Planet Fitness Gym is one of the largest growing fitness centers in the United States. With a vast number of places throughout the United States, Planet Fitness has helped Americans reach their fitness goals in a way that many gyms cannot.
This franchise has become widely successful, opening over 600 locations throughout America. In January of 2012, Planet Fitness even sponsored ABC’s the biggest loser. While this company has expanded rapidly and now employees and serves thousands of people, they face a great deal of competition from other expanding fitness corporations.
Because Planet Fitness loses customers to other gym memberships, this new strategic plan will encourage a broader customer profile, essentially altering the current target market while still maintaining Planet Fitness’s “Judgment-free zone.” We will develop new technology and equipment to draw in customers, promote the franchise through several exercise events, and develop and promote more intense training programs, requiring the employment of many new trainers, as part of the package membership of Planet Fitness.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Environmental Analysis……………………………………………………….pg 2
SWOT Analysis………………………………………………………………..pg 4
Marketing Objectives…………………………………………………………pg 7
Marketing Strategies………………………………………………………….pg 7
Marketing Implementation……………………………………………………pg 8
Evaluation & Control…………………………………………………………pg 10
II. ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYSIS
Planet Fitness is a nationwide gym-membership franchise founded in 1992. This marketing plan will require the cooperation of all employees at Planet Fitness, along with major consideration of the Sales Manager, CEO, Marketing Manager, Production and Design Manager, as well as those responsible for the hiring process.
The Marketing Environment
Competitive Forces. It is estimated that roughly 41 million Americans are a part of a fitness organization (Weber 2013). Many gym franchises have begun to diversify their range of services with new customer appeal such as spas, tennis/ racquetball courts, personal training opportunities, and massages. Planet Fitness may be losing significant customers to gyms that offer these luxuries.
Economic Forces. While consumers in favor of Planet Fitness enjoy the very low price we offer for a one-month membership, we are losing a larger clientele that see this price as a representation of our gym as average with lower-end equipment and training.
Additionally, with a price this low, we are not able to afford and supply the equipment and training to draw in more consumers.
Other gyms host national and local athletic events, such as 5k runs, marathons, sporting events, etc., in order to make profit for these innovations, which is something Planet Fitness should begin to consider as a profit strategy.
Political Forces. Planet Fitness must have some form of health insurance for those members of the gym. The new government regulations regarding the obesity epidemic and campaigns against obesity help to promote and offer ways for Planet Fitness to market their fitness campaign.
Legal and Regulatory Forces. Planet Fitness may face a small stigma for a situation that brought them to court over a member’s cancellation due to persistent “grunting” while exercising. They later faced a lawsuit for defamation of the ex-member. Planet Fitness may have a reputation for over-regulating their gym in fear of the coined phrase “gymtimidation.”
Technological Forces. Advances in technology, since the foundation of Planet Fitness, have made the demand for work-out equipment and frames much cheaper to attain. While Planet Fitness has designed and created their own product line for fitness equipment, other franchises have developed newer equipment to train the body in different and more intense ways.
Other gym memberships throughout the United States have adopted higher-technology treadmills and bikes that have incorporated touchscreens into the panel of the piece of equipment. They also offer a wider variety of televisions and technology systems designed to track their customers’ progress.
Sociocultural Forces. A competitive advantage to Planet fitness is the judgment-free zone that they promote. Many gyms have developed the stereotype of being intimidating because of excessive noise, body-builders, heavy equipment, professional athletes, etc, but Planet Fitness has chosen to promote their franchise as a friendly, unintimidating, comfortable place for average people to get in shape.
Planet Fitness’ target market includes men and women, primarily the ages of 18-50, that are relatively new to fitness or stick to average work-out routines. Planet Fitness may appeal more to women for this reason and because they are so focused around the overall appearance and stereotype in the gym atmosphere.
At the time Planet fitness started in 1992, the gym was open to a much broader range of fitness people; however, as time passed they chose to pride themselves in low pricing and comfort. Planet Fitness wants its customers to feel like they are in a friendly place without judgment of any sort.
Because the price of a one-month membership is a mere ten dollars, Planet Fitness appeals to the lower middle-class consumers.
Current Marketing Objectives and Performance.
Planet Fitness’s most current marketing objective involves a campaign promoting judgment free fitness. The commercials essentially mock fitness fanatics, whom they refer to as “lunks.” Average people are shown working out with or near intimidating, overly-aggressive or very attractive people that make them feel uncomfortable. Planet Fitness sticks to the marketing statement: “We’re not a gym, we’re Planet Fitness.” Planet Fitness’s marketing is aimed towards the 85 percent of people that have never belonged to a gym (About Us 2013).
The gym has incorporated into every location what is known as a “lunk alarm.” This alarm is subject to going off when a manager at the facility feels one of the members should receive public shame for grunting, dropping weights loudly, or being judgmental in any way. Planet Fitness also offers snacks like pizza and bagels, rather than protein shakes and health foods that are typically seen in fitness centers (Newman 2013).
Even during the economic downfall, Planet Fitness has sustained over four million members, sixty percent of which are women. Because the company offers monthly memberships, rather than lengthy year contracts, Planet Fitness breaks a barrier that hinders some people from getting memberships (Newman 2013).
III. SWOT ANALYSIS Strengths
Planet Fitness offers their gym membership at an extremely low price.
The membership is not a long contract for one to two years as most fitness
centers are; they offer monthly memberships.
Planet Fitness values its customer’s comfort and ability to exercise in a friendly atmosphere.
This gym values the style, organization, and cleanliness of their locations, facilities, and equipment
With over 600 locations nationwide, Planet Fitness can extend its business in all areas of the country; they are not limited to any specific location.
Planet fitness has effectively promoted their judgment-free zone and lunk alarm.
With 41 million Americans that have gym-memberships, Planet Fitness only caters to newcomers.
The consumer profile is limited because Planet Fitness avoids “fitness junkies,” or the typical 15 percent of Americans that have memberships.
Planet Fitness does not promote intense training/athletic programs as most gyms do.
Planet Fitness focuses promotion only on those who typically avoid gyms.
The idea surrounding the “lunk alarm” may eliminate the consumers that seek to lift weights; Planet Fitness may have created a stereotype that it’s not a gym for weightlifting all together.
Planet Fitness has the potential for growth by promoting training programs within the gym for those looking for intense workouts.
This gym has acquired the means and profit necessary to introduce new kinds of equipment to their line of fitness.
Planet Fitness can host running events, marathons, sporting events, etc., nationwide to increase awareness of planet fitness and gain profits lost from developing new equipment.
Trainers and staff members that encourage/promote new forms of exercise (yoga, kickboxing, interval training, cardio) may entice customers that are looking for the next level of fitness. Some of the Planet Fitness members may feel there is no room for growth within the gym because of the stereotype surrounding “gymtimidation.”
Other major gym franchises, such as Gold Gym, have encouraged working out and dieting in ways that Planet Fitness avoids.
Some gym memberships include training programs and have trainers available for assistance throughout the day, while Planet Fitness does not.
Many fitness centers have a variety of equipment that offers its members equal opportunity in weightlifting versus cardio.
Other gyms entice their customers through massages, spas, pools, lounges, and healthy foods.
Matching Strengths to Opportunities/ Converting Weaknesses and Threats
Planet Fitness should consider extending its product line to offer different kinds of individuals their workout needs. Rather than focusing so much on the criticism of weightlifters, they should try to incorporate weightlifting as a normal part of working out.
Because Planet Fitness has the means to do so, they should hire physical training experts to work with members as they come in throughout the day. The gym can also offer specific classes lead by trainers where members have the opportunity to expand their fitness levels and try new things.
It is limiting to focus only on Americans that typically avoid going to the gym. Planet Fitness should begin marketing for all people in all levels of fitness. If Planet Fitness begins offering a diverse series of workouts and diverse set of equipment, they will broaden their consumer profile.
Planet Fitness’s primary goal is to conduct a new campaign and direct promotion towards a new target market. Because this franchise has lost consumer appeal because of its “judgment-free zone” and the fact that it targets only those new to the gym atmosphere, the more experienced fitness clientele is more or less rejected. By hiring training staff and conducting exercise events to promote Planet Fitness’s new outlook, the gym expects to reach a broader market of people interested in fitness.
Over the course of the next six months, planet fitness will recruit trainers specific to each Planet Fitness location in the United States. Job listings will be posted on career sites, and the website will encourage the hiring of these new members.
The new target market will include younger males and higher-level fitness people. In order to promote this new market, Planet Fitness will host a 5k run local to each fitness center; participants will receive a tee-shirt with a new Planet Fitness slogan encouraging intense training and physical activity. The runners will be offered a free class with their membership and a pamphlet explaining Planet Fitness’s new training system involving new forms of exercise.
The new commercials will focus less on the “gymtimidation” factor and rather promote our new staff members and the new classes offered.
V. MARKETING STRATEGIES
A. Target Markets
Target Market 1: Males in their early to mid-twenties
Planet Fitness currently has a higher percentage of female members which may be due to their lack of weightlifting encouragement.
Target Market 2: Athletes & weightlifters
Target Market 3: Those interested in a variety of training/ specialized athletes
Planet Fitness will maintain their judgment-free zone, but develop specialized sections of the gym and specific training class for those who seek a more intense and specific workout experience.
B. Marketing Mix
1. Product Mix. Planet Fitness’s product mix is consisted of the one-month gym membership itself, Planet Fitness brand clothing and fitness gear, fitness equipment, and the food available in the fitness centers. The new product mix will include intense classes/ training that will be available at additional costs. Planet Fitness will also offer a healthier and broader selection of foods within the fitness centers.
2. Price. The current price for a one-month membership is ten dollars. The price for additional classes during specified times during the week will be an additional ten dollar charge. With this extra cost, individuals will have their choice to attend any of the scheduled classes.
3. Distribution. Planet Fitness allows anyone who is interested in becoming a member to stop by any local fitness center or to register for a one-month membership online. The new marketing plan will encourage members, at the time of registration, to decide whether they would like to stick to the judgment-free zone or whether they would like to work out specifically with weights. They also will be asked to consider the new training classes that are available. The opportunity to sign up for the new exercise events, such as the 5k run, will be at all fitness centers as well as online.
4. Promotion. During the events that will be held hosted by Planet Fitness, the new hired training staff in each area of the United States will also attend the events. They will stand out by wearing Planet Fitness gear that is clearly marked as “staff.” They will work to help promote the new training and classes offered at the members’ local gyms. Planet Fitness will sponsor large and televised sporting events and continue to promote this new campaign commercially through cable, On-Demand, and the web.
VI. MARKETING IMPLEMENTATION
With the introduction of an entire new staff of trainers and classes, a more structured sub-division will be required to manage this innovation. The consumer marketing is currently handled by a national Marketing Manager and Sales Manager. This sub-division will be run by both of these managers, while still maintaining their current positions.
Depending upon how well the members of Planet Fitness respond to the implementation of new fitness trainers and additional programs, this sub-division has the potential to expand within the next two years. If needed, a new marketing and sales representative will be hired to oversee this entire sub-division.
The goal of this new organization is to increase our consumer profile and add an additional competitive edge to Planet Fitness. Planet Fitness will continue its current marketing organization structure, with the addition of this specialty division.
Activities, Responsibility, and Timetable for Completion
Introduction of training staff and additional fitness programs
Gather data on interest in trainers and more intense programs
Persons responsible: Marketing Team
Completion date: May 5
Hire 6 Individual trainers to offer assistance to members of the Newington, New Hampshire fitness center and receive feedback on performance
Completion date: June 5, feedback by June 15
Persons responsible: Staff Manager/ Marketing Team
Create, print, and distribute surveys nationwide for each gym location regarding individual interest and desire in new programs/trainers
Persons responsible: Marketing Manager(s) and Marketing Team, Manufacturing Team
Completion date: July 1
Develop the exercise programs
Persons responsible: Production and Design Manager
Completion date: August 10
Train the hired trainers in each region to specified exercise programs
Persons Responsible: Regional Production and Design Managers
Completion date: September 30
Conduct National Convention to introduce trainers to the programs they will be leading
Completion date: October 30, convention held November 1
Hire two trainers to each Planet Fitness location—total of 1,200 new employees
Persons Responsible: Regional Staff Managers
Completion date: February 1
Persons Responsible: National Marketing Manager
Completion date: March 1
VII. EVALUATION AND CONTROL Performance Standards and Financial Control
Because Planet Fitness will be allocating a great deal of its profits towards this new campaign, each department involved in this marketing plan will have to carefully and accurately report all expenditures to the Regional Marketing Managers. Regional Marketing Managers will be responsible for reporting expenditures in a timely manner to the National Marketing Manager. Additional spending is unauthorized.
Each department and its members will be given a specific budget for conducting research, design, testing, and marketing. The total estimated budget for this plan is $2,000,000 aside from the finances necessary to employee trainers for the duration of their employment with Planet Fitness.
The budget is as follows:
Production and Design:$500,000
Includes training and development, materials, testing
Staff Department: $300,000
Includes resources necessary to find the appropriate training staff
Includes manufacture, materials, and delivery of surveys
Includes research, materials, and national convention preparation Monitoring Procedures
In order to assess how effectively our new programs and training staff appeal to our current and expecting member of Planet Fitness, several analysis’s will be conducted to compare performance of our programs and the marketing objectives. Statistical data will be gathered to determine the number of members gained after the campaign, the number of memberships that were lost, and the number of memberships that upgraded their cost in order to gain access to the new programs.
“About Us.” 2013. Retrieved from www.planetfitness.com
Newman, Andrew. “A Gym for People Who Don’t Like Gyms.” The New York Times: Business and Advertising. January 2013. Print.
Weber, Andrew. “Fitness Industry Analysis 2013 – Cost & Trends.” 2013. Retrieved from www.franchisehelp.com