What a Spin Bike Can Teach You about Marketing

I’m a spinning instructor. I’m also a marketing professional. In both roles, my job is to effectively communicate with people in order to help them reach their goals. Whether it’s creating the spark to burn calories, or lighting up our creative teams with inspiration to do great work for clients — I can’t help but notice the guidance I provide my athletes is pretty close to what I tell my clients.

Here are five lessons from the flywheel that work well for biking and branding.

1. It’s all about the fit.
Whenever someone new comes to my class, we spend time setting up a proper fit on the bike. The position of the seat, the pedals, and the handlebars can impact the athlete’s experience. A good fit means you’re less likely to develop injuries, and more likely to enjoy the ride and see the benefits of a cycling workout.

It’s the same in marketing. Spend time up front getting to know your agency team — what do they need to properly inform your business? What is the chemistry like with your daily contacts? Ignoring fit will likely lead to serious problems down the road.

On the bike: Bad knees.
In the boardroom: Bad marketing.

2. It’s not as crazy as it seems.
In most gyms, spinning is notoriously thought of as the “dark room where the crazy people work out.” The loud music and Lycra-clad posse of sweat-lusting cardio rats might seem like the last group of people you should turn to for an effective workout, but you might be surprised what happens when you step out of your comfort zone. Things aren’t as crazy as they seem, and the work is actually pretty straightforward and simple.

On the bike: Breathe, pedal and focus.
In the boardroom: Plan, strategize and execute.

3. It might hurt initially, but then it’s awesome.
Ask any new spinner what hurts the most after class, and they won’t be pointing to their legs, but between them. The pressure from the bike saddle brings a pain that’s almost considered a rite of passage among cyclists. It’s hard to get excited about spin class when just thinking about the saddle makes you wince in pain — just like it’s hard to get excited about a marketing campaign when thinking about the budget makes you shed a tear. It might seem like a big expense up front, but know that the payoff on the other side is worth it.

On the bike: Stellar quads and low cholesterol.
In the boardroom: Spectacular campaigns and high brand awareness.

4. It doesn’t take much to make important changes.
The intensity on a spin bike is adjusted by using a tension knob, which changes the pacing and workout level an athlete experiences while pedaling against the flywheel. Sometimes, the smallest adjustment on the tension makes the biggest impact on the workout — a quarter-turn increase on the knob at 120 rpm can make the bike feel like it went from smooth pavement to a mud bog in a matter of seconds. The adjustment is just enough to break up the “plateau” of doing the same work over and over again — and that’s where real change can happen.

On the bike: Increased athletic potential and self-awareness.
In the boardroom: Better brainstorming, a change in perspective.

5. Regular, consistent activity builds strength.
Some athletes bail on spin class after one or two attempts. Doing so prevents them from ever moving past the “saddle sores” to truly experience the benefits of indoor cycling. Even after the initiation period, athletes may struggle to complete the whole workout as coached by the instructor — maybe they can’t handle the flywheel with added tension, or perhaps they’re not comfortable pedaling at faster cadences yet. Over time, persistent athletes will overcome these obstacles and build a new, stronger endurance on the bike. This is how I’ve seen a person go from being a casual spinner to an Ironman finisher in just 18 months. Staying the course pays off.

On the bike: Stronger athlete, bigger goals, more success.
In the boardroom: Stronger brand, bigger goals, more success.