The fitness industry has seen a decline in the revenue by over 50% in 2021, (Mintel, 2022, and number of gyms fell from 3,654 in 2020 to 3,060 in 2021. Moreover, over 80% of exercise professionals experienced either job loss or a significant reduction in their primary income source (Alexandri et al., 2022). This was due to several reasons such as living through pandemic changing consumers thoughts and behaviour such as exercising at home guided by the fitness influencer (Alexandri et a

Year 2 Half Year 1 – case study for 3 core modules

 The fitness industry

This Case Study will be used for your first three summative assignments:

BUSI22585 – Buyer Behaviour Group Presentation & OTA

MKTG20448 – Research for Marketing Research Report

MKTG20430 – Integrated Marketing Communications MarComms Plan

During the first week of the term, you will be assigned to a workgroup within your Seminar Group. You will remain in the same workgroup for all three modules. This arrangement will enable you to work more flexibly, efficiently, and intensively compared to being in three different workgroups. You will use this workgroup for the group assessments due before Christmas. The Buyer Behaviour summative group presentation is due on Sunday, November 5th, at 23:00hrs. It will be presented face-to-face during the seminars in the week commencing November 6th, 2023. Additionally, the Buyer Behaviour individual OTA deadline will be confirmed in the due course. For the Research for Marketing module, the individual formative poster presentation is due in the week commencing 20November 2023, and the individual summative marketing research report is due on January 15 2024, at 23:00 hrs. Finally, the group work formative checklist for Integrated Marketing Communications module is due on Monday October 23rd, 2023, at 23:00 hrs. Following this, the assessments for IMC will be individual. However, we encourage you to continue meeting and sharing information about the case study, which will also be used for your integrated marketing summative reports due on Monday, December 11 2023, at 23:00 hrs.

We hope that you enjoy studying this company over the next few months.

Dr Arooj Rashid                     Dr Ayane Fujiwara                                               Dr Paul Johnston

IMPORTANT NOTE for IMC: You are strictly forbidden from contacting the company directly.  This will be seen as ‘Primary Research’ for which you have not had the necessary Ethics Approval. If you do contravene this instruction, it may be considered an Academic Irregularity and the University reserves the right to act accordingly.

Please note that whilst every effort has been made to ensure this document is correct at the time of printing, later events may mean that the contents may change.  If this happens, you will be advised.

This case has been compiled from published sources and is intended to offer an example of the complexities of the fitness industry, without judgment on any of the parties involved. Not to be used or reproduced without permission. © A. Rashid, 2023

The Background

The fitness industry has seen a decline in the revenue by over 50% in 2021, (Mintel, 2022, and number of gyms fell from 3,654 in 2020 to 3,060 in 2021. Moreover, over 80% of exercise professionals experienced either job loss or a significant reduction in their primary income source (Alexandri et al., 2022). This was due to several reasons such as living through pandemic changing consumers thoughts and behaviour such as exercising at home guided by the fitness influencer (Alexandri et al., 2022; Durau et al., 2022), and how seriously they take health (theUKfitnessreport, 2022). The fitness industry has seen even further decline, impacted by the cost-of-living crises, with some customers cancelling membership or opting for lower-cost alternatives (Mintel, 2022). According to TheUKfitnessreport (2022, p.2.), “almost quarter of popular (23%) of the population do not consider themselves to be healthy from any point of view”. This number is even higher for women (26%) than men (21%). The report also highlights that men are more likely to join and attend the gym, and since covid particularl7, women have been much slower to return.

Another problem that has been recognized is the scarcity of time, with slightly more than one-third (36%) believing there is insufficient time in a day to engage in physical activity and focus on their overall well-being. (theUKfitnessreport, 2022). Balancing work, family responsibilities, and social engagements can make finding time for a workout feel nearly impossible. Nevertheless, given the well-established connection between exercise and enhancements in both physical and mental well-being, the fitness industry aims to stress that any form of physical activity, regardless of how short, holds value. This may range from a brief 10-minute HIIT session during a lunch break to the simple act of parking farther away to incorporate an additional 20-minute walk into your daily routine. Every small effort contributes positively.


Alexandris, K., Karagiorgos, T., Ntovoli, A.  & Zourladani, S. (2022) Using the Theories of Planned Behaviour and Leisure Constraints to study Fitness Club Members’ behaviour after Covid-19 Lockdown, Leisure Studies. 41(2), pp. 247-262, DOI: 10.1080/02614367.2021.1975802.

Durau, J., Diehl, S., and Terlutter, R. (2022) Motivate me to exercise with you: The effects of social media fitness influencers on users’ intentions to engage in physical activity and the role of user gender, Digital Health. 9, pp. 1-17, DOI:

Mintel (2022) Health and Fitness Clubs (Online), available at: , [Accessed 25 July 2023]

TheUKfitnessreport (2022) 2022/23 Gym Statistics: PureGym (Online), available at: [Accessed 25 July 2023].

Useful links: (Accessed via NTU Database)

Journal of Marketing Communication

Journal of Consumer Behaviour

Your role:

You have been selected from amongst many candidates to be interviewed for a role as a Junior Brand Manager (JBM) at the fitness industry. They are looking for a JBM for each of the following organisations:

  1. The Gym
  2. Nuffield Health
  3. David Lloyds
  4. JD gyms

All these appeal to a very different target market – indeed they appeal to more than one.

You have been allocated a fitness centre from the list above.  You are required to complete a checklist and then a 4000 words Marketing Communications Plan for this fitness centre, following the SOSTACmodel. 

Your task is twofold: 

Firstly, you must complete the check list covering all the basic points of the report on the first three elements of the SOSTAC model: Situation Analysis, Objectives and Strategy.  This will be a group effort. Your tutor will provide you feedback on your ideas and what you can improve for the summative.  It is important that you consider the feedback when you receive it as it will be very important for you incorporate it into your summative report.

Secondly, you will reflect on the check list feedback and produce a 4000-word individual MarComms Plan.  This will complete the SOSTAC model, by detailing the Tactics, Actions and Control elements.  This report will be submitted by 11pm on Monday 11th December 2023 to the Dropboxwhere it will be reviewed by the Turn-it-In software. If a copy is received beyond the submission date, then, unless an extension has been formally approved, you will be considered to have put in a late submission.  You should include module name, module code, title, wordcount and your name and student numbers on the submission sheet.

Ensure that your work is backed up on at least two safe data storage devices. IT failures as a result of dropped iPads or corrupted files cannot be accepted as a reason for non- submission.

Formative checklist:

The checklist will provide a useful start for your summative report.  The more effort that you put into it now in the early part of the module, the less you will have to do towards the end of the semester when you have another summative report to write and an exam to revise for the other modules.  You will be given the checklist in the third week of term.

The Summative Brief

You have to build on the initial formative report, incorporating your tutor’s feedback and produce a 4000 word individual MarComms Plan.  You are expected to develop the integrated MarComms using at least 3 of the 5 MarComms tools and demonstrate an awareness of the Elements that make up these tools.  Please note, social media is NOT a communication tool.  

This report will be submitted individually by 11 PM on 11th December 2023 to the Dropbox only and be reviewed by the Turn-it-In software. If a copy is received beyond the submission date, then, unless an extension has been formally approved by submitting an NEC, you will be considered to have put in a late submission.  You should include your student number, the module name, title of the work and wordcount on the front page.

General guidance – the summative report

The overall Market Communications Report is 4,000 words and follows the SOSTAC model. However, you have previously completed part of the SOSTAC framework during the formative submission, so you already have many ideas. When you receive feedback for your formative work from your tutor, you have three options:

1 – ignore it and keep going (not recommended);

2 – take it on board and adjust your report in line with the feedback and keep everything else the same;

3 – take it on board and adjust your report in line with the feedback, but make further changes to the content for whatever reason.

The decision is up to you, but whatever you do, make sure that you talk to your tutor about the direction you want to go. A suggested structure for the summative report is given below. This is indicative and can be altered according to your needs.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You are strictly forbidden from contacting the company directly. This will be seen as ‘Primary Research’ for which you have not had the necessary Ethics Approval. If you do contravene this instruction, it may be considered an Academic Irregularity and the University reserves the right to act accordingly.

Suggested structure for your report:

Executive Summary – Remember – this is a summary of the contents of the report – not an extended introduction. Effective executive summaries are structured in the same way as the report itself and tells the reader what the 4000 words contains, including what you have discussed and decided.  It should be no more than 1 page and it does not count towards your wordcount.This is not included in your wordcount.
Contents – use Word’s ‘Table of Contents’ feature to construct this .  It will automatically include your headings, subheadings and put page numbers in your contents list.  It will also automatically include any diagrams, tables, etc. if you want.  The Contents does not count towards your wordcount.  Remember to change page numbers when you edit, if you do not use Word’s TOC!    Introduction – here you outline the background to the report. This should include your role in the project, organisations name, and some information such as size of the organization, customer base and main competitors, range of products and service, key internal and external stakeholders could be part of summary matrix/table.  See example below: Themes   Organisation size XXXX Product range XXXX Internal stakeholders XXXXX External stakeholders XXXXX      Why is it important for your organisation  to read it?  Your overall aim is to target a  new segment. You should briefly provide an overview of the selected end customer needs and wants.  You should describe the structure of the report, including any top level aims and objectives and any problems or limitations in the report, as well as any necessary background history.

About 300-500 words  
Situation Analysis:  Investigating the issue of your choice – Macro/Micro analysis and evaluation 1) PESTLE analysis and evaluation including cultural factors – identify one or two issues here.  You can just focus on one or two factors such as social and technologies 2) Industry analysis (Porters 5 Forces) – identify one or two stakeholders’ issues and opportunities. Same as PESTLE, you could just focus on two elements from Porters 5 Forces, so long stakeholder issues and opportunities are identified somehow.   3) A full (detailed with citation) analysis of PESTLE and Porters 5 Forces should be available in appendices.   4) Use a SWOT as a  summary with opportunities identified as markets / segments only. These opportunities should be based on conclusions drawn from your macro / micro analysis and evaluation    About 400-600 words   Put a detailed PESTLE and Porters 5 Forces analysis in the appendices
Recommendation on the strategy –  how to target a new market: Target market and positioning strategy (segmentation). Which (only ONE) single segment is going to be your target market? A clear segment to target needs to be identified with academic justification. Who and where are the new customers going to be and why?. You must not have more than one target market/segment.  Consider the position that you want in the target market’s mind – what perception do you want them to have of the product? Is there a ‘message’ that you want/need to communicate?  ? Explain why is it important to meet the needs and expectations in the context of the organisation.  All your justification must come from conclusions drawn from your market investigation and be underpinned by models, concepts and theories (MCTs) throughout.About 500-700 words
Objectives Your report will require 2 to 3 marketing communications
objectives. These should be based on key findings from the marketing analysis and what you want to achieve in the new market focusing on communications. The vision of the organisation will need to be taken into consideration to formulate appropriate objectives. For example, establishing brand awareness, changing perceptions, encouraging website and social media traffic etc. Remember these must be SMART. For the purposes of this report the timeline is from April 2024 to March 2025, however you do not need to use the whole year, if you want to focus on a specific shorter period, you can do so.  Remember the objectives should be specifically MarComms ones – not general company ones (so not ‘increase sales/profit by 10%’).   Example: Main objective: To increase awareness of the gym  among 25-40 year old consumers, by 10% within six months of campaign launch (April-September 2023).   Two developed objectives:   >To stimulate trial purchase of ‘The Gym Group’ amongst 25-40 year old consumers, by 30% within ten months of the campaign launch (By the end of the first week in January 2024).   >To reposition ‘The Gym’ from an affordable to a hygienic gym within ten months (April 2023-January 2024) amongst 25-40 year old.
About 100 to 200 words
Internal Communications – you need to ‘sell’ your proposal to the staff of organisation, so you need to use whatever methods are available to communicate the choice of segment to employees.  Internal communications include all methods of MarComms that take place within an organisation.  You should recommend the TWO most appropriate internal communication methods, which should meet the needs of the staff.  You could also consider the recommendations by considering the role of internal communications in, say, informing, persuading and educating the employees and your allocated fitness industry’s capabilities for managing and delivering those communications.About 300-400 words – aligned with internal stakeholders  
Building credibility – here you need to describe how your allocated organisation can use communication campaigns and messages to the new market segment. You could choose to describe how credibility can be enhanced by such things as a sound Customer Value Proposition, and perhaps the impact of different types of messages, such as emotional messaging versus informational appeals.About 400-500 words
MarComms Plan – here we expect you to focus on how your allocated organisation  will communicate with the new market in three ways covering DRIP factors (Differentiate, Reinforce, Inform and Persuade) and/or RACE (Reach, Act, Covert and Engage), including the development of an Integrated MarComms plan. The plan must align with the communication objectives proposed earlier, and must be around a communication issue;  for example:   raising awareness of product  or service, acting as reminder of a previous promotional campaign, and/or supporting a specific PR activity.   • a range of proposed communication methods, media and tools • an implementation (TAC) schedule This will tell your audience just how the strategy is to be achieved in detail.  You must demonstrate integration of the MarComms Tools and their elements and develop a coherent, consistent integrated MarComms plan.   Introduce, evaluate and discuss each tool/element that you are using and why you are using it. Ensure that your position/message is consistent across the media used.  Have you an idea of the creative side of the campaign?  The effort to develop some visual element to the report is always rewarded.   MarComms Communication Tools comprise: Advertising, Sales Promotion, Public Relations, Personal Selling and Direct Marketing. Communication media can include online offline, digital and social media options which should be integrated with the communication tools. Rememberyou must use at least 3 of the 5 MarComms tools and demonstrate an awareness and usage of the elements that make up these tools.  Remember – Social Media is not a tool, but a media!       Depth of your choice is more important than breadth. Throughout the plan all recommended actions should be justified and reflect the company’s size, resources and budgets and while there is no requirement to set a detailed budget, realistic options should be chosen. As an example, a small organisation with a limited turnover is unlikely to produce a national television campaign. Throughout the plan all recommended actions should also meet the needs of the identified market segment. As an example, if the new segment is geographically close to the organisation, print advertising in a local newspaper may be appropriate. An Implementation Schedule must be included. A GANTT chart could be used or a table showing a timeline/milestones of proposed activity. And finally resources needed e.g. recruit an additional staff/expertise to operate a social media platform.  About 1200-1500 words
Summary of recommendations – wrap up the MarComms Plan by drawing all the elements together.  Itemise your recommendations and their impact and their cost and benefit.About 100-300 words
Reference list – makes sure that every citation in the report is in the reference list using Harvard referencing ; and that every item in the reference list is in the report!  Also be consistent in your style – for example do not show names or titles in both upper and lower case).  A sensible way to do this is to use the RefWorks software programme and do not bull-point or number the reference list.These are not included in your wordcount.
Appendices – this is where you can put any market data etc. that you refer to, or useful material that is not directly relevant to the report.  Or the nice picture of your ‘ideal consumer’.  Do not use it as an ‘overflow’ because you have exceeded your wordcount

Useful pointers

Wordcount – the wordcount is 4000 words and not a syllable more.  There is no safety margin of +10%. So, you need to ensure that your report contains only the most important pieces of information. This is very much an exercise in developing your ability to focus on the key issues and communicate opinions clearly and succinctly. These are valuable business skills. We are experienced tutors and can tell when a report is too long!  Your tutor will be under instructions to stop at 4000 words and is under no obligation to read further. 

Remember to evidence that you have read around the subject outside lectures (see the module document for suggested reading and the resource list on NOW) and use Harvard referencing throughout.

Images of tables and models within the report do not contribute to your word count. However, they will be included in the word count if the model is filled with data, such as when you annotate the diagram. Consequently, if the table contains substantial information, it might be advisable to place it in the appendices.

Please note that the wordcount for each section shown above in the structure of the report is indicative only.  The only wordcount that you have to abide by is 4000 words.

Format – please use the University ‘house style’ of Verdana, 10pt, using 1.5 line spacing.

Present your work in a way which would be suitable for an organisation. You are future managers and therefore, your business report should be clear, easy to understand, no typos /grammar/spelling mistakes. While you are writing the report in the role of a marketing employee, it is an academic piece of work so ensure you show a sound academic knowledge of the subject matter (including relevant models/theories) as well as the ability to apply this knowledge to identify appropriate recommendations

Further guidance

The person who will grade your work is your Seminar tutor, so make sure that you listen to what they say in the seminars, note their feedback – both verbal and written – and ask them for clarity or guidance – not your Seminar colleagues or other tutors.

How will my work be assessed?

The grading grid is the same for both assessments and is below.  As it says on the grid, the overall grade is not just a weighted average of the criteria, but how well the Brief has been answered overall.  Please use the grading grid to understand what we expect from you.