The fitness industry is invariably competitive, due in large part to the fact that many people aren't crazy about working out, meaning the benefits must be well-stated and obvious.
With these obstacles in mind, fitness studios have to employ extremely creative and memorable marketing tactics.
Here are some trends that have recently gained momentum.
1. Lifestyle-based campaigns.
Instead of focusing on the offerings provided by specific gyms, fitness brands are increasingly connecting well-being with lifestyles.
Equinox won praise for its boundary-pushing "Commit to Something" campaign. It used lifestyle imagery to raise awareness and start conversations by showcasing content featuring a woman's mastectomy scars, as well as a wealthy female entrepreneur managing a greenhouse full of cannabis plants.
There's also TechnoGym's "Let's Move for a Better World" campaign, which emphasizes how adults who stay physically active not only enjoy a better quality of life but also could encourage future generations to avoid obesity by being good examples for young people.
Of course, for these kinds of campaigns to work, marketers have to determine the aspirations, pain points, and hopes of the target demographic. Luckily, that kind of detailed audience analysis can ensure that campaigns don't fall short of the mark or otherwise fail to resonate.
Orangetheory even used AI to learn more about its target market, ultimately saving money on lead generation and uncovering unexpected demographic trends.
2. Streaming content.
When life gets busy, workouts can often fall by the wayside. That's especially true if people have to drive substantial distances to reach their local gyms or need to find childcare before going for workouts.
As a way to fill the void, some fitness studios now offer the option to stream workouts from home. Physique 57 is one studio doing this, offering on-demand workouts you can stream anywhere. Whether users want beach-ready bodies or stronger cores, these programs have them covered.
Similarly, gyms can now offer live-streamed classes led by celebrity instructors. Then, if people want to get trustworthy advice about how to get fit but can't afford to travel to those in-demand gyms, they don't need to leave home. Subscription fees provide an additional income stream for gyms, too.
3. Podcast marketing.
If there's a consistent characteristic about most people who work out, it's that they usually like something to listen to while breaking a sweat.
Music with a steady, fast bass beat is an obvious choice, but podcasts provide listening pleasure, too. Statistics indicate that approximately 40 percent of exercisers listen to podcasts.
Moreover, 38 percent of fitness lovers reported listening to podcasts on mobile devices in the past month. That's ten percent more than members of the general population concerning mobile-streamed podcasts.
Reaching out to fitness fans through podcasting makes sense because of the versatility offered. A nationally known gym could run ads on a podcast to draw attention to limited-time-only deals.
However, a local fitness studio could take a geographically specific approach and publish podcasts that appeal to members of the community.
4. Ultra-inclusive campaigns.
A survey released at the beginning of 2018 polled nearly 2,000 Americans and found 49 percent felt intimidated by even thinking about going to the gym.
Additionally, 56 percent admitted feeling worried about not looking as fit as everyone else there, and 46 percent were concerned about the potential for judgment.
Perhaps that's one of the reasons why people are so compelled to try the streaming workouts mentioned earlier. The tremendously toned -- and likely Photoshopped -- models used for gym advertising campaigns don't help, though.
That's why the "Every Body Happy" campaign used by Blink Fitness stood out for recruiting a group of its members, with bodies of all shapes and sizes, to star in the 2017 campaign. The body-positive messaging capitalized on self-confidence and how going to the gym makes people feel better than they otherwise might.
PureGym used ordinary people in a campaign that ran during the most recent holiday season and reportedly planned to revisit the advertising strategy afterward, too.
The aim was to show everyday individuals using low-tech gym equipment to get fit and make physical activity an ongoing part of their lives.
When the target audience can relate to the people they see in fitness advertisements, they're more likely to realize they can prioritize their bodies even if they haven't set foot in a gym for years.
If some forward-thinking brands combine these inclusive campaigns with the lifestyle efforts profiled above, the results could be particularly impressive.
Fitness marketing isn't straightforward. But these techniques hit home because they take a real-life approach to connecting with consumers.
If the audience feels fitness is overwhelming, they won't be interested in it.
These trends make getting in shape more accessible.