ClassPass, a new gym alternative, found a clever twist on traditional marketing tactics to effectively increase signups, while filling a relevant need in the fitness market. As someone who represents their target market, here’s why I’m impressed with their launch campaign, and their product offering.

ClassPass is a gym membership that allows you to attend various studio classes for 99 dollars a month. Fitness is expensive in this town, if you are looking for a quality experience. As a spoiled tech fitness nerd, in order to get convenience and quality, I’m either paying 170 dollars a month all-inclusive for a gym, like Equinox, that provides a variety of classes and gym equipment, or paying around $100-$130 a month for unlimited classes to one type of fitness like yoga, Bar Method or Pilates.

While I love Equinox, it is just too expensive. Committing to only one studio with less classes leaves me feeling like I put all of my gym $$ into one basket, without leaving any room for other type of fitness training.

Historically, studios offer an incredible discount for new users, with the hopes that you will be hooked, and continue paying the elevated price. This is traditional marketing: promote a discount for new members, to prove how confident you are in the product, while letting doubtful folks the chance to try it out.

Unfortunately, these studios’ demographic are young, ambitious, busy people who like trying out new trends and “mix it up” to keep their fitness routine fresh and exciting. More than once I have heard of friends who sign up for the “new member” package, only to drop it 30 days later to join the new studio offer down the street.

Basically, the reason why people like Tinder, is the same reason why people like a new studio: something fresh and shiny, with all the hopes for success set in the future, and no real commitment is necessary.

ClassPass appeals to the partner studios by providing a way to attract committed members, and appeals to the consumer needs, allowing them the flexibility of choice and commitment, while making the price a lot more reasonable.

So, the demand is there, but it’s foolish to think that having a good product is enough to make it in this city. While diligently filling out the Signup form fields (gotta support my fellow marketers) and selecting “Friend” when asked how I heard of ClassPass, I couldn’t help but think: what did they do differently to make their message shine out of the 500 other gym options I’m marketed to?

A common struggle for new B2C companies is the need to rely heavily on “word of mouth,” in order to gain traction within the first year. More often than not, it seems as if the only option is to spend way too much ad spend money up front, before determining whether the product is even viable or not.

Where ClassPass really crushed it was how they marketed their product. For a limited time, they allowed people to try it for 30 days, for 1 dollar. They then incentivized studio partners to promote the same offer, for a limited time determined by the studio.

Why was this so smart? Everyone has seen discounts before, and at this point we have all seen the 50% discount offered to new members for 30 days. ClassPass ensured there would be no doubt this deal would be talked about. Essentially, in creating this bold, 1 dollar campaign, they are able to attribute campaign ROI for any new customer referral coming from “Word of Mouth.” Everyone loves a good deal, and everyone loves to talk about a good deal they snagged. If it’s 1 dollar, you bet people are going to talk about it.

In a saturated market of discounts, deals and ads, ClassPass took a bold marketing campaign to stand out and get their message heard. It also helps that their product is addressing an actual gap in the market.

Would love to hear people’s thoughts on this!

Btw, all of this is strictly from consumer speculation and experience, I didn’t interview anyone at ClassPass, nor is this a stealth marketing ploy from the company to reach all of my 10s of fans. 😉