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The Commoditization of CrossFit

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The Commoditization of CrossFit

Examples of common commodities.

Examples of common commodities.

“Intelligence is the ability to make finer distinctions.” – Robert Kiyosaki’s “rich dad” in Rich Dad, Poor Dad

I received a call today from a lady “wanting to check the prices of all the CrossFit gyms in Knoxville.” I gladly obliged and told her straight away about our $199 On Ramp program, and that after she completes it she is welcome to join our group classes at either $150 or $125/month depending on her chosen package. She then asked me if I knew that we were one of the most expensive gyms in Knoxville. I told her I did not know enough about the prices of other area CF gyms to comment and went on to explain what we offer at Ktown.

This happens far more frequently than you might think. After I tell the caller our price there is sometimes an awkward pause or a quick dismissal that lets me know the phone call is over for them. This is when I always try to engage the person in a deeper conversation about what exactly we offer at Ktown, the importance of our On Ramp program, and the focus on continuing education with not only all of our coaches, but our members as well. Sometimes the extra layers reach them through the phone and they agree to come in for a free session to check us out. And sometimes me pushing the conversation does nothing to sway them from their initial goal of price shopping. As of late, the tendency has been towards the latter.

It is a tricky practice trying to engage your consumers in meaningful conversation about prices and shopping around for the best service for them. The team at CrossFit Ktown thinks it is very important to be as transparent as possible about our services and what we set out to accomplish with our memberships. But imparting knowledge on HOW to choose a service is difficult. More and more people are coming to the service expecting it to be the same regardless of the proprietors. This is the beginning of a nasty trend where the marketplace views the service, CrossFit, as a commodity instead of a more individualized, differentiated product. And I adamantly believe that CrossFit Ktown is not some commodity that is part of a larger, homogeneous set of CrossFit facilities. We are different!

Wikipedia says, with my emphasis added, “a commodity good or service has full or partial but substantial fungibility; that is, the market treats its instances as equivalent or nearly so with no regard to who produced them.”

[1] An example of fungibility is that one ounce of salt is equal to all other ounces of salt, regardless of producer. When a market has been commoditized it means that through some means, typically technology, the good or service is the same across all platforms and producers. At this point the product will be driven down in price for the consumer and to smaller margins for the producer because the only cost is in manufacturing the good. This is not necessarily a bad thing: see oil, salt, or corn. But it can be incredibly detrimental to both consumer and producer if the product is not actually a commodity and there exists differences from one to another.

I am writing this blog post to remind people that we are not a commodity. CrossFit Ktown is not part of some franchise of CrossFit gyms that are all the same. We try (and undoubtedly sometimes fail) to deliver the best damn product we know how to give. We have an eight-session On Ramp program for beginners so they are not thrust out in to a group class without proper guidance. We bring new coaches up through an eighty-hour, three-part internship program that we created to fill the perceived gap in CrossFit Level 1 coaching education. We provide as much knowledge for free as we can on our blog. And we take continued education seriously with both internal workshops and external seminars and certifications. Could we do these things and others better? Certainly! We are slaves to the process and really enjoy refining our service. But that is just the point, we like to think we are frequently asking the hard questions of ourselves and our clients to better refine our service.

The fact of all this is you do not even have to take my word that we are different. You can come check us out for free during any of our regularly scheduled group classes. And I tell all of those people who call to price shop the same thing. We are not unique in this; almost every CF gym in Knoxville will let you come try them out for free as far as I know. And we all have our differences and similarities. So be a savvy consumer and do your research. Shop around. Ask hard questions of the coaches/owners. I think you will come to find that the decision will not be easy because there are several CF gyms doing many good things in Knoxville. And I can guarantee you will find that CF Ktown is not a commodity.

It takes time and shrewdness to make good, well-informed decisions, and a true sign of intelligence is the ability to make those finer and finer distinctions. And so the beginning is a time to take the most care. This is especially true when choosing the right CrossFit gym for you…

Coach G

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodity

By | 2017-04-25T14:38:04+00:00 August 5th, 2015|CrossFit Ktown Knoxville|1 Comment

One Comment

  1. KGregs August 6, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    So good. We just lived this, and you hit the nail on the head! Miss this place!

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