It’s estimated that roughly 85% of all New Year’s resolutions include a promise to lose weight. 

This is why it should be no surprise that gyms typically ramp-up their marketing efforts near the end of December. 

This year, Planet Fitness decided to take that philosophy even further and invest (heavily) in the last few remaining moments of 2015 by handing out hats, shirts and VIP passes to the 1,000,000+ people who crammed into Times Square to usher in the new year. 

From an impressions standpoint, Planet Fitness certainly made a scene. Their familiar purple and yellow garb adorned the heads and hands of a great deal of the Times Square attendees, some of which were broadcast to the millions of other viewers at home or at parties around the country. With that sort of exposure it’s easy to think that this was an obvious home run for Planet Fitness, but was it really?

When it comes to your marketing plan and budget, it is always important to consider the timing (and delivery) of your messages. Start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • When is my key target most likely to consider engaging in my brand?
  • When is my key target least likely to consider engaging in my brand?
  • Is there a time when my target isn’t likely to engage with my brand but could, if prompted? 
  • What are my competitors likely to do timing-wise?

The approach Planet Fitness took was bold and new, but the argument could be made that since it was the obvious choice, it maybe wasn’t the right one. For Planet Fitness, the strategy was most likely to cash-in on the proverbial “low hanging fruit” of New Year’s Eve “resolutionists” who are more than likely planning to head to the gym come January. 

While that target is an easy get for Planet Fitness, it is also most likely a target that harbors very little in terms of long term loyalty, and therefore very little future earnings potential for the brand. A smarter move may have been an approach toward the opposite end of the spectrum, or perhaps a combination of both hemispheres.

By considering when their potential customers are least likely to engage, say, a month or two into the new year, Planet Fitness could have engaged a similarly bold strategy around Super Bowl time to grab the attention of those that weren’t able to hold onto their pledge to get in shape, or reward those who maintained their commitment to workout.

Keep timing top of mind as you consider all of your marketing decisions, and it will help your brand to make a scene in all of the right ways.