Marketing to Millennials: Gyms in a College Town

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Marketing to Millennials: Gyms in a College Town

These days, it seems like everywhere you turn there is some new  marketing idea or campaign dying to get your attention or to start the next “trend.” What I have recently come to realize though is, as a college student, I am exposed to these vast marketing techniques even more than the average person.  At first, I wondered why it was that I was being hit with different ads and products everywhere I turned, but the answer quickly became clear. It isn’t because I am involved in lots of different organizations and activities, or because I am female, or even because I go to UGA….it’s because I am a millennial. I believe that millennials are, by far, the most targeted group by companies and advertisers on any average day and I have decided to explore the various ways in which this is true. This week I decided to focus on a type of advertising I have been exposed to since the minute I stepped foot in Athens- marketing attacks from the gyms in Athens.

When I was in high school, I decided to join a gym with some friends so we could all work out and take classes together. Gyms can be pretty insistent after you show interest in joining them. They send emails, call all the time, and insist you meet with a representative. When I came to UGA, however, this was taken to a whole new level. There are ads on the radio, flyers in stores, and constant gym representatives offering you free classes to try and get you in the door of their gym. I ultimately joined Crunch in Athens, but that hasn’t stopped any of the other gyms from trying to get me to become a member. Representatives from various gyms come and speak at club organization and sorority chapter almost every week and promise competitive prices and unbeatable results. It’s no secret that they just want your business though.

While I do think the college town gyms take their marketing tactics to a whole new level, I really can’t blame them. A college town like Athens is the perfect place for unique gym settings that offer classes or other fun ways to work out- and they make sure they remind you of this. These gyms continue to compete for millennial business by offering things like 24 hour a day gyms, free trials to classes, tanning, hydro massage, rewards fir referring a friend and even free t-shirts, food, and other goodies if you join. As a student who knew she wanted to join a gym, I was sure to take advantage of all the promos I could get my hands on. At the end of the day, while I think it can be a little overbearing and, at some times annoying, I know that these businesses are just doing what they have to do to compete in this fairly saturated markets. And while I do have to listen to their pitches of “why they have the best gym” at least once a week, I will gladly continue to enjoy the free classes and promos that they continue to give me while sticking with the gym I already have.


1 Comment

Andrea Sanchez

Andrea Sanchez

October 3, 2018at 3:51 pm

There is a clear push from gyms and fitness centers in Athens to try and get new customers. Since college towns have thousands of students coming every year, there is a constant need for gyms to be marketing themselves and keeping everyone informed about what they offer. It is also interesting to compare how gyms market to college students as opposed to millennials in general whether it be at a college town or not. Recently, I read an article that spoke about how millennial interest in the gym over drinking has increased significantly more than in the past. I think for millennials, there is a greater “trend” to go to the gym and live a healthier lifestyle. These gyms may just be taking advantage of that trend and continuously try to keep pushing their gym to these students.

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