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11 steps to successfully implement AI in your gym
July 22, 2021 •

So, you’re interested in the notion of an AI gym. You’ve heard a lot about the power of AI – how it can increase gym membership sales, shape your gym referral program, refine your fitness marketing strategies, increase gym revenue, and far more besides.

The thing is, you’re not sure where to start.

We get it. The idea of an AI gym is exciting, but it feels somehow futuristic.

The good news is that it’s actually very much of the here and now, with gyms around the world already implementing AI and seeing exceptional results.

And it all starts with the data that already exists in your business, if you know where to look.

This data will be the fuel for the insights, innovations and results that stem from AI, and you want to be harnessing as much of it as you possibly can. Believe us, there will be no business wishing it had less data in the coming years.

With that in mind, if you want to turn your gym into an AI gym, your first steps – and the first six steps in this blog – must focus on your data practices, ensuring you’re capturing the data that’s required to power AI.

Step #1: Conduct a comprehensive data audit

Asset evaluation is a great place to start, with an excellent exercise being to look at every area of your business – every system you use – to map where data is captured.

You might call it a data audit (we call it an asset audit due to our understanding of what can be done with it!), but list the data capture points in two columns: the online and offline.

Be comprehensive, as you won’t want to find out in 12 months’ time that you missed one of importance. Look at the tools used across the business – not just proactive collection such as membership applications and PT bookings, but also passive data sets such as entry systems.

For the offline, review what becomes digital, noting whether every item does indeed make the jump and what, if any, captured information gets left behind. Note any islands of offline data that are not digitised, so you can be aware of them later for evaluation of their value and relevance.

Finally, consider any automatic data collection carried out by gym software such as entry systems; often, these sources are missed as they do not have human involvement.

Read more about the valuable data that already exists in your business here.

Step #2: Ensure your gym reporting software catches everything

Give each data source a condition value: a score of 0-10, with 0 being ‘currently a mess’ and 10 being complete and perfect. Your focus here should be on the manual entry systems, as it will be the human element that lets you down.

However, even for automated systems, check what data capture level you’ve chosen. Have you set it at a default level, by which you’re only capturing the data you need right now? If so, is there an option to expand this?

A good policy is simply to collect everything, even if you don’t have any current defined requirement for all of it right now, just so you don’t later regret any omissions. After all, you never know what could be of value in the future; imagine finding out, a few years from now, that some incredible insight is possible courtesy of a new tool – but not to you, because you chose not to collect the relevant data. If there’s no additional cost associated with doing so, turn it all on!

Step #3: Fill the gaps in your data sources

Any data sources scoring below 7/10 should be identified, and a plan put in place to both rectify the historical gaps and educate on what’s required going forward.

There may be a lot of work here, but there are freelancers on sites such as Elance who have the skills to fix data issues such as these, and who are often able to supplement with expanded data too.

Step #4: Connect the islands within your gym CRM software

Ask yourself: Can automation play a role? Do you currently require fields to be filled manually where this could actually be done automatically?

For example, does the personal training sign-up form include gender or age, when this data is already held on the member record or other element of your gym CRM software?

In all likelihood, once you stop seeing your different data sources as isolated islands, you’ll realise much of the data you need to fill the gaps you’ve identified already exists in the business.

Step #5: Put someone in charge…

Establish responsibility. What gets measured gets managed, as they say, and this is no different. You would certainly have someone looking after the cash in the business; data should be no different.

A Chief Data Officer maybe a little too grand a title (though 25 per cent of Fortune 500 companies now have them), but you want someone who can own the business data performance, monitor your gym reporting software and report on data conditions.

In some businesses, the owner/principal would be best, at least until culturally it becomes an accepted behaviour. The senior marketer is also a good choice, as they are usually the current beneficiary of good data practices and will have cause to access most of the data sources within the business.

Step #6: … but also ensure everyone takes ownership

Implement a data policy. Do not get this confused with GDPR or customer confidentiality, though you can undoubtedly integrate these if you wish. Your data policy should describe the importance placed on data within the business, explain how diligent you expect staff members to be, and encourage them to report any data-related issues. 

Everyone in the organisation needs to understand the value of what’s being collected, and their role in ensuring it’s done correctly.

In our experience, the best way to do this is to make clear the benefit to the business of them doing so, rather than focusing on rules or reminding them that it’s part of their job. They probably all know they should be doing it, but it’s the difference in diligence around it that will determine whether or not you’re working with quality data in the future.

Step #7: Determine why you want to become an AI gym

Now you have your data in check, you’re getting close to the point of pressing ‘go’ on your plans to become an AI gym.

Before you dive straight in, though, there are some important questions to ask.

The first is: Do you have a problem to solve?

We see too many examples of AI solutions being asked to look for a problem. Likewise, we see operators enamoured of a concept (by which we mean the buzz around artificial intelligence) without ever being likely to see value from its implementation.

As we’ve discussed already, there are plenty of areas of potential, but you need to ask yourself some important questions before you take the leap, namely: “If I had this insight/value/prediction, would it be valuable?”

Step #8: Dedicate time to the project

Next ask yourself: Do you have the time for implementation?

The results from properly applied data + AI projects can be exceptional, but the initial pay-offs over the first six months are marginal. It’s normally 12 months before we see the true justification.

To get to that point, there must be a willingness not only to dedicate the time to implement the platform, but to then engage with it – and potentially change many of your workflows once armed with the new insight.

During the early days of Keepme, we found that after delivering a Keepme Score on every member – effectively giving our customers a window into who would leave and who would stay – fewer than 20 per cent would do anything with it.

Let’s consider that for a moment. These operators could now see, often with a runway of more than nine months, which of their members would not be with them when it came to renewal if they did not take action. Yet 80 per cent chose to do nothing with that information.

With retention a hot topic for every operator in the sector, we were perplexed, so we reached out to find out why. What became clear was that the insight didn’t fit their process. Meaning, being told that Member A would be gone in six months if they didn’t take action was valuable, but they didn’t have a workflow to do anything about it.

Step #9: Make a plan of action

So the next step, of course: What are you going to do with your results? How will you use the insights from your AI to increase gym revenue?

You may feel this is a simple question, but with the above scenario in mind, it’s clear the answer to the question ‘what are you going to do with your results?’ isn’t always obvious – not even once equipped with a valuable prediction.

The answer must be this: You must have (or if you don’t, then put) a process/workflow in place to take advantage of your new insights.

  • If I know I’m going to miss gym sales targets in three months because of poor performance in my social media campaigns or other gym marketing channel, what can I do to remedy that?
  • If I know which of the members who joined in the last three months have the highest probability of leaving, what will I do to change the likely outcome?

An AI implementation will give you access to a whole new level of transparency, but to gain value, you need to be very clear about what action will be taken as a result of it.

Put another way, the value is never in the insight. The value lies in the action that’s taken as a result of the insight.

And that value can be significant. Find out just how significant in our recent blog, How AI can increase gym membership sales at your club.

Step #10: Identify opportunities for gym automation

In the first white paper by our CEO Ian Mullane – The Fitness Future: Rules of Engagement – Ian mentions the power of AI and automation. He is clear in his view that processes fail mainly because they have a human element within them.

With this in mind, the next step in preparing for AI implementation is to ask yourself: Will I add automation, not just in the data collection (step #4) but in the use of that data?

“My advice,” confirms Ian, “is that AI + automation is where the real results are.”

When you decide to deploy AI, you’ll need to first understand what insights you’ll receive, then work out what actions you want to be taken with those insights.

Then pause and consider this: Can (any of) these be automatically actioned, rather than requiring a team member to be engaged?

This can be as simple as automatically generating a call list – all members who have become at risk in the last seven days, for example – and sending it to Member Services, who then call those members as part of your gym member retention program.

At the next level, it can be the automatic serving of digital engagements that present customised offers to those members most likely to purchase them.

We’ve seen these and many more implemented by fitness operators, as well as across other services industries.

Step #11: Find the right partner

If you have a strong technology department stacked with Python developers and data scientists, then availing yourselves of some of the Open Source AI tools available – such as TensorFlow from Google – will get you started.

For the 99.9 per cent of operators who don’t, the last big question before you take the leap into becoming an AI gym is: Who will you work with?

Before you go rushing off to find yourself a data scientist, may we suggest that you first take a look at what’s already available for the sector. The best solution will always be your data fed into fitness operator-specific applications.

This doesn’t mean you’ll end up with some cookie-cutter model similar to everyone else, as your data will drive the results. However, using a platform that’s designed for the sector will ensure the downstream effects – i.e. the value that flows from the model – will be relevant and usable in your current environment.

Right now, that means Keepme – the first to provide these services to the fitness industry in an AI platform that’s specifically designed for gyms. We’d be delighted to have a conversation with you to explore how you could become an AI gym.

To read more about implementing AI in your gym business, download our fantastic new white paper – Everything You Need to Know About Data & AI – for free, here.

increase gym membership sales

How AI can increase gym membership sales at your club
June 24, 2021 •

One of the questions we’re often asked, when beginning a conversation with an operator who’s new to artificial intelligence, is: where could AI add value to my business? How can it increase gym membership sales at my club, improve member retention, drive yield and boost my bottom line?

The simple answer to the question of ‘where’ is ‘everywhere’ – but before we elaborate on that, it might be useful to explain a little more about what AI is.

Predict the future with AI

AI is now everywhere, from suggesting what we might listen to (Spotify) and watch (Netflix), to providing navigation guidance (Waze) and diagnosing medical problems (Health Tensor) among thousands of other things. 

For the fitness sector specifically, the easiest way to think of AI is as a prediction machine, taking what we do have (data) and filling in the gaps we don’t (i.e. knowledge).

  • Will the member leave us?
  • Will they be interested in this offer?
  • Will this change to the schedule affect attendance?
  • What will my sales performance be three months from now?

How it gets there may be a little bit more involved, but think of it as a prediction machine and you won’t go far wrong.

  • Based on what they’ve listened to, I predict they will like…
  • Based on what they’ve watched, I predict they will like…
  • Based on my understanding of the road system and the reported traffic conditions, I predict an ETA of…
  • Based on the symptoms, I predict the condition is…

Look forward, not back

So now let’s come back to the question: ‘Where could AI add value to my business?’ – and let’s address it by painting a picture that will equip you to easily answer the question yourself. 

Take a look at the business metrics you currently work with, the vast majority of which will be looking at what’s happened in the past. Now ask yourself: “What could I do with this insight if it were predicting forward?” 

Feel free to take inspiration from just a handful of the ways we’ve already seen AI applied within fitness operations. How valuable would it be if you knew…

  • What your member retention would be for the coming six months?
  • Which specific members would leave you in six months’ time?
  • What your gym sales would be for the coming quarter?
  • If you’d increase gym membership sales enough to hit your sales goal for the year?
  • What your membership would be at the end of the year?
  • Which sales channels would decrease in performance over the next quarter?
  • Which members were most likely to purchase PT, and at what package level?
  • What impact on member retention a class schedule change would have?
  • What the optimal class schedule would be for member retention?
  • Which classes drive the highest member retention?
  • Which members were most likely to take part in a gym referral program and/or provide a review?
  • Who your optimal member is, so you could ask your AI to create a custom audience for your social ads, ensuring maximum impact of your gym marketing campaigns?

And, of course, the above are just a few examples; there are many, many more questions you could ask of your prediction machine. 

Make decisions with confidence

It’s clear that, armed with the above insights, a business would be able to take consistent, positive action to extract the value from those insights. For example…

  • If you knew a member was going to leave you six months prior to the end of their contract, what value would that have? What changes might you implement in your gym member retention strategies or your gym loyalty program?
  • What would you do differently in your gym sales tactics if you knew which lead would convert to membership and which would not? 
  • If you could predict with 90 per cent accuracy what your gym sales figures would be for the next six months, what could you do with that knowledge?
  • If you could send a commercial offer to a member, knowing it was highly likely to be of interest, what impact would that have on your bottom line?
  • If you knew which of your members to ask for referrals or testimonials, and be confident they would provide them, how would you use this to improve member acquisition and increase gym membership sales?

By asking yourself these questions, you’ll immediately appreciate how AI allows you to make business decisions with a far higher level of confidence, increasing transparency around business performance and reducing the guesswork in likely outcomes.

Results that speak for themselves

The good news is, if you’re currently reviewing historical performance metrics, the data needed for an AI prediction most likely exists in your business. And the results can be transformational. 

For examples of these results, really you have to look to our business – Keepme – as it’s the first to provide these services to the fitness industry. 

At two years old, with much of this time of course shaped by COVID-19 lockdown, we are only now starting to get customer report results. However, there have already been some extraordinary improvements reported by customers from around the world. These include:

  • A one-year average increase in length of membership – a huge boost to retention that’s resulted in a significantly improved member Lifetime Value (LTV). 
  • An 8 per cent increase in gym sales lead conversion in the space of just three weeks.
  • A 35 per cent increase in non-dues spend.
  • A 21 per cent rise in referrals (in hard terms, four in five members are now referring new members) leading to increased gym membership sales, lower member acquisition costs, and higher LTV. 
  • Plus a lot of little wins that make a difference: email open rates improving from 52 to 86 per cent, for example. 

Put all this together and you’ll appreciate it’s not just the value of the solo prediction. It’s the impact the combined predictions have on subsequent actions, outcomes, and future predictions. 

With every action taken, your AI can see the outcome of that action, so it continues to learn. Its predictions get better and better – more accurate, more insightful, more valuable. And in turn, your efforts to increase gym membership sales – among many other things – become more and more effective.

For practical examples of AI application in a gym operation, read here

Download our latest white paper – Everything You Need to Know About Data & AI – here.

gym marketing

Uncover the hidden value in your gym’s marketing data
June 10, 2021 •

The world, and the fitness industry within it, is data-rich. From gym CRM software to website analytics, loyalty programs to social media, gym marketing campaigns to exercisers’ own wearables – and far more besides – we already have enormous quantities of data in our businesses. And that volume doubles every 18 months.

It’s important to note, however, that not all data is equal. Not all data has the same power to transform your business. 

Let’s take a look at what data actually is, where you’re likely to find it in your business, in what state it must be to be useful, where the most valuable insights potentially lie, and how we get at them.

What counts as data?

The first thing to note is, data isn’t always digital. It isn’t just about the information stored in your gym software – your CRM or club management system, for example. Data can also be offline; indeed, in many fitness operations, certain data only exists in paper form.

It might be member contracts, PT evaluations, liability waiver forms… and sometimes it’s OK to stay in paper format. Waiver forms, for example, which are statutory but which hold little value beyond their immediate purpose.

In many cases, however, rich data is being captured – in gym sales processes, PT interactions and gym marketing conversations, for example – but not making it out of the staff member’s notepad. This is a missed opportunity, as it could be transformational in the delivery of member experience.

Let’s take a look at some of the different types of data that exist within your business.

Structured data

Structured data includes things like spreadsheet files and SQL databases, which is the data model most often used in gym CRM software such as your club management system. 

With SQL, each data item fits into columns and rows so it can be easily sorted and searched. By allowing every field to be accessed separately or together, this data model provides a powerful platform to quickly bring together information from various locations for analysis.

Examples of structured data include your CMS, access control, website visitor analytics, class bookings, fee payment, exercise equipment, member wearables data and membership sign-up.

Structured data is where we find the most value at present. It is here the tools most organisations currently use are applied to build business intelligence, gain actionable insights and produce results within fitness operations. 

Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of those tools – that invisible presence that facilitates our everyday life, from giving us a drive time and ETA at our destination, to recommending an artist we might like on Spotify. It also has huge application in gym businesses, from boosting gym sales to enhancing fitness marketing to improving member retention – as you can read here.

Unstructured data

Unstructured data is data that does not have a recognisable structure, and it accounts for more than 80 per cent of the data in any organisation. It also grows at 55-65 per cent a year.

As such, it cannot be ignored. Indeed, it is when we add structured and unstructured data together that we get to that hallowed entity: Big Data. 

Examples of unstructured data abound in the area of gym marketing – social media, email comms (where the body text follows no set format), internet reviews, customer surveys, webchat and so on – as well as things like CCTV, phone call recordings and member assessment/induction forms.

Excitingly, it is in the area of unstructured data that we’ve seen vast leaps forward over the past decade, allowing us to gain far more value from the data in our businesses. 

Specifically, AI algorithms – when left to their own devices to investigate and present interesting findings – can extract value from these piles of unstructured data, finding patterns even an expert human might never have predicted. In turn, this powers a treasure trove of new insights around customer behaviours and predicted behaviour. 

This functionality hasn’t yet been applied in the fitness sector, but it’s something we’re already exploring at Keepme. Ideal customer profiles are one opportunity, whereby our AI tools could take existing data, cluster customers around every variable and develop brand new target segments for our gym marketing campaigns.

In-between data

In between structured and unstructured data lies, perhaps unsurprisingly, semi-structured data, with one great example being customer surveys such as the Net Promoter Score©

The structured element comes from the primary purpose of the survey, which often involves ‘on a scale of 1–10’ type questions. This score forms the majority of the analysis and is generally the one followed by business leadership. 

However, we believe there’s more value to be extracted from the unstructured aspect – that is, when you ask the customer: “Why did you give us that score?” 

The customer’s resulting free-form text is gold, providing context, detail and often insights that you’d never get from the 1–10 score alone. Yet many gyms miss out on this as they lack the manpower to wade through all the responses. This is where AI comes in. 

With AI, every comment that comes back to you is passed through language sentiment analysis. Regardless of what language is used (including Emoji which, go figure, is viewed as a language in itself), each comment is assessed and given a positive, negative or neutral score. 

A human could do that, you say? They could, given time. But even if we ignore the fact that every person comes with a built-in bias around what they want to see, or how they feel on the day of the task, how would they deal with the following?

“Great staff, great location, but the changing rooms require restoration.”

Overall a positive? Does the negative mean it’s neutral? 

In fact, it needs to be broken down, with the comment scored across three distinct areas: staff, location, and changing rooms. AI can do this, allowing you to then look up core aspects of the business, see how they’re perceived by members, and understand the overall sentiment of the feedback for that specific area of the business. 

When you also apply age and gender filters, you can then paint a picture of what’s important to each group, how they perceive certain factors in the business, and how they describe them. 

Courtesy of AI, the simple customer survey becomes a turbo-charged gym marketing tool that doesn’t just give you a headline score on how you’re doing with customers. It also shows where you’re powerful and where not so strong, along with additional pointers on which parts of the business to emphasise to which target audiences – whether that’s in your gym member retention programs or your gym sales campaigns.

Data gifts from members

Utopia for a fitness operator is when you can gain an insight into the member’s activities away from the club. There’s a world of difference between a member who’s stopped coming because they’ve decided the gym isn’t for them, versus a member who’s taking advantage of the good weather to do runs or bike rides in the park – a difference you need to understand to create relevant gym member retention strategies.

Then there are the (retention-boosting) personalisation opportunities that come up for grabs when – just as an example – you know a member’s current fitness level or average cardiovascular load. 

The good news is that this valuable data is already being collected. The challenge is that our members are managing it. Without them sharing it, we’re missing out on possibly the most useful data of all. 

Apple Health, Google Fit, Apple Watch, Whoop, Myzone… all of these are sources of member data. These tools are increasingly not just for on-site use, but also worn 24/7 to help guide and inform their user on their current condition. This is incredibly rich data that could power everything from retention algorithms to recommendation engines, providing hyper-personalised engagements for your customers. 

Now is the time to start understanding who’s using what, and why they choose to use it. 

Public data

The quantity of public data available varies from country to country, and its usage even more so. However, where permitted, the integration of public data with the data within your business can produce a rich seam of value. 

The US is a market that’s awash with public data, and little control around how that data can be used. From salaries to purchases, political affiliations to hobbies, all of this and more is available and used daily by marketing automation and ad platforms. 

An excellent example from a fitness perspective is a service we’ve witnessed that powers member lead generation. Merging public data with your ideal member profile, they can ‘find’ ideal potential members for you to target with your gym marketing.  

What if my data is imperfect? 

So, you’ve now identified your data sources and you’re considering bringing in AI to unlock the latent potential in that data. 

One of the most common questions we hear when businesses look to work with their data is: what if my data is imperfect? Our answer is always the same: imperfect for what? 

With almost every data project, it’s inevitable that the data will not be optimal unless it was collected specifically for the purpose or project you’re now trying to implement. In the future, that sort of specificity may become possible, even the norm, across the board. For now, however, we’re taking what we have and applying the new tools and methodologies to the data – and regardless of data condition, it results in giant leaps forward. 

That’s because – with the advent of AI, Business Intelligence (BI) and Big Data – it’s now entirely possible to improve the datasets that already exist within companies. Here’s an example of a recent piece of work we were involved in.

Pre-data cleanse

Data duration: 3 years

Member records: 12,659

Complete Records: 0

Duplicate Records: 2,187

Membership Types: 63

Post-data cleanse

Data duration: 3 years

Member records: 11,201

Complete Records: 11,019

Duplicate Records: 0

Membership Types: 7

Quality over quantity

You’ll note this example was based on three years, and this is another question we’re often asked: how much data is needed? 

It depends on the outcome you’re looking to deliver, of course, but our advice is this: it’s better to have 12 months of comprehensive, clean-ish data than three years of rubbish. Interpolation can be achieved from a small clean data set to make up for lack of duration. 

Advances in methodologies have helped here, driving a decrease in the quantity of data required. For example, in 2019, Keepme needed three years of member data to provide the Keepme Member Retention Score. By January 2021, only one year was required.

Find your unique identifiers

An important point to note is this: however complete your data, if you cannot link that data to the individual member (or, indeed, prospect) through a unique identifier such as a membership number, it’s unlikely to be of any use. 

Those customer feedback screens that allow you to choose the face and rate the service are a good example. They may be great at giving you a high-level customer service view, but the data is pretty useless beyond that. 

However, don’t overthink this. A unique identifier can be flexible. Let’s say you’ve been using Mailchimp for all your gym marketing email campaigns. This is potentially valuable data, and the actions of the recipient (did they open, click, share, unsubscribe etc) can be linked through the email address. Mobile phone numbers are also used, along with home addresses – though the latter less so because of multi-residency. 

You already have the data you need

One final word of encouragement: your data capture may not always have been purposeful or intentional, done mainly through necessity and not always comprehensively. However, we can confidently say the data already exists in your business to improve and refine your offering in a multitude of ways.

Indeed, from our conversations with more than 100 club operators around the world in the last 18 months, without exception the data they needed to transform their businesses was already there – from personalisation of the member journey to improved gym sales, increased secondary revenues to better targeted products, services and gym marketing ideas. 

You just need to know where to look. This blog should have provided some insight, but of course, we’re on-hand to help you take a deeper dive. Because ultimately, if you’re working with an external supplier, it is their responsibility to determine whether you have the data needed to complete the project.

You’re signing up for the delivery of business value that’s powered by your data. Your responsibility is to provide the data (and some $ for the service); their responsibility is to provide the value. We’re here to take on that responsibility, digging deep into your data to uncover insights that can transform your business.

Learn more about the invaluable data that exists in your business. Register for a free copy of our white paper – Everything You Need to Know About Data & AI – here.

personalisation

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.

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