When one thinks of marketing, they may be thinking of in-your-face promotions, advertising and other “noise.” In reality, marketing is about understanding the student’s perception of the product — i.e. your rec center — and discovering methods to positively impact that feeling. Some people on a college campus are searching for a place where they belong. Others have established their identity and how they will continue to navigate their time. Whatever the case, it’s our innate human response to crave social interaction. You can utilize this understanding to benefit engagement at your rec center.
Consider refocusing on one of your main goals now: to offer a safe space for community-building while promoting an active lifestyle. Successful rec centers have created a space where students are able to establish new relationships and develop consistent gatherings. Build comprehensive integrated marketing tactics around camaraderie. Think about hosting non-fitness social events to allow individuals to become more comfortable in your space. Let your rec center reach beyond your physical space by facilitating events in other community spaces. When your recreational activities get introduced as more than just fitness in one building, your campus audience broadens. What we want to do here is offer your campus community an all-welcoming, unmatched social experience.
Rather than leaning solely on well-designed posters and precise verbiage for campus rec attendance, reach and retain students by producing an emotive response. Alter your campus community’s mindset on rec offerings by better understanding the feelings people come away with after engaging in your activities. Their outlook on the center after attacking personal goals or participating in group training can be varied and valuable. Measure this by enlisting your staff to gauge the campus’ perspective on rec center activities. Supply post-workout and post-event surveys to hear what’s working and tactics for improvement. Keep an eye out for word-of-mouth marketing that can be used to your center’s advantage. Analyze the availability of your offerings to see where extra attention could result in increased participation.
Ashley Haberman is the U.S. marketing manager at Johnson Health Tech North America, parent company of Matrix Fitness. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit matrixfitness.com.