What’s Your Membership Type & Why?

Through analysis of various documents, data and observation I have identified a number of distinct membership types (based on time periods rather than revenue types) that occur within the outdoor fitness market:

  • Type 1: Core Membership: long-term clients whose subscriptions last for 12 months or more (and will attend sessions in all but the worst weather);
  • Type 2: Transient Membership: short-term clients whose subscriptions last for 12 months or less and do not return in subsequent years; and
  • Type 3: Returning Membership: short-term clients whose subscriptions last for 12 months or less and do return in subsequent years.
  • Type 4: Sunshine Membership: short-term clients who attend sessions during the spring, summer and/or early autumn periods and may return in subsequent years).
  • Type 5: Bargain Membership: short-term clients who attend, heavily discounted, sessions provided through online promotional discounters (OPDs) (such as ItIsOn.com, Groupon.com, livingsocial.com etc), and then cancel once the offer period has completed. This client type may use this strategy on a number of providers in the same area.

Obviously, as a business, you want all or predominantly type 1 clients. However, there are a number of internal/external factors that will most likely determine your client type pool, such as:

  • Socioeconomic status of the area
    • Urban vs. rural
    • middle class/working class mix
  • Competitors:
    • Penetration: number of venues, size, location etc
    • Density: i.e. number of competitors
  • Marketing Strategy:
    • Price vs. quality
    • Strategy of competitor(s)
    • Use of OPDs
  • Pricing strategy:
    • Economic vs. premium
    • Strategy of competitor(s)
    • Tiered pricing, single price and/or OPD use
  • Branding Strategy:
    • Outdoor fitness provider v.s fitness boot camp provider vs. military-style fitness provider
    • Clothing: corporate vs. military

This is not an exhaustive list but over the years, through observation and research, it has become quite clear that these are the main factors affecting the potential client pool.

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