By Team ICG® Master Trainer Jim Karanas
The demand for our product is there. The market for our product consists largely of club operators. Yet the factors we believe make our product special are no longer clear to our customers.
The product is Indoor Cycling and all of its trappings: brand, bike, service, ancillary products, training, continuing education — everything in a club's indoor cycling program. At ICG®, for example, we believe we have a great product, and I can tell you precisely why. But all directors will tell you the same thing about their product. What I finally realized is that the things I believe make ICG unique are not generally recognized by the market as a whole.
Indoor cycling has become commoditized. A commodity is “a class of goods for which there is a demand that is supplied without qualitative differentiation across a market.” That means the market treats the product as nearly equivalent no matter who produces it.
Club operators know they have to offer indoor cycling to be competitive. Yet many of the factors that matter to us as instructors don”™t necessarily matter to others. Cycling movements. The number of hand positions. Cadence ranges. Beat Match vs. Freestyle. RPE, heart rate or power. And my favorite, Q factor.
The market doesn”™t care about these things the way we do. Some of these may influence buying decisions from time to time, but they”™re often trumped by sales relationships, service and timing. The club operators want to know if they can get a good product at a good cost, if the company will be there when they need help, and if they can get the product as soon as they need it.
Last week, Team ICG® posted an opportunity for ICI-PRO members to access our online continuing education service. It's free. It will save you money and provide you with a service that improves the product you offer (your class) to your customer (your club's indoor cycling director).
Like it or not, our classes are also commoditized. Do you believe that those who hire us as instructors really care which education curriculum we present? Most indoor cycling instructors present a combination of what they”™ve learned over the years. The principles we”™ve accumulated have become our own. As long as our employer knows we”™re certified under a governing body and presenting techniques that keep the members safe, do you really think they see a difference in which name they put on their program?
If you do, you”™ll contradict what I”™ve written and won”™t believe that indoor cycling is a commodity. You”™ll still think differences between cycling programs are more important to clubs than sales, service and timing.