big-data-fitness-gym-industry-mark-f-simmons-2There’s a lot of talk about how important Big Data is to an organization’s success. Most of the conversation is centered around enterprise level companies with extraordinary amounts of data from their marketing, sales and customer departments. However, not all business have terabytes of data to analyze. There are many smaller businesses that collect a significant amount of data, but not so much that a data scientist is required to parse through it all. The fitness industry is one of them. It’s all about taking Big Data and transforming it to #SmartData – data in usable form that drives smarter decision making and identifies revenue opportunities.

Here’s how analyzing and utilizing the data they already collect can lead to incremental revenue opportunities.

If you’ve ever been a member of a gym, you know that you get a card, similar to your grocery store discount card that you scan every time you “check in” or swipe at your gym. This check-in is important to the gym as they use it to make sure you’re an active member. What they gym is missing is how valuable this data is. Especially so if they also require you to swipe out when you leave. Let’s think about this.

What can the gym do with this information?

Let’s begin by dissecting what this tells us:

  • How often you workout
  • What time of day you normally workout
  • If they “exit swipe” – how long you workout for

On the surface, this may not seem that valuable, but if you think deeper it really has potential.

But first, let me give a quick shout out to my gym, Velocity Fitness in Durham!


Opportunity #1 – Frequency

Knowing how often someone goes to the gym let’s you know how serious they are about working out. There’s a huge personality difference in someone that works out 8 times per month, versus someone that works out 25 times per month. You can reasonably assume that the 25 time person is very serious while the 8 times person is a casual gym user. Let’s focus on the serious one. When you took the new customer information, you hopefully captured their email and subscribed them to your newsletter. Now you can start to segment out your members by the frequency at which they come to the gym. Maybe it’s 0-8, 9-15 and 15 plus. Figure out what makes sense to you. Now that you have created segments, you can start to tailor their information in the emails.

For example, with the lowest tier of user, you can send tips about how to make working out easier so they can do it more often. Or, you can send a message about how working out with a partner makes it easier to stay consistent and get the most from your workouts. Don’t have a partner? Invite a friend or loved one to work out with you and get a referral discount. If this works, you just gained a new member.


For the more serious user, you can send content about taking their workout to the next level, including appropriate supplements for boosting the impact of their workouts. Then, you sell those supplements at the check-in counter. Give the email subscribers an extra incentive with a discount when they mention they saw it in the email – or use a printable coupon. Either way, you have a natural audience to promote your inventory.

Opportunity #2 – Time of Day

Obviously, people work out at different times of the day based on their personal and work schedules. While some may change this up quite often, it’s more likely that most will exhibit a consistent pattern. Personally, I like to work out in the early morning before I get my day started. It’s quiet, I  have less competition for the weights and I feel more productive. Whatever the reason, people choose a a period of the day that works for them.

Morning members: The first thing that comes to mind is that people that workout in the morning may be interested in a healthy breakfast or snack after their workout. This is an opportunity to sell healthy shakes and protein bars etc. Again, email them tips and tricks to make their morning workout more effective while you also promote the shakes, bars and whatever else makes sense.


Evening members: This one was a bit more difficult for me, but seems like an opportunity to sell a different type of supplement. Forgive my lack of specific industry knowledge but I’m sure someone knows. Think about what type of person works out after work or even, late night and then offer something relevant to them.

Final Thoughts

Using the data that’s available can offer the opportunity to drive incremental revenues. Be creative and pay attention to what’s in front of you. Are you using the data you have in this manner? Maybe it’s time to start. Interestingly, there’s also an opportunity to integrate your social media efforts. Think about if your software Tweeted out whenever someone checked in to your gym. Yes, you’d have to capture the Twitter handle during intake. Of course, that would be optional and could also include FourSquare, but think about the potential exposure. To stay on topic, there certainly could be other ways to use the swipe data as well as data collected from your POS system with any merchandise you sell. This all creates additional marketing opportunities for the products and services you provide such as personal training.


If anything, the point of this post is to highlight the potential of looking at and leveraging the data you are already collecting. Feel free to reach out to have a more in-depth discussion about how to develop a concrete strategy and execution plan. I am a Google Analytics Certified Professional.


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Yours in success,