🪄 How to Tap into an Untouched Market

🪄 How to Tap into an Untouched Market

Planet Fitness - The gym designed for people who don’t go to the gym.

As of  2024, Planet Fitness has more locations and members than any other gym chain in the United States, generating over $1B in revenue last year.

All while:

How did they do it?

Is it their $10/month membership? Free pizza Mondays?

Or did Planet Fitness create an environment that succeeds exactly because it is less “gymy” than other gyms?

Here’s what we got for ya:

  • 💪 From Weak to Peak Performance

  • 🥵 High-Intensity Marketing

  • 🏋️ Pumping Profits

Read time: 4 min 43 sec

💪 From Weak to Peak Performance

Back in 1992, when Planet Fitness was founded, it was nothing special. The gym was like any other: a place for the fit to get fitter. 

Planet Fitness had heavy free weights, juice bars, group exercise classes, and even a daycare. 

But they weren’t seeing the results they wanted. 

That’s when the Grondahl brothers (founders) had their revolutionary idea.

If every gym caters to the same 15% of the population, there will be endless competition. 

What would happen if Planet Fitness targeted the other 85%?

So the brothers started brainstorming: What keeps the rest of the population from the gym?

They came up with two things:

#1- Gymtimidation: One survey found that the gym is the 3rd most common place that people feel judged, after social events and public speaking. So Planet Fitness needed to be a place where the 85% felt welcome. 

Planet Fitness deemed their gym a “Judgement Free Zone.” With the misspelled word judgment because telling the team member they wrote it wrong would be too judgmental…

And they added the famous Lunk Alarm to discourage bodybuilders from drawing attention to themselves. In theory, it goes off whenever someone starts grunting from a hard workout. 


Bro his own lunk alarm #fyp #gym #planetfitness #workingout #gains #fypage #fypシ #memes #dankmemes

But in reality, the employees don’t set it off often. When they do, it’s either to play into the meme or if someone is being unnecessarily obnoxious.

#2- Accessibility: Paying $50 for a gym membership that you don’t know if you will use doesn’t make sense. But for Planet Fitness it’s just $10/month. That’s the same as a Chipotle burrito. Planet Fitness’s CEO describes it as “ a ‘get you off the couch’ price.” It’s an easier cost to accept for first-time gym goers. 

Combining confidence and accessibility, Planet Fitness made their recipe for success. Now let’s look at how they got people’s attention with their genius marketing…

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🥵 High-Intensity Marketing

Planet Fitness invests into its marketing, spending 9¢ of every dollar it earns on ads.

Not only are the ads catered to first-time and inexperienced gym-goers, but they deter your stereotypical strength trainer from joining. 

Most of their ads fall under these three categories:

#1- Encouraging inexperienced gym goers

“Don’t join a gym, join Planet Fitness.” When you go to Planet Fitness, you won’t feel like the non-athletic kid in PE class. The message is all about freedom from judgment.

Nobody is judging you, not even if you look like Sasquatch.

#2- Discouraging bodybuilders 

One of the best ways to unite people together is to give them a common enemy. 

These commercials tell inexperienced gym users that Planet Fitness is on their side, not the bodybuilders.

Basically, Planet Fitness is non-judgmental, unless you look like Arnold Schwarzenegger.

#3- Celebrity endorsements

The public idolized celebrities. So when someone famous tells you a product is good, you are more likely to trust them than a random commercial actor. 

To appeal to Gen-Z, Megan Thee Stallion (AKA Mother Fitness) wishes Big Fitness Energy on everyone who goes to Planet Fitness.

And for millennials, Lindsay Lohan appears to be glowing in every part of her life because she is working out at Planet Fitness.

Now that Planet Fitness has attracted its target consumer base, let’s look at how they profit from them.

🏋️ Pumping Profits

The average Planet Fitness gym has 7K members, but can only hold around 300 people at a time.

At most gyms, the average member goes twice a week. If this was true for Planet Fitness, the gym would be so packed you wouldn’t be able to move.

But at Planet Fitness, every month, 60% of members don’t even step through the front door.

The $10/month membership is great at drawing people in. But it’s even better at making them stay.

Sure, I haven’t gone to the gym for the past two months… But I’ll start back next month. This time I really will. Besides, it’s only $10…

Also, to cancel the membership, you have to physically go to the gym or mail an official letter, which takes effort.

So for Planet Fitness, this is basically free money.

Also, Planet Fitness offers a Black Card membership for $24.99/month, with benefits like access to all locations, infinite guest passes, and tanning beds.

Yes, this is real…

More than 60% of members choose to upgrade to the Black Card, bringing the average customer’s pay to $17.60/month.

This helps Planet Fitness keep its $10 price the same, despite inflation.

And bring in an annual revenue of $1B in 2023.

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