IHRSA 2014: Fitness industry is “marketing like it’s 2004”
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IHRSA 2014: Fitness industry is “marketing like it’s 2004”

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Social media and marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuk has issued a wake-up call to members of the fitness industry at IHRSA 2014 in San Diego, telling them to stop marketing “like it's 2004.”

During his address on Friday, he said large swathes of the fitness industry are currently using obsolete marketing methods and that they must future-proof these channels to attract younger members.

Vaynerchuk, who owns Vaynerchuk media and is invested in hundreds of new companies, including venture-funded startup and transportation network company Uber, said: “I researched a bunch of businesses (that are here) and the biggest takeaway is this room is marketing like it's 2004.”

“You are like many other businesses. You need to market in the year you are in. I actually market 18 months ahead.”

The 38-year-old, who was born in the former Soviet Union before moving to America as a child, said conventional advertising methods like fliers, newspaper advertising and billboards are not the way to reach prospective members in 2014. By building a substantial presence on social media platforms, he argued, businesses can attract their current target market, as well as teenagers who will be their members ten years down the line.

He explained that providing useful content for both members and prospective members on social media – both through obvious channels like Facebook and Twitter, plus up-and-comers like Instagram, Vine and Snapchat – is the best way to engage.

“I believe every single person in this room is a media company first,” he said. “We are living in the biggest cultural shift of all time. You need to get (people’s) attention in the noisiest world we’ve ever been in.”

Vaynerchuk was one of four headline speakers at IHRSA – the others being Sally Hogshead, Dan Heath and Luke Williams – which ran from 12-15 March.

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Social media and marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuk has issued a wake-up call to members of the fitness industry at IHRSA 2014 in San Diego, telling them to stop marketing “like it's 2004.”
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