When it comes to marketing, the overarching objective is to get
more of your clients in the water, and to bring in new clients who
will appreciate the benefits of your aquatics facility.
Before you can create a brand identity that will resonate, you must
develop a clear picture of your audience and establish a strong
From there, programming will follow, along with strategies that
will speak to the wants and needs of your audience and help define
the image of your aquatics facility. Here are some
Many facilities miss out by not reaching out to underserved groups.
Teaching children is key, but there are other groups of people who
also can benefit with the right approach to learning this life-long
For example, a 1998 Gallup poll of Americans reported that 46
percent of adults are afraid in deep-water pools; 64 percent are
afraid in deep, open water. Moreover, adults who have never learned
to swim often pass that fear on to their children.
To reach them, consider positioning your facility as one that
encourages all members of the family to learn this life skill.
Develop and promote a family learn- to-swim program, and if you
have instructors who specialize in teaching those who are afraid,
make it a part of your strategic marketing message.
Minorities also are historically under-served. The drowning death
rate is four times higher for African-American and Hispanic
children ages 10 to 14, and two times higher for children ages 5 to
Those statistics, reflective of population counts compared with
whites, are shocking and disturbing because the tragedies are
preventable through education. Your organization can develop a
marketing strategy that speaks to this crisis, and create
programming and partnerships to carry it out.
Come on, get healthy
Whether it’s a relaxing 20-minute soak in a warm-water spa, a
lap swim workout, or vertical aquatic exercise, your facility can
provide healthy solutions every day. Reach out to athletes, older
adults, and special populations such as those suffering with
diabetes, arthritis, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis and heart
disease — and spread the word that aquatics are good
for the body, and great for overall health.
One way to demonstrate why water is so good for health is by
including the latest research and data in your messaging.
Today’s patrons are evermore conscious of water quality and
lifeguarding professionalism. If your facility utilizes trained
lifeguards and certified pool operators (and I hope you do!),
develop a strategy to tell that story through your marketing. For
example, if you have installed a swim monitor system or new piece
of disinfection equipment, talk it up!
Be sure to also consider highlighting your special benefits. For
example, you might promote your facility as having the perfect pool
temperature and environment for target markets, such as those with
arthritis and fibromyalgia, who like the water warmer, preferably
around 88 degrees.
Depth also is important to different user groups. A marketing
strategy that reaches out to these populations is another way to
highlight the special benefits your facility offers.
Finally, energy efficiency can be part of an effective marketing
strategy centered on operational excellence, too. Today’s
consumers are watching how places they frequent manage energy
usage. Have you recently installed VFD drives? Do you regularly
conduct energy audits? Let your patrons know about the steps
you’re taking to reduce your footprint.
Once you’ve defined your branding strategy, remember that
it’s not set in stone. The message you use to define your
image should continue to evolve and grow, along with your