Reaching Out to Baby Boomers
By Tom Perkins
The face of fitness membership is an always changing canvass. One group currently having a significant impact on the fitness industry is the Baby Boomers. This group of 37 to 54 year olds is comprised of approximately 76 million people and is of particular interest to the fitness industry.
Why? Because Baby Boomers now represent 12.4 million members, or 37%, of the total health club population.
This also denotes a jump in their numbers of over 143% since 1987.
What is the significance?
The significance is that this large population segment are fitness conscious and do not view a gym membership as a luxury, but as a necessity for a longer, healthier life. They are in short a potential untapped target market waiting for the right program designed specifically to meet their needs.
Many health club owners are now in the process of doing just that. They are scrambling to reevaluate their marketing strategies and business operations in order to target the specific needs of Baby Boomers. If you are interested in attracting more Baby Boomers to your services, here are a few quick tips to keep in mind:
* Marketing/advertising efforts should stress independence, quality of life, and the social experience. Baby Boomers value their independence and interaction with their peers. Advertising should appeal to the social aspects of joining a health or fitness club, i.e. meeting people and making new friends. Consider providing common areas designed for interaction and socialization.
* Provide special programming geared to older members. Many surveys indicate that older members prefer water exercise classes, tai chi, line dancing, low impact and chair aerobics, walking and strength training.
* Offer music appropriate to your club’s membership. You do not need to play Glen Miller and Ella Fitzgerald in the background, but be aware that Snoop Doggy Dog and Gwen Steffani are not likely to entice your members to use your club.
* Offer the appropriate equipment designed for their level of training and fitness. For example, most strength equipment only allows for 10 lb. increments which can be too much for some older adults. Consider offering smaller weight increments.
* Ease off on the mirrors. Many older members are not particularly interested in watching themselves sweat or exercise.
* Be careful not to assume that all older members want the easy does it programs. With many people living to be 100, the term older adult lumps close to 50 years of living into one category. The fact is that needs and abilities within each age group bracket can vary greatly. It is more important to focus on assessing individual capability, and then design a program to meet their specific goals.
* Consider offering discounts for members who use your facility during off-peak hours. Many older members enjoy using clubs during times that are typically very slow, such as 10:00 a.m. This can be a win-win situation.
Offering a discount provides the member with a value-added incentive to come during off-peak hours, and the club owner with additional revenue during an otherwise off-peak time.
Do not overlook or underestimate the buying power of this demographic group.
Tom Perkins is a business solutions coach and certified personal trainer He has a degree in accounting and works with fitness professionals leading them to profitability. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the Essential Fitness Business Success Checklist. Or visit his website at http://www.fitnessindustrysolutions.com.
Contact Email Address: thecoach@FitnessIndustrySolutions.com Word Count: 408 Copyright Date: 2005 Tom Perkins. All rights reserved.