Where Is Your Fitness Tracker?

I recently met with a fitness company discussing where the industry is going and where they should be focusing their investment dollars going forward. After a fair amount of deliberation we decided fitness trackers. You cannot ignore the success fitness tacker have had over the past few years. Fitbit just went public and raised $732M. This market segment is not going away anytime soon. Matter-of-fact, it is thriving and growing. How can fitness companies take advantage of this trend and provide better benefits to us, the consumer?

With all the hype we hear around fitness trackers why are so many being tossed into the junk drawer, never to be seen again? The fitness company and I made a couple of rather obvious points about the trackers today.

  • They track your activity
  • They track your sleep
  • They track your caloric burn

What’s missing is the results of the actions you are completing each day. How do we make better use of the data being received from fitness trackers? First, health clubs need to be partnering with fitness tracker companies to bring the data into the brick and mortar facility. By combining health club data and non-health club data (tracker data) you have a more complete picture of the club member’s fitness. This information will allow the club to provide a better service to their members and stickiness they do not have today. I am a member of a health club. Other than it being only one and a half miles from my home there is nothing compelling to keep me at the club. If they were collecting my fitness data in and out of the club they would have information I would consider very valuable and something other clubs would not have. I will be more inclined to stay at my club even when a new one opens up only a few miles away. And, yes, a new club did just open up and I am considering the change.

Clubs have professionals/trainers who can make use of the data you generate in and out of the club. They can provide analysis and offer recommendations to help you achieve your fitness goals. If you belong to a club not offering such services you should be asking if they plan to offer such a service and if so, when.

We have been reading articles lately telling us which states are the most active, who has the greatest number of runners and who takes the most steps. Great information if that’s what interests you. The fitness tracker companies are gathering lots of data and they need to be feeding that data back to us, the consumer or better yet, the creators of the data. If I walk 10,000 steps a day what benefit is that having on my life?  Sure, 10,000 is better than 5,000 steps and 20,000 is better than 10,000, but so what. What is the impact?  Did I just add 2 minutes to my life by walking 10,000 steps today? Am I fighting off diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease? Please tell me the impact of those hard earned steps I took today or the seven solid hours of sleep I had last night.

If the tracker companies can’t start providing us with the analytics to better understand the data we are creating then the devices will all end up in the junk drawer. Those who lead an active lifestyle will tend to wear the device longer than the non-active, but the lack of long battery life and the lack of usable data will eventually have the active lifestyle user’s fitness tracker succumbing to the junk drawer as well. 

There is more data being generated around fitness today than ever before. We need to make use of the data through analytics to help us understand trends. Fitness clubs need to partner with trackers to provide a much more comprehensive analysis to their members. We are just starting to un-tap the valuable information provided by fitness trackers and the fitness clubs are a natural user of the data to add value for their members.

Tying fitness tracker data with health club data offers much more value to the consumer. It is one step closer to getting the tracker out of the drawer and back on the wrist. In addition to the helping the consumer, it is another way in which the health club can generate more revenue. It is a win, win for everyone.

My conclusion to the fitness company I was collaborating with was to invest in software to make use of the data and set themselves apart from others in their market. If you can tell me running an extra five miles a week can help me achieve a particular racing goal or lose so many pounds or possibly reduce the risk of heart disease I am all ears. And guess what, you have a very excited customer.

Is your club partnering with any fitness trackers today? If they are, what are they doing with the data to make it useful to you?

PRracer has training programs to help you achieve your running goals. We certainly recommend the use of a smart watch. The data combined with our training programs will provide the information you need to know if you are on track to reach your goals.


Mike Haedrich
Mike Haedrich

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