue going to your competitor… just like everyone in the building decided to continue going to their original gym.
Nicole McGarrell founded Sunny Day Marketing to equip small businesses with the specific tools needed for long-term success, through customized, research-based marketing services and the sharing of informational business resources and content. She can be contacted on Twitter at @SunnyDayMktg or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.