Marketing Strategy for a Major National Fitness Club
23 Jul 2020

Marketing Strategy for a Major National Fitness Club


An American chain of gyms in over 100 locations in 14 states approached Provoke Insights to consult on the marketing strategy for the fitness club. Our agency was created by advertising strategists who also have a strong background in market research, making Provoke Insights a fit for these marketing initiatives. The session led to the development of a creative brief and a strategy deck used to help launch its new advertising multi-channel campaign. 

Marketing Problem

The health club’s past marketing initiatives placed emphasis on price. Focusing primarily on price made it difficult for the company to stand out in a saturated marketplace. Price is a functional, unique selling proposition. As a result, many other gyms used the same fundamental message leading to a pricing war. Gyms kept on lowering their price to stay competitive. As a result, “low cost” is not a sustainable branding solution long-term. More so, fitness clubs were now competing against new types of working out from the popularization of Classpass to gyms that specialize in only one activity (e.g., spinning, pilates).

The fitness center needed to stand out from the crowd. As the company was looking to expand its footprint and its core offering, it needed to find a more emotional brand differentiator. 

The health club commissioned an advertising agency to launch an up-to-date 360-degree marketing strategy campaign. The new campaign’s goal was to increase awareness of the company and differentiate from the competition without invoking price. However, moving beyond a price play caused issues with stakeholders within the company, who did not align with other brand differentiators. 

Furthermore, Several stakeholders held contrasting views, and the advertising agency had difficulty gathering all parties to discuss the path forward. A consensus was needed to move forward with a marketing strategy plan. Thus, Provoke Insights was welcomed to moderate a session with key stakeholders, gain alignment of viewpoints, and develop the strategy.

Market Research Solution

Provoke Insights used the following model for the workshop: 

  1. Review all background information including past advertising analytics, creative, research, and overall industry trends
  2. Create a marketing strategy report/deck and exercises to keep the session focused (keep the conversation on track and not going off tangent)
  3. Professional moderated the meeting – the key is to ask the right questions, probe when necessary, listen aggressively, and stay on track
  4. Develop a marketing strategy report and a creative brief from the background data and the in-person session. 

An experienced moderator led a half-day strategy brainstorming session. The following information about the brand was assessed to find its unique identity:

  • Self-identity
    • Who are you?
    • What makes you distinct?
    • Why are you relevant?
  • Audience
    • Who uses your service?
    • How does the brand make them feel?
    • Are they satisfied?
  • Communicate
    • Are prospects and customers hearing what you want them to?
    • Is your brand recognizable?  
  • Perceived
    • What is working?
    • What is not working?
    • Are expectations met? 

Results of Marketing Strategy Session

The moderated session allowed the stakeholders to voice their opinions in an organized and constructive manner. Looking at the brand regarding self-identity, audience, communication, and perceptions allowed leadership to look beyond a conversation about price and assess what a real brand differentiator is. 

As a result, the company aligned on a new marketing strategy for the fitness club, and the advertising agency developed a full campaign against the plan that Provoke Insights developed.

Checkout some of our other case studies here:

  1. Brand Strategy Research for a Rental Truck Company
  2. Content Marketing Research for Tech Companies: A Case Study
  3. Sunpower: An NPS and Competitive Assessment Study
  4. Jewelers of America: Mixed Methodology Market Research Study
  5. USPS: A Thought-Leadership Research Case Study


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