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Opportunity for fitness sector to maximise marketing and communications exposure
Across all areas of the leisure industry it may seem surprising that fitness, with its focus on sales and marketing, is one of the sectors that doesn’t maximise its potential and opportunities in another key aspect of marketing - communications and public relations.
That is the view of Australasian Leisure Management Publisher Nigel Benton, who, after 20 years reporting on the Australian fitness industry, continues to be disappointed at how communication and marketing is misunderstood and underutilised by many who look to promote and make successful businesses in active lifestyles.
Benton, the organiser of the upcoming Leisure Industry Communication and Marketing Summit and Awards, being held at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium on Thursday 24th August, explains “all-too-often fitness marketing is solely about sales and while sales are obviously of vital importance to any business, fitness generally fails in telling its story through other marketing functions - communications and public relations.
“In my experience, the fitness industry puts communications and public relations in the ‘too difficult’ basket or sees it as an unnecessary cost – missing that the function is about reputation - the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you.
“Communication and public relations practice is the discipline which looks after your reputation with the aim of earning understanding and support, and influencing behaviour.”
Benton adds “what is remarkable is that fitness is about improving participants’ quality of life, helping people achieve goals and fun – which are great stories to share.”
Yet, in spite of this, Benton believes that the fitness industry does have a credibility problem, as defined last year by leading Melbourne-based personal trainer Justin Moran, who slammed Michelle Bridges, ‘Commando’ Steve, Shannon Ponton and Tiffany Hall, for representing the “fake’ and “cash-grabbing” aspect of the fitness industry.
Since then the industry has seen the collapse of Fitlink and Sage Institute of Fitness, complaints that fitness celebrity Ashy Bines’ business charged fees despite members having cancelled and issues relating to Sydney gym FIT 'n' GO and the Gold’s Gyms Australian franchise.
Commenting on this, Benton explains “hiccups in any industry are inevitable and Fitness Australia has established an Industry Standards Council to deal with such matters, but occurrences like this damage reputation.”
To counter such damage and generally to build overall reputation, Benton sees that fitness needs to be better at communicating and sharing its successes and it needs to move beyond marketing being a matter of saying how ‘awesome’ a product or program is and move towards getting across more serious arguments about fitness benefits.
He is pleased that a number of businesses in fitness are getting to be more proactive, citing the likes of 24/7 gym operator Plus Fitness, billing specialists Debitsuccess and contract manager Belgravia Leisure as being highly effective in their communications.
The experience of these companies will be shared at the Leisure Industry Communication and Marketing Summit with Davin Miller, Chief Executive Australasia of the Transaction Services Group (TSG) and Nigel Miller (pictured below), Managing Director of Plus Fitness being part of a panel Communications and Marketing and its role in boosting your bottom line.
In addition, Nick Cox, Chief Executive of Belgravia Leisure will be part of panel Communications and Marketing Through Crises and Emergencies.
Looking forward to the sessions, Benton concludes “every business must plan for crises and emergencies, whether it is an accident or emergency or what happens when a disgruntled member or patron’s complaint goes viral.”
To be held at the ANZ Stadium, Sydney on Thursday 24th August, the Leisure Industry Communication and Summit and Awards 2017 will present a day of discussions, debates and presentations designed to inspire, educate and inform.
A small number of tickets for the event are still available.
Click here for more information and/or to register for the Leisure Industry Communication and Marketing Summit.
31st July 2017 - MEDIA GROUP LAUNCHES FITFLUENCER NETWORK
15th December 2016 - INAUGURAL LEISURE INDUSTRY COMMUNICATION AND MARKETING AWARDS
28th November 2016 - FITNESS AUSTRALIA ANNOUNCE FORMATION OF INDUSTRY STANDARDS COUNCIL
24th October 2016 - ASGA JOINS ANTI-COUNTERFEIT BUSINESS LOBBY GROUP
3rd April 2016 - STUDENTS SEEK ANSWERS OVER COLLAPSED FITLINK TRAINING COLLEGE
12th March 2016 - LEADING PERSONAL TRAINER SICK OF ‘FAKES’ AND ‘CASH-GRABBERS’
29th August 2012 - CYBEX LAUNCHES PR GUIDE FOR FITNESS BUSINESSES
15th June 2012 - WHY DID IT TAKE FITNESS FIRST FOUR YEARS TO SAY ‘SORRY’?
11th November 2011 - PLUMMER WARNS OF THE DANGERS OF LOW-COST FITNESS MEMBERSHIP
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