Fitness Leadership lessons at 2am?

By Greg Lawlor

Over the last number of years, I have noticed that fitness leaders are quick to speak out against infomercials promoting the latest fitness recipe for success. Much of this criticism has merit, as many of the products promoted and sold this way promote “easy fixes” and the solutions are not necessarily innovative.Many of the products sold this way are not the most revolutionary and some many years ago out and out misled people.

I have always looked at them this way: if it gets someone moving that was not , then good. The problem I think is the sustainability of the fix being promoted. But that is another topic.

Can you think of the most recent infomercial that everyone seems to be talking about – the one that promoted muscle confusion? If you are a fitness leader, you know what it is…. the p90x.

From a business perspective, It is staggering what it has done in a few short years. $400 million a year empire spun off a concept of helping people getting ripped in their living room. Think of that for a second. That is serving a lot of people.

I think we can learn a lot from the successes going on all around us. (And failures). In business , things do not usually happen by accident. This is no exception. I certainly have noted the lessons as they apply to our commercial fitness equipment supply business. Perhaps a few can help you. Here goes.

Lesson 1 is the one mentioned above – do not need an innovative product necessarily. As a student of marketing, I can tell you their marketing is outstanding.Note: I did not say inferior product…the product has to be high quality.

Lesson 2 is persistence. The initial launch of the infomercials were a failure in its first few attempts. Again, in business a valuable lesson here – don’t give up if at first you don’t succeed.

Lesson 3: Great Marketing Kills– oh, marketing. They key to a lot of success or failure is marketing, or lack thereof.Kudos for the man behind the scenes – Carl Deikeler.

Lesson 4: leveraging technology and dare to be different – you won’t find great results for specialty retailers of this product. Most sales are online. Technology has allowed this product to reach many countries quicker than any other time.

Lessson 5: Create a movement. Everyone is talking about this program. When talking fitness and getting in better shape, the results are there – people do better as part of a group. This is a movement, a culture of p90xers!

Lesson 6: Provide a recipe. Yes, everyone knows that exercise is good for you and we should move every day. I am convinced most people do not want to think about what they need to do. Tell them how to get results. Make it safe, provide progressions and challenge them to follow the program. Recipes sell.

Lesson 7: Focus on a niche market. This product did not try to be all things to all people. It focused on a niche market. It dared them to be extreme and go for it. And guess what, the creators are doing ..they are now targeting new niches –active aging fitness, deconditioned etc.

Lesson 8: Testimonials. The infomercials took off once they started using social proof that it worked. People love testimonials. Before and after stories work in health and fitness.

Lesson 9: Fitness needs to be accessible. In home training is a huge market. With technology and the quality of good fitness equipment, the movement of body weight exercises , interval training etc. .. there are now more opportunities to integrate fitness into our days. This is good as our busy culture is really struggling with a big chunk of time 4-5 times a week to get to work out.

Who would have thought it to be true …a simple program incorporating jumping, yoga, martial arts and strength training built into a $400 million a year empire!! Many lessons that we can learn from.

Let me know what you think.

Greg

More on the program featured in this article here

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/29/business/29exercise.html?_r=1

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