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Every gym can personalise the member experience. Here’s how.
February 18, 2021 •

Personalisation challenges

In a world where personalisation is a key agenda point for every consumer-facing business, gyms have a problem: when it comes to their product, they are currently capable of little customisation, instead relying on brand messaging and aspirational imagery to differentiate and connect to people’s goals. 

This in the face of myriad digital solutions that deliver against the wellness agenda in a specific, measurable, personalised way. 

Even where operators are capturing data – including insight into customers’ goals and requirements – it tends to be limited in scope and rarely used for the purpose of product personalisation. Rather, it is predominantly focused on gyms’ own operational needs, with little consideration for the other variables that encompass fitness and wellness. 

Personal interaction in a gym environment is, currently, mostly found in the delivery of additional services such as personal training – and even here, it all too often falls short. 

Impersonal training

Let’s paint a realistic picture of the typical personal training experience right now. 

Every week, I attend to be guided and motivated towards the achievement of my goals. The expectation is that my trainer is aware of these goals, and that (s)he tailors sessions appropriately. But even if we suggest that is the case – and ask yourself honestly how often the intensity of each session actually varies – it only represents a small part of the overall story.

I attend these weekly sessions in a variety of conditions: I may arrive on a Monday following a very physical weekend, or I may arrive on a Friday having had a stressful week of work, with limited sleep. 

To benefit my body and mind and move me towards my outcomes, the session needs to account for this. Not doing so will be detrimental and most likely move me away from my goal. 

Conversely, imagine the positive impact on trust and credibility if, on my arrival, my trainer were to congratulate me on an active week and outline a session for that day that focused on recovery. Even better if that were all followed, at the end, by some guidance on what to do away from the gym before our next appointment, as well as encouraging me to get some sleep.

A digital ‘day in the life’

It certainly won’t be long before the current (im)personal training scenario is ousted by consumers and replaced with a digital alternative. Consider this (very feasible) day in the life of a digital wellness consumer, which illustrates the power of personalisation.

On waking, my app congratulates me on meeting my sleep requirements following an active previous day. It prompts me to hydrate and suggests I start my meditation routine by selecting which programme I wish to use from its library.

My recovery score lets me know what level of exertion I should attempt today, including my non-gym activity. It is noted that I’m on a 16:8 intermittent fasting protocol and, through its integration with my Lumen tool, my app suggests optimal nutritional macros for the day, at the same time setting a notification to alert me when my intermittent fast is completed. 

With access to my schedule and a knowledge of my optimal workout requirements today, I’m given a recommendation to train between 2.30pm and 4.30pm. My location suggests I’m currently on a business trip, so options are presented to me using my ClassPass membership. Three providers are identified within 400m of my expected location at that time, with the selected sessions appropriate for my target exertion level. One click and I’m booked in. 

On completion of my workout, I’m prompted to take on appropriate hydration and a suggested post-workout snack, all in line with the knowledge that I will be having my evening meal at 7.00pm to meet my fasting deadline. It is also suggested that I be in bed by 10.00pm, to meet my recovery requirements from today. 

I’m presented with an overview of my activity for the day, my behaviours, and how all of this has combined to impact my progress. A summary of tomorrow’s plan is presented, along with a progress update on my month to date. As bedtime approaches, I’m presented with a suitable soundtrack to assist my sleep.

Draw the spokes together

As a gym operator, you may be daunted by the prospect of creating and delivering such a 360°, 24/7, 365 journey. But in fact, you don’t have to. Rather, you should determine and zero in on the part(s) of the journey you can and should control – read more here

Importantly, though, this should not hold you back from acting as a ‘hub’ to add value across the full ecosystem: educating members on the importance and impact of other spokes in the wellness wheel, analysing and interpreting data from across the ecosystem, offering tailored advice and content, supplementing with trainer-led reviews and progress benchmarking… 

All of a sudden, you own the ability to influence someone’s (ecosystem-wide) outcomes through the delivery of comprehensive guidance and measurement, with a high degree of personalisation. All of a sudden, your gym becomes a critical part of that person’s life. 

Wheels, and whether to reinvent them

One key consideration in establishing this ‘hub’ status is to determine where you stand alone and where dovetailing and integrating with others’ content will allow you to better play your part in the overall ecosystem.

When building a technology proposition for delivery through somebody else’s ecosystem – such as Apple’s – you must do so with the intention firstly to leverage their infrastructure to reduce customer friction, and secondly to take advantage of the expectation an Apple product brings. Take the time to understand what that means to design and delivery.

When designing your own parts of the ecosystem, do so with the customer experience at the centre of your thinking. What is the overall experience you’re looking to deliver to the member? What part of their life are you looking to improve, and how will their experience of interacting with your product – whether bricks and mortar or digital – deliver that? 

In doing so, you will increase the depth of relationship and be able to expand it, whether in the shape of extended services or simply longer-term relationships.

Learn more about personalisation in our white paper

For more insight into how gyms can survive and thrive in the fitness future, download our FREE white paper: The Fitness Future: Rules of Engagement.

download-your-free-copy-the-fitness-future-rules-of-engagement

Six essential rules for operators in new white paper, The Fitness Future: Rules of Engagement
February 1, 2021 •

The Fitness Future: Rules of Engagement

Keepme founder Ian Mullane has released his new white paper, The Fitness Future: Rules of Engagement, available now for free download. In the paper, Mullane breaks down the overarching trends that are reshaping the way modern consumers approach health and fitness, along with six essential rules that operators must abide by to not only survive, but thrive, in the fitness future. 

With the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly accelerating the digitisation of fitness, along with the advent of paradigm-shifting technologies like 5G, fitness operators must re-evaluate their role in their members’ daily health and fitness routines. But this is easier said than done. Doing so requires a full understanding of the underlying trends, and an acknowledgement that operators must lean into – not fight – the flow of technology and advancement. In The Fitness Future: Rules of Engagement, Mullane lays these truths bare and shares clear, actionable guidelines that operators can begin to implement immediately.

While it is tempting to believe that the industry will soon return to “normal”, it is the operators who act now who stand to flourish in the fitness future. And though the solutions may seem futuristic on the surface, everything outlined in the paper is, in fact, available today to those who choose to act.

The Fitness Future: Rules of Engagement, is now available for free download via Keepme. Follow this link to claim your free copy. 

Reviews for the white paper

Herman Rutger
Co-founder & ambassador, EuropeActive

“I recommend all operators take note of the six rules outlined in this thought-provoking, insightful document. The concept of customer-centricity is music to my ears, and I welcome the call to embrace the changes taking place within our sector from an ecosystem point of view, rather than hybrid. The future isn’t two-dimensional. It’s multi-dimensional.”

Humphrey Cobbold
CEO, PureGym

“This white paper includes some very important thoughts and ideas that should challenge us all. As such, it makes a valuable contribution to the debate around our sector’s evolution and will, I hope, stimulate progressive discussion.

“The reader might not agree with every example being highlighted, nor every implication drawn out. I myself do not. But let’s be clear, that is the specific intention of author Ian Mullane: to provoke a response, challenging the status quo in a way that almost forces the reader to engage in the conversation.”

Emma Barry
Global Fitness Authority & Chief Creative Soul at Good Soul Hunting

“Ian Mullane is a provocateur who opens the kilt on the future of digital. With online platforms, connected fitness and at-home solutions in triple-digit growth, The Fitness Future: Rules of Engagement is an industry call-to-arms. The future is here, and we are behind.

“We are schooled in scenarios that exist today and adjacent industry examples we should heed. This white paper implores us to find and defend our place in the wellness ecosystem, automate processes inadequately fulfilled now, and consider the plunge into the holy grail of business acceleration: artificial intelligence. So, lean in, apply the six rules, defend your ‘club is hub’ and unleash the latent data in your business.

“Your future depends on it.” 

Carrie Kepple
Co-founder, Styles Studios Fitness & chair, IHRSA

“Ian’s insights into our industry’s new landscape – an ecosystem in which clubs must be OK with not owning the entire wellness journey – are both thought-provoking and full of truth. We have to find a way to be part of people’s ecosystems, focusing on experiences rather than the technology that drives those experiences. We also have to know when to walk away from technologies that create friction and don’t belong in our own ecosystems. Experience is king.”

Colin Grant
CEO, The PURE Group

“A thought-provoking projection into the future of fitness, with some reality checks and great consumer-centric insights. The well-crafted points around building ecosystems rather than hybrids, and helping customers curate their journeys around data, are critical. These are the call to arms for our industry’s future, and highlight how bright that future can be if we get it right. Ian nailed it!”

Justin Tamsett
Chair, REX Roundtables

“This white paper poses and answers all the questions you’ve been pondering subconsciously, but never been game to ask out loud.  
 
“The way Ian unpacks the industry into six well-illustrated rules makes the journey simple to follow, but the reality he presents will make you squirm if you are set in your ways. Nevertheless, if you want to explore new ways of doing business – indeed, if you want to stay in business – this is a must-read. Open your mind, allow yourself to think differently and begin shaping a business that’s built for the consumer.”

Bryan O’Rourke
CEO, FITC & Vedere Ventures

“Ian does a great job of addressing the huge risks and opportunities that lie ahead for gym brands. Fitness facilities are simply not the sole guardians of consumer fitness any longer: the consumer is the centre, and ecosystems will be the delivery mechanisms now and into the future. I would heed his warnings and embrace his advice.”

About the author

Ian Mullane is the founder and CEO of Keepme, a business dedicated to increasing operator revenue through AI-powered insights and tools. With a career that has seen him work with some of the biggest players in FinTech including as Chief Operating Office at Sungard, Ian was also the owner/operator of the fitness business Vanda in Singapore for more than a decade. An economist by training, Ian also holds a Masters in marketing.

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