Facts Are Forgotten, But Stories Stick

What if I told you you’ve missed countless opportunities to connect with your audience?

I’ve been missing these opportunities as well. In fact, most of us are making the same marketing and social media mistakes.

Allow me to elaborate.

So we’ve got this talented college baseball player who has trained with us at Cressey Sports Performance (CSP) since he was a high school underclassman. For the sake of anonymity, let’s call him Johnny Baseball.

Johnny currently plays for a nationally ranked “power five conference” team. If you follow us on social, you’ve probably seen him training in our space, effectively conveying the following message:

Did you know that XYZ University standout starting pitcher, Johnny Basbeall, trains at CSP? Yeah, he’s a regular. He throws medballs. He receives sport-specific arm-care and programming. He throws with our Pitching Coordinators. All of these habits help put him in a position to potentially thrive in the XYZ Athletic Conference this spring and hopefully receive a phone call on day one of the approaching MLB First-Year Player Draft.

Not the worst message you’ve ever seen or heard, right? It resonates with many of our current and potential clients, and has effectively served as our marketing strategy to date. Why fix something that isn’t obviously broken?

But what if we took a new approach?

What if we told Johnny’s CSP story from the beginning, touching on the highs and lows along the way?

Tell me a story

Before you do anything, remember that you’ll find yourself on the fast track to nowhere if you declare yourself a storyteller and begin rolling out a tale that fails to follow a defined path. The best stories loosely follow a recipe, and your marketing and social media efforts can as well.

Let's retell this story using the components of the Story Spine method. Here’s how concept is laid out: 

  • Once upon a time…

  • And every day…

  • Until one day…

  • And because of that…

  • And because of that…

  • And because of that…

  • Until finally…

  • And since that day…

We’ve all seen a Pixar movie (or ten) in our lifetime, so this story trajectory should make complete sense. Whether Woodie (Toy Story), Lightning McQueen (Cars), or Sully (Monsters Inc.) comes to mind, they all play roles in movies that adhere to this format. 

So let’s plug in Johnny’s true CSP story to the Story Spine structure.


The Thrower, a Hypothetical Pixar Movie

Once upon a time, Johnny Baseball was a youth baseball player in Massachusetts with dreams of playing varsity baseball at his local high school.

And every day of his off-season, he went through the motions “preparing” for the season. Sometimes he lifted some weights, and others he did some casual throwing because he heard some teammates were doing it.

Until one day, spring tryouts rolled around and Johnny was blindsided. He’d been cut from the baseball program as a junior, a time when he’d expected to make important impressions on college coaches.

And because of that, Johnny was faced with the difficult decision of whether or not he wanted to play the game at all in the future.

And because of that, he found it especially difficult to watch his buddies show up to practice every afternoon as he sat home wondering what his identity would be moving forward.

And because of that, CSP reached out to Johnny, letting him know that training in the gym could be his unexpected spring sport, filling the hole that was traditionally plugged by practices and game play, and allowing him to reinvent his potential as a thrower.

Until finally, he decided to continue to pursue the sport, showing up to train seriously at CSP six times per week throughout the entire spring and into the summer, adding durability to his frame, and a few important ticks on his fastball velocity.

And since that day, Johnny has gone on to play varsity baseball at a reputable New England prep school, secure a scholarship to pitch at XYZ University, accept an invitation to play in the famed Cape Cod Collegiate Baseball League, and put himself in a position to pursue playing the sport professionally. 

Which angle is more compelling?

So which of these two marketing approaches is more likely to make you feel compelled to reach out to CSP? Which of the two would be easier for you to identify with if you were a high school athlete seeking a competitive advantage as you hoped to make a team?

Yeah…the story.

I think it’s time we, as gym owners, start using this tool. If we look closely enough, there are probably many stories like Johnny’s waiting to be told.


If you enjoyed this, or any of my other “hot takes” on fitness business ownership, I think you’d enjoy our upcoming Business Building Mentorship. Eric Cressey and I are hosting this event once again on April 7th at our facility in Jupiter, FL.  

Please shoot me an email if you’d like to discuss further. We’d love to have you.

Email: pdgymsolutions@gmail.com