Valuable in the Future

You should focus relentlessly on something you’re good at doing, but before that you must think hard about whether it will be valuable in the future.

Peter Thiel, Zero to One

An infographic in a recent issue of Fast Company estimates the value of the digital fitness market will be $27B by 2022. It points out that there has been a 330% growth in the global usage of health & fitness apps from '14 to '17.

A few reflections:

1) The digital fitness market relies heavily on a desire for convenience. Users want to work out when, how, & where they want.

The flip side of that convenience is isolation. Even the services with a “community” or “competitive” feature can’t mimic what happens when you’re in the same room with somebody. With that lack of personal relationships comes a lack of accountability, which ushers in a lack of consistency & progress.

As people experiment with these digital tools, the benefits & the downsides of this convenience/relationship trade-off are becoming clearer. For some, the good will outweigh the bad.

The rest will keep searching, except they’ll now have an edge you can push against in your marketing. Because they have something to compare it to, you can spend less of your marketing energy trying to convince people of the benefits of your gym environment & more energy enrolling them in the journey you are uniquely qualified to take them on.

2) The size & potential of the digital fitness market highlights two trends: The first is that more people are making fitness & health a priority. The second is that people prioritize freedom of location & time.

The former is a good thing for individual affiliates. The latter is an opportunity.

What’s holding a gym back, for example, from offering a membership that affords both the in-class experience & also delivers programming they can do at home? These workouts could come with a short video featuring a favorite coach & cover the points of performance & some tips on scaling.

This approach looks at the convenience/relationship trade-off & recognizes it doesn’t have to be zero-sum, that you can deliver more value to your membership while also creating more brand allegiance in the process.

Patrick Cummings