GDPR is a wake-up call on the value of member data

By Daniel Waide

The advent of GDPR – the new EU data protection laws that come into force in May – is causing headaches for many operators. How to harvest a prospect database? How to maintain an audience for direct marketing initiatives? How to even keep the conversation going with existing members?

It will no doubt be even more challenging in the light of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, with consumers the world over beginning to re-assess their previously unquestioning willingness to share their data.

But ultimately the answer is clear. Businesses need to give their customers and prospects the strongest possible reason to want to hear from them. They need to instil confidence that data won’t be misused, but will instead be used to add true value to people’s lives, so people opt in to communications.

Of course, the GDPR legislation relates specifically to individual data – data that identifies and pertains to a specific person, and that could be used to target them in the selling of a product or service.

But it is nonetheless a wake-up call when it comes to data generally. What do we hold, how are we using it, and crucially, are we using it to add value to our customers?

The fitness industry is perhaps guiltier than most, with vast reams of data lying dormant rather than being used to improve the product. There may now be restrictions over using data at a personal level, but we can still gain huge insights into how we package and speak about our offering – and indeed what that offering is – simply by analysing what our members are doing at a quantitative, anonymised level.

This is something we fundamentally believe in at Wexer – because we know that data, used in this way, can improve the member experience.

This thought lies at the heart of Wexer Count, a tracker that complements the Wexer virtual class system by accurately counting and logging the number of people taking part in each virtual class. On the surface of things it’s a simple idea, but used well it allows health club operators to understand member interests and usage patterns, tailoring the studio schedule around what members actually want. The result? Busier classes, happier members and a class offering that maximises the widely-recognised benefit of group exercise: boosting retention.

Find out more about Wexer Count.