Posts Tagged consumer

Bally Fitness: Are Free MP3’s An Incentive?

Bally Fitness' Website

Bally Fitness' Promotional Page for Free MP3s

Bally Fitness decided to offer a new way to attract new customers: offer them 20 free MP3 songs. Well, since most people listen to music on their earphones while using fitness machines, what a great way to attract new fitness club members.

Well, the insight was there: people listen to music when working out. But on a strategic level, my question is, will this work? Or, are free MP3’s relevant to subscribing to a gym?

The Problems I Found

1. The Relevancy

The importance of downloading MP3s (or paying for it) vs. the importance of committing to go to a fitness club is a totally different story.

Since Bally is using this campaign to attract new customers, perhaps the first insightful question should be: Are these non-members ready to commit to challenge themselves to invest in a valuable workout? Well, if not, then they will not pay a monthly fee to use that service that they know they won’t end up using at all. When deciding to join a gym, it’s a matter of commitment: do I have the time? Do I have the physical ability? How many times will I go in a week? Is that worth the monthly payments? I can exercise for free outdoors can’t I?

To make such a decision, one goes through a lot – about his/her life. If he’s working every day from 8AM – 8PM, I doubt he’ll have the time to join the gym. I mean, he’s got kids to take care of, have dinner, etc. If she’s traveling for work every week, she can use the hotel’s gym on her stay at a remote location. Why pay for this?

So after an evaluation of one’s lives, seeing “20 FREE MP3’s” won’t matter at all. It’s trivial compared to the commitment and effort they must put into deciding whether they should join or not.

2. The Burden

Well, to get the free 20 MP3 songs, the campaign tells one to join the gym online. Then, the user must go onto the Universal Music’s website (since Bally’s is partnering with Universal Music (and paying a hefty fee) for this promotion) and look for their choice of songs. Now, the user should just wait…. for, I don’t know, 10 days? Bally will send a redemption code, together with a link, and then there are further instructions. It doesn’t seem like much a process since the music’s basically free. But when the importance of MP3 downloads are trivial to the decision-making point, having a complex process doesn’t help at all. It’s just too much.

Well Then, What’s the Solution?

First, I would not have done this campaign. Or at least, this campaign should have been targeted at return-customers, or their most loyal customers to extend their subscriptions.

Second, if downloads were to be offered, it should be offered within the website – make the downloading part of the Bally’s Fitness Website experience, not of a totally different entity.

Third, I would suggest, dig deeper into the touchpoints – After What Process Will That Person Click The “Join the Club” Button? Many strategies will follow from here.

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What Google Needs… For Its Future

Google. Wow. It’s a revolution. It’s simple. It’s clean. And it’s cool.

It has many, many cool features. And it’s fast.

It’s definitely what we need in today’s world of computing.

But let’s take it down the line of time: say, in 10 years?

According to Pew Internet & American Life Project, global technology will be low cost – and virtually everywhere. Virtual reality will become reality in the workforce and at home. The speed of the Internet will be at a minimum of 1 gigabit per second, anywhere on earth. (Right now, the fastest offered by Verizon FiOS is 50 megabits per second – my Comcast is at 6mbps, so imagine around 100 times faster, or you can download around 15,000 MP3 songs in a minute).

Now, do you think you will use text-based, minimal graphics offered by Google? I know I won’t.

So let’s tackle the problems first. First off, Google, unless you set it up to your personal page, only gives you the minimalist option – a keyword search bar, a cool Google logo, and some links that you have to click on to navigate through. In 10 years, this will become a nuisance. Even today, Google’s coolest new products aren’t really visible – unless you actually go into their cool features page.

Google must start preparing for the development of newest technologies. It’s business model – text-based, non-cluttered advertising based on its super clean and fast text-based searches, should somehow be changed. It needs to rework its landing page, and start bringing in more interactivity and graphics and multimedia. It’s time to start shifting to a new era and reposition itself if it wants to hold its #1 spot in searches.

If Google doesn’t prepare (I’m sure they are preparing internally), Yahoo, Bing, AOL, and even Lycos could become the next leaders in search engines.

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