Today I finally got off my fat butt and decided to formulate my plan to get back into shape. I’ve been fit most of my life and I’ve always done something to stay that way. I’m in my late 40’s now, and it’s far easier to take time off and much harder to climb back. Nearly 4 years ago, I had my first child and this has only made things worse – in a better kind of way! I have no time to myself, yet a few years ago, I decided to purchase P90X, a personal fitness system that takes as much as 90 minutes a day of my time.
I’ve always known it took hard work to get the results I want, whether that’s in business or in fitness. So, I started with a bang and committed myself to P90X. I liked it! And Tony Horton (the trainer) is an upbeat guy and fun to workout with. Ok, the same stuff get’s old after awhile, but the beauty of this 12 DVD program is that it’s based on muscle confusion – so each month you’re doing different programs. Basically it stays fresh.
BeachBody® is a brand owned by Product Partners, LLC. I never really thought to look at that until today – and suddenly, things are beginning to make a world of sense to me. The reason I looked today is because I’ve been a little lax lately and haven’t been working out very much. Long story, same story. While I thought I had my DVDs tucked away in a nice safe location, I underestimated the abilities of my 3 year old son to seek and destroy. OK, I can’t he destroyed, but I know for fact that he found my original P90 box which is now empty of the 2 DVDs that came in it. Of my 12 P90X DVDs, 2 are missing.
I’m anal about this stuff so I know I didn’t lose them. And my son, after hours of interrogation STILL readily admits that he lost them .
Today I decided to call Beachbody® to order a replacement for the 2 P90X DVDs I lost – I mean, my son lost. Given my experience with the company to date, I didn’t think it would be a problem at all. I’ve already purchased the product (the content) and I talk this product with everyone I meet that shows an interest fitness. Basically, I’m an advocate in the real world. Never had a reason to write about, until now.
So, I went to the website and and initiated an online chat session with Craig. I told Craig my story and he went off to confirm that I was a customer.
This is where I’m going to stop and tell you what the original 12 DVD set for P90x cost me. It was just over $100.
When Craig came back, he informed me the replacement, per DVD was $29.95 plus $6.95 shipping and handling. GULP! I reminded him that I was simply ordering a replacement to a DVD I lost. I had already purchased the content. How much does a DVD plus some inconvenience cost, anyway? He confirmed that this was the price. So, my hands tied and a strong desire to get back to it, I order the 1 DVD I absolutely needed. All told with tax we’re approach $40, or just under half the price for the entire 12 DVD set.
Let’s Examine The Company
I’ve always thought this group was fairly innovative. They’ve used the power of online communities to deal with the motivational of the problem. Creating peer groups of people struggling through the same issue is one powerful way to keep people motivated. After all, we’re not talking about 15 minutes here. These are extremely intense 60-90 minute workouts and it’s tough to stay motivated. It’s even tougher to restart after a week or two off.
They also provide a lot of content on diet. It’s good stuff. The best I’ve seen over the years for sure. The provide some good tools to help your chart your success as you go as well, and for many people this is a very powerful type of positive reinforcement. The last thing they do is assign a coach to you. And this is where everything begins to fall apart in my opinion.
The coach is a BeachBody product user who has decided to make an income from the various products being sold. They are not employees, so even if there were a customer-centric culture going on in the company, how could you possibly enforce it across this army of fitness experts. The simple truth is that you can’t. So, I’ve watched my coach over the past few years attempt to stay in front of us using Facebook or the occasional product pitch email wrapped in motivational talk. Booorrring! Wow, for a company that seemed to be on the innovation track and a strong tie-in to social community building, all I see now is a pure marketing organization, and one that really doesn’t understand customers they way they project themselves.
I am no longer an advocate. I’m not even loyal anymore, let alone satisfied.
Where Is Their Strategic Flaw?
The answer is very simple. They don’t really understand the job being done by their customers. The job doesn’t have an unlimited budget, but the people doing it are highly motivated. Yes, I made the purchase today because the product is good. But the original attraction was both price and perceived effectiveness. Instead of dropping thousands on a home gym or $50 a month for a gym membership, you can get this set of DVD’s and a plan for about $100. And you can do it at home, cutting the travel time out of the equation.
P90X people must to be highly motivated to do what they do. And this does create a sort of advocacy for the product and for the trainer, Tony Horton. I was an advocate, until today. I was asked to 4 times the original cost of a single DVD after having paid for the content already. They couldn’t simply offer my a nominal cost for the physical DVD and shipping. Nope, they couldn’t do that little thing.
This transaction would have cost BeachBody (Partner Products, LLC) nothing. So why do they have this policy of taking advantage of loyal users of their products? Well, that’s a question that only Carl Daikeler, the CEO can answer. By the way, you will not find comment form at the other end of that link. However, there are comments at his blog, which may or may not be moderated
The Moral of The Story
You can take an inside-out marketing company and give them social tools and an army of affiliates, but you just can’t get them to really understand their customer needs when all they’re doing is shouting about their product via Facebook, emails, and all night infomercials. It may be a decent product or portfolio of products, but in the end, is there really any value coming back to me, the customer? I know some would argue the value-in-use argument. However, when your 3 year old gets involved there is no longer any use. And this is the strategic plan BeachBody came up with? The answer no, there is not value in use, because the chain of use has been broken.
This is one of the reasons why using sentiment analysis to manage your brand is an inside-out endeavor and really not very strategic. First, you are focused on your brand (inside-out) and second, it’s too late retain this defected customer. I wonder if BeachBody even uses a social media monitoring tool? Maybe I’ll find out.