Lessons Can be Learned From CrossFit’s Popularity and Marketing

I think we need to start with a disclaimer. I do not do CrossFit. I had to do a lot of research for this column. I am, however, a marketer and a trend spotter, and the “life changing” sensation that is CrossFit has caught my eye. Also, a year-end, holiday season, exercise-focused column might give people the inspiration they need to change their marketing lives.

Best kind of marketing

How did I know CrossFit was life changing? I saw a joke about CrossFitters on Facebook. Something like, “A CrossFitter walked into a bar. I only know because they told everyone within 2 minutes.” Although CrossFitters might get offended, they should not. This is the holy grail of marketing — unsolicited word-of-mouth testimonials. The fact people are making fun of it or joking about it on Facebook means they are sitting up, paying attention and, in the hopes of being part of the “in” crowd, piling on. It is a marketer’s dream.

Picture yourself in the same situation. Your customer or patient walks into a bar. Within 2 minutes, they have told everyone in the place that you changed their life. That is unsolicited word-of-mouth testimonial. How awesome would that be? I think we all agree it would be pretty awesome.

Make it ‘life changing’

What marketing lessons can we learn from CrossFit? Like I said, I am not (yet) a CrossFitter so I had to do research. Those of you who are CrossFitters might already have the answers. If you do, are you actively applying them to your business? Let me know.


Image: © Shutterstock

According to an article in Time, people do CrossFit for three reasons: physical results, social bonds and its reliance on the “ritual sacrifice of human energy.”

Physical results: Obviously, if you do it, it works and you have something tangible to show off.

Social bonds: You do it in a group. You bond as a team.

The ritual sacrifice of human energy: This is a lot more complicated than the other two but the idea is that sports are being replaced by fitness and CrossFit gives us back some of intensity and sense of fulfillment that we have lost. It gives us purpose.

Practical application

The questions you need to ask yourself are:

Do our “CrossFitters” have something tangible they can show off?

In patient care they do, provided that it is something they are proud of. The design, the cover and the componentry are all good examples. If you are not in patient care, maybe it is as simple as logos or T-shirts.

Where do your passionate adherers congregate?

Do they hang out online? Do you all get together physically — for example, in a support group or club? How are your “CrossFitters” able to bond as a team? Do you participate in mud runs, charity races or bike-a-thons? When, where and how often?

How are you sacrificing human energy?

Elizabeth Mansfield
Elizabeth Mansfield

In other words, how are you helping your “CrossFitters” regain passion, intensity and a sense of fulfillment? I can say from personal experience that participating in the “fight” against Medicare’s proposed Lower Limb Local Coverage Determination got me fired up. I know it got a lot of other people fired up, too. We had a goal. We worked individually and together to try and achieve something. It was hard. I am comfortable saying that we won a battle, but that we will probably have more and bigger battles to fight.

Maybe your “CrossFitters” need to become part of the fight. Trust me, it is not going away. As their leader, round them up and get them sacrificing some human energy. It will work out better for all of us in the future.

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