Media is the new marketing


Gym World comes from Kilo co-founder John Franklin, who shares lessons about making money in the fitness industry.

Our 2023 marketing strategy.

Happy Sunday.

Here’s what I have for you this week:

Media is the new marketing

I co-founded a company called Kilo. We sell website, marketing automation, and biz management software to gyms.

We started out as an agency and used the cash flow to build software. This is a proven bootstrapping model used by companies like MailChimp and Basecamp.

When we made the jump from agency to SaaS we knew we’d be up against better, well-funded competition. The market leader in our space does 50x our current revenue and in the last 48 months multiple competitors have been acquired or raised money at an 8-figure valuation.

I am no stranger to being the underdog. In 2013, I opened up a small gym under a hot pot restaurant in NYC’s Chinatown. We were competing against national chains and VC-backed fitness companies with 7-figures in funding, yet we always managed to turn a profit.

We did it by being scrappier and more resourceful than our competition. At the time we were one of the only gyms using Facebook ads. Before we opened, we were able to build a 2,700 person e-mail list for under $5,000. Unfortunately, those days are long gone.

By blazing our own path instead of following best practices, we had a better ROI for each marketing dollar.

I plan to run the same playbook for our SaaS business.

Right now SaaS best practice is to write a good blog, offer a lead magnet, capture the contact info, and spam the shit out of every prospect.

While this is effective, everyone is doing it and a small bootstrapped company is bound to lose at this. Our competitors can spend more on ads, content writers, lead magnets, seo etc.

Rather than play this game, we’re try a different approach by applying a proven strategy in our niche.

The inspiration for my current marketing plan came from Patrick Campbell’s work at Profitwell.

Profitwell sells subscription software. They used a unique media strategy to win the hearts and minds of their niche, which culminated in a $200M sale to Paddle earlier this year.

Patrick’s strategy was simple: create a series of shows that entertain and educate your niche. Patrick thinks of his shows as webinars that have growing attendance every week.

While ads and inbound can still grab attention, shows are the best medium for keeping it and building trust.


A media strategy like this plays into the hand of bootstrapped company like ours because we can show more personality than a larger company. There is also less red tape when it comes to testing new concepts.

Our first show drops next week. I’ll share it here. 💪

If you’re interested in learning more about Profitwell’s media strategy, this podcast is excellent.

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Until next week,


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