So recently I decided to get back into the gym and get myself back in shape after about a 2 year gym workout hiatus (courtesy of getting adjusted to parenthood).

I started looking into gyms in the area, and the one that’s nearest to me (but still almost 20 min. from home) is also the one with the best membership plan - or so I’ve heard. They make it pretty easy to become a member and stop at any time, which isn’t the case for all gyms.

So my wife and I went to said gym for a nice little tour. I was already familiar with their marketing and policies that are designed to discourage heavy body builders, but I’m pretty well past those days now anyway. I just want to find a nice gym home where I can go about three times a week and get myself toned and back into some level of decent shape.

From seeing their videos online I knew about the “lunk alarm” that goes off in their facility when an overly agressive gym member drops weights or “grunts” while working out.

But what I didn’t expect was what I found out when coming for a simple tour: It’s winter, so I had my stocking hat on - which incidentally I like to wear while working out, since I’m an avid sweater (read: “sweats profusely”). It’s something that is pretty important to me while working out so I don’t make others in the gym grossed out by my sweat dripping everywhere. I consider that…well, considerate.

But not so at said fitness club.

I was clearly told at the outset of my tour of the facilities that I would have to abide by their “dress code” which is designed to help members not feel intimidated by other members - which it was clearly told me that I looked wearing my stocking hat.

So I found it somewhat amusing (and honestly a bit offensive) that they were trying so hard to make their core audience feel catered to and “not judged” that they were willing to judge and step on the toes of those whom they don’t really see as their core audience. In this case I guess that’s me.

But in all honestly, it’s pretty clever from a marketing and business standpoint. And to be honest, most businesses should probably do a little more of this (well not the offending potential customers part).

So many businesses try so hard to be all things to all people, that they forget that they only need to be the set of things that their audience wants.

Planet (Non)Tolerance has clearly figured this out. They realize that they really only need to appeal to the set of people that they want to join their gym, and by going past that line in their brand identity or marketing, they’ll only dilute the appeal they could have to their core audience.

Incidentally this is also a huge money move for this particular fitness outfit if you calculate the overall effects of their marketing/business model. By detracting the heavy lifters and body builders (whom they claim are going to make other gym-goers intimidated to join) they are effectively eliminating the group who also typically makes up probably 90% of total facility use at any particular gym.

Meaning they are effectively reducing the amount of operational expense per customer by a pretty high margin. It’s brilliant business, really.

So here’s to not being all things to all people, but just being what your audience is looking for. You have very little hope at succeeding in the first as a marketer/business person anyway. Niche all the way baby!!

“Ahhhhuaahhaaaahhh!!!" (*Arnold power grunt*)