Wow, attending IHRSA has been a big learning experience! The fitness industry is so lucky to have so many positive, upbeat people in it.
This morning, I caught a really enlightening seminar by Seth Godin, formerly with Yahoo and founder of Squidoo.com. He noted that since consumers are hit with so much information, through the Internet, e-mail, direct mail, TV, etc., it's hard to make them notice a club's marketing message.
Godin suggested that to succeed in this new age of too much information, club operators need to create a sense of community in their clubs, and make them remarkable, which literally means, to remark about. If people are excited about what's happening at your club, they'll tell their network of acquaintances and can be good advocates for your business. He also noted that the Internet makes direct communication easier than ever, and that it can go both ways - positive and negative - so it's important to ensure what people say is positive.
To develop a sense of community within a health club, Godin suggested club operators consider whether their business is about finding more customers for their club, or finding more club for their customers? He recommended leading people where they want to go with their fitness levels, and building a "tribe," or community, among members who are longing to belong in a splintered society.
Lots of food for thought. I'm thinking I should check out Godin's books now - perhaps we all should!