It’s the most neglected part of marketing…
Happy Wednesday Gym World.
I inherited a $1,800 stroller from my sister in-law & man this thing is a piece of shit.
I immediately managed to collapse the stroller & trap my son in the “storage position.”
Luckily the “Wave 2022 features a NEW ergonomic Genius™ harness system,” which is aptly named because you need to be genius to use it.
After an emergency FaceTime I was able to free my son and experience “Wave’s all-new sophisicated design” that uses “signature sustainable fabrics crafted from recycled plastic bottles.”
Here’s what I have for you this week:
Gym chain uses one weird trick to grow revenue by 40%
Major gym chain LifeTime Fitness announced that they made $1.8 billion in 2022 – a 38% increase from 2021. They did it by increasing their prices.
Pricing is one of the most neglected parts of marketing, yet it’s one of the most impactful. Most gym owners set their pricing by looking at what their competitors charge and then undercutting them by 5-10%
Here at Gym World, our pricing philosophy is simple: be the low-cost leader, or be the premium provider. The middle of the pricing curve is where gyms go to die.
In 2021 LifeTime’s CEO set out to move upmarket. In 2022, the company raised membership prices by 30%, which brought their ARM above $200.
Here’s how they did it:
Cut out the middleman
In a shocking move LifeTime got rid of all their salespeople and pushed prospects to sign up online.
They created a transparent, customer-centric pricing page which is rare in an industry that LOVES to hide pricing.
Despite the large price increase, LifeTime’s CEO says they’re not experiencing more sales friction.
If they were, they could update pricing with minimal disruption to the business because they no longer train reps or pay commissions.
Price = value
The price a company can achieve, is always a reflection of the perceived value of the product or service in the customer’s eyes. If the customer perceives a higher value, his or her willingness to pay rises…
“Perceive” is the operative word. When a company tries to figure out the price it can achieve, only the subjective (perceived) value of the customer matters.
The objective value of the product or other measures of value, such as human labor time invested, do not matter intrinsically. They matter only to the degree that the customer thinks they matter and is willing to a pay a price in return.
Hermann Simon, Confessions of a Pricing Man
Businesses can’t keep raising prices without increasing the perceived value of the service (unless you’re ZenPlanner.)
So what is LifeTime doing to justify increased prices?
LifeTime is going all in group fitness and social activities. Their biggest bet is in the sport of Pickleball.
Last week, we discussed how pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in America because it’s easy to learn & social.
LifeTime is the largest operator of pickleball courts in America. Their thesis is that people are lonely and seeking more social activities.
In 1989, sociologist Ray Oldenburg coined the term “third place,” describing a place beyond home and work where people could gather.
LifeTime is trying to be that third place, so they’ve added amenities like:
- Recovery rooms
- Kids academies
- Rooftop pools
which increase the perceived value of membership and keep people around longer.
Can a gym be a community’s bedrock? LifeTime thinks so.
In the last few years they’ve opened three LifeTime Living facilities where you can get a gym membership, an apartment, and a cowering space.
According to the club, it’s the perfect way to “live the life you’ve always imagined.”
For any price-insensitive, remote-working gym-lover, that’s probably true.
And in case you’re curious, a 2-bedroom LifeTime Living apartment in Miami will run you about $4,000/mo.
Why should you care?
• Good pricing is good marketing
Good gym owners are constantly thinking, “how do I grow my gym?”
Sometimes the key to success could be a simple pricing tweak.
• You’re not the only one building a “great community”
For as long as I’ve been in the game, coaching gyms have used community as a unique selling point.
The big guys have realized that a better community = better retention = a better business, so they’re investing heavily in group activities.
If you’re not actively building community, you may find yourself losing members to nicer-equipped facilities.
WTF is this pricing strategy?
Speaking of pricing, we dive into the weird pricing strategy of a new $10M influencer gym on this week’s Gym World.
Until next week,