Tangibles & Intangibles

Harvard marketing guru Ted Levitt tipped off those who took the trouble to listen years ago: If your product is tangible (plane, boat, car, penknife), distinguish yourself from the herd by emphasizing intangibles (e.g. service). If your product is intangible (banking services, travel services), distinguish yourself from the masses by emphasizing the tangible - to wit, design...

So if you’re in a service business, worry a lot if you’re not specifically working on the tangibles.

Tom Peters, The Pursuit of WOW!

When Coach Glassman said years ago that he could learn a lot about a gym by how clean their bathrooms were, he was talking about the tangibles. He was talking about care, attention to detail, attention to the experience. Here are twenty more tangibles worth considering, in no particular order:

  • Is your handwriting of the WOD legible & consistent on the whiteboard?

  • Are your new member sign-up forms & waivers simple?

  • Is your website clear, concise, & free of jargon?

  • Does the smell in the bathroom make you shudder?

  • Does the lighting the bathroom make you look like you’re in prison?

  • Are the products displayed cleanly - with labels facing out - in the store or fridge?

  • Is every sign, poster, & printed material consistent with your values & useful?

  • Is the kettlebell or dumbbell rack organized?

  • Are members greeted by name when they come through the door?

  • How is someone greeted when they come through the door for the very first time?

  • Is your lost & found way more lost than found?

  • Are the emails you send free from grammar & spelling mistakes?

  • Are your jump ropes a tangle of frustration or separated by length & easy to grab?

  • Is the phone answered with a smile?

  • What does the parking lot & walkway feel like the morning after it snows?

  • Do the t-shirts you print on fall apart after a couple washes?

  • Do members have to fight over limited women’s barbells?

  • Are your classes started & ended on time?

  • Are your whiteboard markers easy to find & use after the workout?

  • Do you have a few soft plyo boxes for those nervous about box jumps?

That’s a pretty good list. I bet you could add twenty more.

Patrick Cummings