Fitness industry collaboration meeting minutes: Comments sought, next meeting to be planned

The interest is there for the fitness industry to collaborate on a broader level to promote the common message. What the group will need is an advisory board or some leadership that has the time to develop an action plan. SNEWS® is very willing to be the communication platform to keep any effort moving. To read the minutes from the Collaboration meeting on March 6, read on...

The interest is there for the fitness industry to collaborate on a broader level to promote the common message. What the group will need is an advisory board or some leadership that has the time to develop an action plan. SNEWS® is very willing to be the communication platform to keep any effort moving.

With such a short timeline between the meeting on March 6 and the Health & Fitness Business show in mid-July, the suggestion has been that a more formal meeting be scheduled for the July show. With a rather tight two-day schedule, the only time available may be Saturday morning. SNEWS® is looking for suggestions on a meeting time and place – if not July then when and where – and what action items should be on a more formal agenda.

Below are the minutes from the March 6 meeting. Feel free to offer feedback either personally to snews ( or in the Reader Chat area by clicking below.


SNEWS® “Collaboration” Meeting at IHRSA: Thursday, March 06, 2008, 10-11:30 a.m. 


  • Steve Lindenau, President, Diamondback Fitness
  • Therese Iknoian, editor-in-chief, SNEWS®
  • Buell Ish, Vice President, Vectra Fitness
  • Mike Olson, Vice President of Marketing, Horizon Fitness
  • Robert Orr, Sales Manager, Vectra Fitness
  • Chris Strong, Director of Business Development, SGMA
  • Jeff Meeks, Director of Consumer Marketing, Star Trac
  • John Coyle, Vice President, BH North America
  • Stephen, BH North America
  • Kevin Jernigan, Co-Founder and CEO, Xpiron
  • Rod Macdonald, Vice President, CPO, CanFit Pro
  • Richard Kelly, Marketing Manager, Nielsen Business Media/HFB/Interbike
  • Teri Shaughnessy, Consultant, No Guts No Glory
  • Joe Marcoux, consultant, Boutique Thinking in a Big Box World
  • Laura Capes > , founder, Motive Marketing Group
  • Steve Beuerlein, owner, Charlotte Fitness
  • Colleen Logan, vice president of marketing, Icon/FreeMotion Fitness
  • Marc Onigman, Stone Hearth Fitness

10 a.m: Therese greets the group and states that the conversation is being recorded but is off-the-record officially.


  • To share frustrations and challenges our industry faces today
    We sell luxury items / We are fighting for a consumer’s discretionary dollar Our industry is not recession proof
  • To explore the desire/need for industry collaboration and discuss why it hasn’t worked before
    Need for a National Stage Will have to be a guerilla effort / much skepticism Explore Virtues of “Collaboration” vs. “Cooperation”
  • To accomplish at least one thing that will move the industry forward before Health & Fitness Business ( Denver / Juuly 2008)
    Include those that care enough and see the big picture, others will eventually join


  • Data Sharing
    • Has Been Tried Before / Huge Skepticism / not what this is about
    • Grassroots PSA campaign
      • Common Message: “GET ACTIVE” (Health Promotion / Disease Prevention) / provide retailers with turnkey PR they can send
      • Educational Campaign Example: President’s Council on Fitness Literature & Info Web Site: Why You Need Equipment, Why get active… Example: Anti-Smoking Campaign and its success Personal ROI needed Reduced Health Insurance Premiums Flexible Medical Spending Account: New Legislation proposed could set aside $1K pre-tax for consumers to spend on things like exercise equipment. Make sure they know where to buy. PHIT, SGMA working on its passage. Could provide huge benefits to specialty fitness
      • Need to Expand Beyond Specialty Fitness / Cross-over to other specialty areas is key / Establish cooperation with bike, run, outdoors, clubs, etc. / We can all gain
      • Marketing
        • Biggest Loser Spin-Off Education / Personal Accountability / Weekly Weigh-Ins Community-Based / Wellness Focus “Hand Holding” needed to get others to come along
        • Dairy Council’s “Got Milk” Campaign / California ’s “Dancing Raisins” – huge investment but a good model to mimic at grassroots level
        • Generate Media Hype around H&FB Trade Show in Denver (July 2008) Get the Regional Denver Media to Promote Our Industry
        • Go Beyond “Specialty Fitness” / Too Narrow
        • Include Big Box Stores, Outdoor Industry, etc… Invite Public to a possible 3rd Day of Trade Show or late afternoon on second day, if possible at this late date (show this year is two days – Th and Fri) Make an Equipment Donation to a Local Hospital , Retirement Center , or school/community center in need / Do good and get good promotion for industry and fitness retail.
        • Customer Database Gold Mine for a Retailer Retention / Referrals / Testimonials
        • Group Purchasing / Member Discounts – possible benefits of a coalition or group
        • Government Lobbying – effort should be bigger. Could tap into/support SGMA’s ongoing effort


        • Have Continued Discussions through SNEWS® platform
          • Editorials can be published through SNEWS® by members
          • SNEWS® is open and waiting for additional contributions
          • Create an Advisory Board
          • Create Handouts and Web Site where could be accessed: “Why Specialty?”
            • Buying Guides
            • Educational Information
            • Wellness Focus
            • Potentially link a page through SNEWS® as quick way onto web since site is established
            • Retailers involved could use as resource for themselves and customers
            • Set up Links from Retailers’ Sites?
            • Tie into Not-For-Profit Associations ex. American Heart Association or American Cancer Society or American Association of Retired People
            • Create an Online Virtual “Wellness Community” (i.e. For Runners that use Treadmills, modeled after the “Jeep Jamboree” for Owners of Jeep Wranglers)
            • Drive People into Retailers
            • Consider Scope (Needs to be Broad) & Content (Education & Awareness)
            • Promote the Health & Fitness Business Trade Show ( Denver , July 2008) to Denver
              • Add a Third Day to the Show / Open to the Public (Saturday) – show management (present at meeting) not sure possible at this late date
              • Create Awareness and Media Hype for the Show
              • Get Manufacturers to Donate Equipment / Gift to the Community
              • Biggest Loser Spin-off / Weight Loss Program as possible grassroots national program / turnkey offering to retailers with all checklists, marketing, event organization and PR needed / possible local and regional that can flow into national competition
              • Get the Industry Together to do a Community Service / Community Action Day Example: Steve (Charlotte Fitness now Beuerlein’s Pro Fitness and Training): Fitness Academy for Kids Ages 9-14 now being established Example: When outdoor industry meets in a city, they have an afternoon community service day to build playgrounds, paint, fix trails, etc
              • Have a Follow-up Meeting at H&FB show
                • Attend the SNEWS® Panel Discussion Friday morning about this topic
                • Breakout Roundtables possible at Industry Luncheon on Thursday
                • Could there be a separate meeting at H&FB? When is there a window?
                • Create a “Task Force” or “working group” instead of an “Association” for now
                  • Actually ACCOMPLISH Something / Get Momentum

                  Thanks to Steve Lindenau for providing the meeting space.

                  Thanks to Laura Capes for taking notes and collating them.

                  Adjourn 11:30 a.m.