Market segmentation creates the opportunity to successfully advertise, launch new products, find out what members need and want, and to support your branding. 

There are five types of market segregation:

  • Demographic (age, gender, occupation, income, education)
  • Geographic ( where do they work, live, travel)
  • Behavioral (steps in the buying process, what customers want, benefits to the customer, how will their needs be met)
  • Psychographic (personality, social status, lifestyle, activities, opinions, pain points)
  • Firmographic (used to target businesses by industry, # of employees, company size)

The health club industry has used the first three (demographic, geographic, and behavioral) for many years in its search for new members. Collecting demographic, geographic, and behavioral information is typically an easy first step, and there are vertical market companies that can be hired to provide this for you.

When it comes to psychographic information, not many clubs have been able to collect this info from their members. Only in the last several years have some clubs worked to discover the psychographic needs of their current and/or potential members. Psychographic information is obtained by using survey questions like:

“what is your biggest challenge with…”,

“please rate a class, our cleanliness, and our brand”,

“which club in our market provides the best…”.

We suggest using Likert Scale questions that poses questions on the ‘strongly agree’ to ‘strongly disagree’ continuum to rate member satisfaction in various areas of the facility, products or services.

Very few of the clubs that we have worked with have ever done a substantive member survey to find out what members think, what they like, and what they’d like to see done better. Among clubs that did do surveys, the information wasn’t shared with members after the fact. Most clubs did not even share the data with their own staff. The results of survey pain points and lower rated areas should be addressed both internally and to members, including an action plan the club has created to solve raised issues. This tangible action shows that management listens to, and cares, about its members.

All clubs should perform a general survey for all members at least annually. Other surveys that target a smaller specific segment of members, such as personal training clients, group exercise participants, child care parents, lessons participants, should be done periodically on a schedule throughout the year.

Staff should be encouraged to create “clubs within the club” for members within their “sphere” to further market segmentation. Personal trainers can share content with their clients about successes, new programs, menus, and fitness tips. Group exercise instructors, child care staff, swim instructors, and other staff can also have their own market groups. This type of micro market segmentation speaks directly to member opinions and needs, and will ultimately create brand loyalty, enhance the member experience, and help sell other products and services.