Bally Total Fitness is the largest, and only nationwide, commercial operator of fitness centers. Bally's has approximately four million members and 420 facilities across the United States and around the globe. (ballyfitness.com, 2004) A marketing audit was performed on the company in order to assess their total marketing program to see what was and was not working to increase business. The following will summarize key findings of environmental aspects and marketing. Finally, any recommended actions that may be considered for future planning will be discussed.
The environmental aspects that were considered for the Bally Total Fitness audit were demographics, markets and competition. Demographic trends have shown that the older segments of the United States (ages 45-65+) are growing the fastest. Bally Total Fitness would be wise to consider marketing towards this age group as their needs change. An estimated 50 million people will be members to a fitness center in just six years, the year 2010. This is due to an increased desire towards healthy living. The general population is becoming more aware of the benefits of exercise to promote health and wellness.
The Markets part of the audit shows that there is three major trends that health clubs should be attentive of. These major trends are insurance paid weight-loss, a global battle against obesity and an end to low-carb confusion. Health clubs are part of the solution and should promote themselves as such. Bally Total Fitness can be a guide towards losing weight and increased education on obesity and to guide people through the low-carb confusion.
24 Hour Fitness and Gold's Gym are Bally's top two competitors. While both companies have been successful, Bally Total Fitness still boasts more members and more facilities than either one. However, both competitors of Bally's are not too far behind. Bally's should strive hard to stay on top of the competition. This can be achieved by analyzing the competitors' strengths and weaknesses. If any similar weaknesses exist, changes can be made to improve on those to differentiate Bally's from the rest.
Bally's has an excellent product. It is something that all people, no matter what their size or shape, can benefit from. The current "Every Body Needs Something" campaign is an excellent idea to get this message across. Also, growing the Marketing Department by adding seasoned executives was a good choice. Since many of these executives are highly experienced they can all collaborate and ultimately come up with sound ideas that will help the company grow.
Bally Total Fitness' objectives are reasonable and go along with their mission statement of being a Total Fitness Resource. It is important that all levels of the company are aware of the objectives and strategies that are being used to meet those objectives. While Bally's has been doing well at this, they should never get complacent and always be attentive to what is going on with all of their staff and all of their members. Effective training and constant evaluation of staff members will insure top-notch customer service.
In short, Bally Total Fitness has been faring well in the fitness industry. First quarter results of 2004 have shown that net revenue has increased from the previous year's first quarter but by only 2%. By more aggressive marketing this number can increase more by the next year. Both a market penetration strategy and a market expansion strategy should be utilized to further this objective. These strategies will ensure that current and potential consumers will be aware of the product Bally Total Fitness has to offer. The current campaign says it best, "Every Body Needs Something" and Bally Total Fitness has just what that body needs.
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