What will marketing learn when gyms re-open?

What will gyms look like and feel like when they re-open? Before then, how will gyms anticipate, predict and respond to the puzzle that is human behaviours to get it right, and what can we all learn from it?

Jul 10, 2020

By Neil Davidson

Old habits or new behaviours – who wins?

Gyms are grappling with interpreting claimed future behaviours about going back to gyms, massive sales of home gym equipment, Zoom-based exercise and new outdoor-based exercise habits.  Do old habits or new behaviours win?  How dominant is fear of the virus over a desire to reconnect with people in the real-world of gyms and be part of exercise communities again? 

Winners and legacy losers

The winners could be premium gyms more focused on personalised training and smaller classes near homes versus value-focused scale gyms near empty offices, but no one knows yet. 

However, the one thing that we do know is that whatever our sector marketing must embrace new ways of working to survive.

Organisational ambidexterity – the marketing capability for now and forever

There’s an urgent need for organisational ambidexterity.  Simply put, it’s the capability of businesses to thrive now while also properly anticipating and planning for multiple future scenarios.  Before the crisis it was easy to claim that we were good at it, because the future was simple.  It isn’t just preparing for multiple scenarios, it’s being prepared for unknown scenarios, something we’ve never done before.

Marketing can learn from tailors

Tailors listen to their clients when they ask for a suit cut to the measurements for their slimmer selves that they will definitely be in six months.  Then they ignore them.

Many of the predicted future behaviours during the crisis have already been shown to be untrue, whether it’s our own, those in research or predicted by experts. 

We all judge the future based on the now, so when people claim they will never be the same again after the crisis and that they will live better, more conscientious, caring and healthier lives they mean it.  It just isn’t true. 

Marketing focused on truly understanding people will always thrive, no matter what.

HeyHuman is always happy to work with clients to achieve that.