LA Fitness switches focus from acquisition to retention

Gym chain LA Fitness is dialling up its social media activity to focus marketing more on retention than customer acquisition as it bids to take on bigger rivals Fitness First and Virgin Active.

  • Read Michael Barnett’s feature on how established gyms are ramping up their marketing campaigns to take on new low-cost rivals.

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LA Fitness is focusing a larger proportion of its marketing budget on digital and social media marketing campaigns in response to its research on the channels its customers use to engage with the brand and research health and fitness.

Marketing director Tony Orme says: “When you are membership-based social media lends itself well to CRM. We are very data rich and know all our customers by name, their goals, so we have a strong relationship with our members.”

He adds that retention is “just as important as acquisition”, which used to be the brand’s almost sole marketing focus as it used price-led promotions and exclusive offers to encourage people to the brand.

The first iteration of the gym’s ramped up social media activity is a new “humorous” YouTube video, created by iCrossing, featuring clips of people having slapstick accidents at the gym to highlight the brand’s “fun” personality.

Orme says: “Fun and humour is a core part of our brand proposition and having a funny aspect is different; you don’t see other brands communicating that in our market.”

It is hoped the video, which is the first of a series of campaigns, will drive brand value and a measurable return from digital audiences.

iCrossing is also helping the chain review its website to become more content driven for both prospective and current customers, with information on leading a healthy lifestyle and a more engaging customer service element.

Read Marketing Week’s in-depth look at the gym sector here

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