The Power of Marketing

shutterstock_190832810That there is power in a name is something Matt Plapp recently found out.

For a year and a half, the co-owner of CrossFit The Tracks in Erlanger, Kentucky, called the CrossFit introduction course at the gym an On-ramp Class. However, when the name changed to the Beginner Class, the numbers proved what something is called matters. “We’ve seen a pretty consistent growth [in the class],” said Plapp.

He explained that many people still don’t know what CrossFit is or what ‘on-ramp’ means. By simply changing the name, CrossFit The Tracks just had its largest beginners class ever.

Marketing doesn’t have to be big displays on billboards and commercials during the Super Bowl. It can be small tweaks and changes to the way owners market their gyms and programs, as shown above.

The Kentucky Box also offers a class called CardioFit, a CrossFit program without the Olympic lifting and focused on metabolic conditioning. However, since it is still marketed under the brand of CrossFit The Tracks, Plapp noted there remains some hesitancy from prospects to join. So, he came up with a solution.

Launching soon is The Tracks Fitness website that will offer boot camps over the summer, classes exactly the same as CardioFit but just under a different name. “We found that we lose out on a lot of new people because they see CrossFit … Potential new members we find through our Groupon or Facebook advertising or emails or the different things we do in the community won’t see the word CrossFit, and they’ll come in and enjoy the class, and that will get them over the hump that they’re at a CrossFit gym,” explained Plapp.

Along with various promotions and targeted ads on Facebook — for instance, the beginner class ads are targeted to runners who Plapp has found to be interested in CrossFit —, Plapp also uses radio advertising, TV, buses, billboards, magazine ads, Sweat Angels and more to market his gym.

“No one thing gets a person into your business,” said Plapp. “It’s an accumulation of five, six, seven, eight, nine [different things].”

For example, someone might watch the Box’s commercial on TV. Then, a week later he or she sees a friend check in at the gym. Two weeks after that they drive by and glimpse the Box’s signage out front. Plapp shared recently a girl took three months before she came in and joined the gym. Although that might sound like a lot of work for one member, Plapp said something telling. “If I don’t have time to call ten people a week that inquire about our gym, I’m in the wrong business,” he said, adding he has another full-time job running an advertising business.

While ads and marketing can get people to reach out, Plapp said that the personal touch can’t be ignored. Whenever someone inquires about his Box, he will call or text them immediately. “I found that by doing that versus emailing, I get a lot better response,” he said. “You’ve got to do a little personalization.”

Ultimately, Plapp is just hoping to get people into the Box because once they come, he knows they’ll be hooked. “There’s so many people I run into that I have to convince to come in,” he said. “Once they get in to CrossFit, they love it.”

Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at