Fear not, before you think this is going to be talking about father issues, or the weird outfits your dad wears to barbecues, it’s not. We love new balances, his jorts are safe with us. What’s not safe though is your marketing. Particularly your interest, focus, and concept of what is marketing. We are gonna need to talk about that DAD.
In today’s age the world, aka your inbox, and timeline has you fixated on Leads, particularly lead gen, and this of course being the result of Advertising. Nothing new or notable there. However, what appears to be notable is that the gurus have spent so much on their own advertising, they have changed the entire narrative around what is marketing. Advertising is part of marketing but it’s only one, if not small part.
So why are the guys who do accountability and vision coaching talking to you about marketing? Well, it’s not because we want you to do lead-gen. We tried to help you there, it was way out of our values, it failed unsurprisingly, and we learned that lesson the hard way. Which is actually why we are talking to you about marketing in the first place. As your accountability coaches, marketing is your responsibility as the owner, so we need to keep you accountable to it.
Sighs… I get it, you didn’t want to hear that. We know, and trust me I wish it weren’t true either. If not you then who? Well, as you have all learned and keep learning, and we have learned too, having someone do your marketing as simple as you would like. The truth is, till you have the budget to hire a marketing department, the title lands on your desk. CMO; Chief Marketing officer, alongside CEO, CFO, COO and all the other C-Suite acronyms. Which is why we built this company in the first place.
You have to do it all, but that doesn’t mean you have to do more, just less, better. Which is why we are here, talking about marketing. It’s also why we talk about finance, ops, vision, and the list that goes on. We have to not so subtly remind you of your duties, clarify them, set better goals, and ensure you execute them so you can move on.
As it stands with Marketing, the responsibility is actually pretty simple, and dare I say fun. Marketing is just your businesses ability to tell its story. Which, if you own this thing, I would assume you love telling people anyway. Where it becomes a problem is competing for attention. Other people’s attention.
Marketing is really that simple, how well you tell people about your business. Which I think succinctly sums up why it’s your responsibility. Because if you can’t tell people about your business, I’m not sure who you think is going to?
As an affiliate owner, there is a pretty general fault line responsible for all of this “frustration”. The vast majority of affiliate owners, like 99%, were driven to become an affiliate based on their experience and exposure to CrossFit. “CrossFit changed my life”. Which is A-fucking-mazing, however that does not pass the first sniff test of whether you have a good business idea.
Normally, in the “real world” (sarcasm) when someone stumbles onto a business idea, they get very excited. (I hope) This excitement does not mean it’s a good business idea, not yet anyway. The next step is taking this idea and excitement and packaging into something succinct they can present to… wait for it… strangers. If Strangers buy it, they are called customers, and you yourself a viable business.
Note that I said strangers, and not friends or family (they are too nice to you). In order to convince a stranger to buy your thing, you have to be really good at explaining what it is, what it does, but truly simply what it offers them. The better you get at this, the better you get at customers buying your thing. This is called marketing.
For most affiliates, you skipped this step.
Because you bought in your mind what was a franchise, but in reality it’s just a licensure.
Let me explain…
When you buy a McDonalds franchise it costs millions. From fees, and real estate, to design necessities, staff responsibilities and minimums, and on and on. However, what you get in exchange for that upfront cost, is back end support. Things like Hamburger-U, advertising, association, marketing, legal, etc. Basically you are paying McDonalds for their ability to get strangers to give them money.
CrossFit does not, and will not, nor should you ever want them to do that for you. First of all, you only pay them a tiny fee. I get that 3k is a lot to you, but it’s laughable when you look at what a license to an Orange-Theory, F45, or other shit show costs. CrossFit does not, and cannot market for you either. Because the beauty of the affiliate is your individuality. (we will come back to this in a second)
So now you have an affiliate, you have a license to use the term CrossFit, but you haven’t considered how you are going to convince strangers to give you money. This is made worse by an untimely benefit.
CrossFit works really really well. So well that it has made a name for itself. At this point I’d even call it mainstream. (Maybe) Which favorably results in people “accidentally” walking into your business and giving you money. But, you didn’t do that, don’t get it twisted, worse, they are there for their own version of your product. Money good, service bad.
Because of this favorable convenience, affiliate owners have become confused. They got lucky up till a point with CrossFit’s ability to reach masses, but they are far behind on their ability to engage strangers. A quick test for you is how would you do what you do, if you could not enjoy the benefits of being able to use CrossFit? Aka in your name, branding or logos?
In 2020 the world got a crash course in this when they dumped the affiliate association attempting to rebrand to “Community Fitness”. Worked fine if you had enough people to begin with, or enough momentum in your community to continue.
For most though, losing that identity was well intended, but a notably eye opening experience. “Who am I without the name CrossFit”.
Which is where we all fail that sniff test originally. Affiliates did not need to consider their business model viability, because they banked on association and affiliation. However, affiliation does not afford you marketing. It’s not meant to. You wouldn’t want it to. It would force you to do things you don’t want, be who you don’t identify with, and frankly would cost you a hell of a lot more than 3k. Worse though, standardization is a threat to the community. As when we become standardized, we become vulnerable. Like an immune system. If we all as humans had the same immune system, one virus would kill us all. When one affiliate does something stupid, and you are all standardized? Yep, you all suffer. It all fails. The application process, the review process, the check ins and ups, the fees, the oversight, the legal, the whole thing would become so much more tedious and annoying.
So, let’s talk about your DAD instead
If you are an affiliate, there is one rule you might be overlooking. You must be different, you must be unique, there must be a reason for YOUR affiliate to exist, not just to be another affiliate.
This leads us to the D: Differentiate
To be in business is to stand out. To do that you must be unique. Luckily most affiliates are very unique, however they are really bad at identifying and telling this story to strangers. Which as discussed above is a big issue because most of you overlooked your need to define this at all.
The A: Attract
This is self explanatory no doubt, but that doesn’t mean it’s obvious, or conscious. As this is the biggest issue affecting the affiliate model today. Your ability to attract or get the attention of strangers or prospects. Most are banking on the notoriety of CF to attract clients but that market share is far too small for your benefit. You need to get your own attention. But to do that, you need to know what makes you different.
The last D: Direct
If you know why you are different, and you can communicate that differently, you will attract their attention. The last thing you need to do is direct them to take the action you want. Come in, visit the website, sign-up. You would be surprised how often this piece of all marketing energy is overlooked. The natural assumption is that they will just do what you want or are thinking. Nope, make it simple stupid please.
While I could write whole books or blogs on each of these, I am not a marketing guru, and do not wish to be confused as such. However, as an entrepreneur myself, particularly one who has built a company in an industry of one (No competitors or similars) I too need to think of my DAD regularly. Like, consider it in everything we do everyday.
However, unlike many of you, I know why we are different, why we must exist, and what that looks like. You do as well, you just need to really dig into it. Your Differentiator that is.
The reason I’m talking about it though is because if you are not on track to hit growth metrics, or dont have growth metrics because your business is too unpredictable, it’s my duty to remind you, and hold you accountable to the reality; marketing is your responsibility. That starts with you understanding what your marketing is.
Note, that this said nothing of advertising, lead-gen, facebook ads, etc. Because if you are different, you need to communicate differently. Doing the same as everyone will get you the same as everyone.
Spoiler: Gym owners are broke. So before you buy someone’s lead gen system that falls short of your expectations, their response is “You have to do more”. Let’s start with what you are actually doing.
How you do anything is how you do everything. That’s the central guiding principle to marketing your business. Look at your DAD, think of it often, and expand on it.
Because if you can’t, no one can.