With over 150 gyms using his member subscription software, Jack Malin, the founder and MD of membr.com, has some strong views on how the market is embracing marketing technology and where major improvements still need to be made.
Jack founded his company in 2010 and now manages business operations across the UK, US and South African offices. The Fitness Network met with Jack to find out where he sees the market heading next.
How well do you think the gym sector has embraced digital media in their sales and marketing?
“The whole market is just so much better educated in digital now. A year ago, for example, we would rarely discuss Google Analytics with clients, but now every week we’re discussing tracking codes in the subscription process. Gyms are just generally far more clued up.
The whole sector has really been driven by the budget end of the market. They have been by far the quickest to embrace technological opportunities as they seek to create a completely automated experience, from keypad entry systems and virtual sign up processes. Meanwhile the rest of the market has clung on to the idea that they need to get clients into the gym to make a sale, and perhaps that’s true for the very top of the market, but the mid-tier gyms have really been left behind.
The sale of Puregym and The Gym Group is only adding fuel to the budget niche, as more companies are seeing the big financial opportunities and entering the market, further driving competition and innovation.”
Where are gyms going wrong and how do you see this changing in the next two years?
“I don’t know a single gym that has all of its email and SMS marketing activity tied into its website. That says it all.
The sector has come a long way in terms of its marketing , but the key ingredient still missing is marketing automation. Everything is disjointed. Gyms have a database for this, database for that, etc, but they have nothing tying it all together. Not only does this damage conversion rates as prospective members fail to receive the right message at the right time, but it also causes huge operational inefficiencies.”
So what’s the solution?
“Databases might have 20 or 30 thousand potential leads, so it needs to be captured in one place that automatically nurtures the data and presents the sales team with only a certain lead quality score. There are existing options like Saleforce which is an incredible piece of software but it’s built for a B2B sales team and can’t really be applied to a consumer market.
Marketo is one solution which provides a lead score based on user activity and pushes the information through to salesforce but at £4000-£5000 a month its costs are prohibitive to most gyms.
Over the next 12 months this is the problem that membr.com is looking to solve. We’re building a solution exclusively for the fitness sector so that whether someone walks into a club or visits the website, their data all ends up in one place and the information is filtered so that the sales team only focuses their time with a lead score of 90 or above. That’s the future of marketing automation for the fitness sector.”