Monday, January 15, 2007

What the Tri-Cities Y Should Try, and Why

Local newspaper reports and subsequent evidence show that the new Tri-Cities YMCA director is working on a membership drive. Their message is centered around the fact that people should join to fulfill New Year's Resolutions to get healthy. The incentive is a waiver of initiation fees.

Not so sophisticated an approach in my opinion. For one, the same strategy has been tried by every health club on the planet. This does nothing to distinguish the Y from Norton Pines and other local options for exercising.

More importatly, the Y needs to ask its current members about their satisfaction level. People talk more than ads do. There are some issues with parking, hours, the state of the facilities--particularly the hot tub and sauna, as well as some exercie equipment--and maybe other factors as well. Beyond that, the Y should look at membership trends and see if there is any pattern that should be addressed. Related to that, exit interviews with people who did not renew or went elsewhere should be seriously considered before trying to lure in new members.

Messages as they are seem to assume that everyone wants to join the Y, they just need to know about it. That's naive. A little advertising exercise is needed before the new Y director is in shape for the promotion game.

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