On Monday, July 29th I gave a presentation to the Michigan bowling proprietors at their summer convention in Mt Pleasant MI; this well attended event was held at the Soaring Eagle casino
I titled my presentation “Get a New Plan, Stan” because I felt that we had been planning for fall leagues the same way for over 50 years and perhaps, just maybe there was another way to do it.
While I won’t give you the whole presentation in this blog, I want to make one point that may turn your head around and get you to thinking about Fall League bowling marketing in a different light.
Suppose that, instead of being in the bowling business, you were in the widget making business and each widget you made you sold for $500. Last year, you sold 1,000 widgets and your company, which makes other products as well, therefore had revenue of $500,000 just from this one product.
This year, you are charged with producing 1100 visits. The Board of Directors wants a 10% sales increase so they can take the company public. You are at the Board meeting when they tell you this and then one of the Board members pipes up and asks what you think it will cost, from a marketing perspective, to get to 600 widgets?
I explained this scenario to the bowling proprietors in the room and they were pretty much silent. One gentleman said $10,000. Others said $15,000. Someone even mumbled something about $20,000.
Now when I asked them how much they currently spend to sell 1000 of their $500 widgets (league bowlers), they were virtually silent. No one in the room spent more than $2500 with the vast majority spending NOTHING!!
Can you imagine that to protect our sacred base of league bowlers, the majority of proprietors said they spend nothing? Now I don’t want to sound like I’m picking on the Michigan guys ‘cause I’m not. I guarantee you this is true in every state of the nation – and I know because I have been in every state, over 1,000 centers, and Michigan was just the most recent example.
Why do we invest so little in selling our product? Do we not have faith in the product? Do we not have confidence in our ability to market it successfully or have “we always done it that way. Perhaps the real reason there are less bowlers is because NOBODY PROMOTED LEAGUE BOWLING IN THE FALL.
Even with our employees, we are frugal. “Here’s a dollar a bowler”, we say. Are You Kidding? That bowler widget is worth $500 in revenue to you and you’re going to give someone a dollar to bust their buns for you. Why should they? Some of you don’t even call your league bowlers back, but still leave it to the league secretaries who have NO vested interest in paying your mortgage.
Some don’t even send out direct mail, but instead send out emails. Hey, knock; knock less than 12% of your emails ever get opened. You have to take massive action, direct mail, email, telemarketing, robo calls, targeted communications about leagues to specific segments, outside sales, REAL incentives for league bowlers and employees to bring a friend or get a sign up respectively!
You have to use all the tools you can find; not just sit back and wait for the league secretary to tell you how YOUR BUSINESS is doing.
C’mon man. Get in the game and spend some money to protect and grow one of the biggest parts of your business. Because the way things are going (about 2mm league bowlers down from 10mm); you’re almost at the bottom of the barrel.
I guess my back is hurting more than I thought tonight so that’s my rant for July 31, 2013.