If you’re worried about the league bowler market shrinking, I guess you should. We’re now down to about 1.8mm sanctioned league bowlers. We all know the reasons; we have discussed them almost to the point of memorization.
Many of us have developed creative ways, either developing short season programs, premium programs, or 8 x 8 have ball leagues and plastic ball leagues. (If you’re not familiar with plastic ball leagues, give me abuzz and I’ll fill you in) Some have been very successful.
But the fact remains that many of us are ignoring the huge baby boomer market, all 73 million of them who are between the ages of about 55 to 70 years of age. These boomers aren’t old, not in their heads. These people exercise, bike, run, swim, motorcycle (Harley Davidson sells the majority of their expensive – aren’t they all- motorcycles to men over 50!) and sky dive as well as engage in travel, reading, tennis, golf…and bowling.
We call them seniors and try to plug them into day time leagues. They say to us, “Screw you. I’m no senior. I’m not old, never will be and I don’t want to be classified as a senior or “golden ager”. And I don’t go to early bird dinners like you think. Nor do I go to bed at 830 every night. In fact, the male segment of this market uses more Viagra and Cialis to be attractive and active.
They’re not your parents’ parents!!
In fact many of these seniors are more addicted to health and fitness than their younger counterparts. Yet we ignore them for 6pm or 7pm leagues
Why would we target them for this slot? Because they want to have as much fun as they can and be with their friends and hang out and have a few drinks like they always have. The only thing that would stop their “Woodstock and Rock N Roll” attitude” is a physical ailment or YOU classifying and relating to them as old people.
So here’s an idea. Start a “Boomer Bowling Club” program.
Play their 60s and 70s music. Offer prizes weekly for dinners. Use photos of attractive and active 55+ men and women enjoying themselves. Don’t make it a 36 week league. Try 3 or 4 months, maybe every other week.
Get them back slowly. Remember, almost all of these people bowled at least once, if not more, in their lives and probably have some good feelings about it. Many of them are youngish grandparents who have attended their grandkids bowling birthday parties or went to a fundraiser or bowled in a league when they were young marrieds.
They are also one of the fastest growing demographic segments to use Facebook and send and receive emails. The women are Pinterest users, more so than men, posting photos of their kids, grand kids, trips and celebratory family vacations. They are active internet users
Get or build a list of 55 to 70 year olds having above average income like (I.e.) $60,000 + who live within a 5 mile area. Or use your own list, always better, if you have one and then add to it with a purchased list
Do NOT send them a cold email out of the blue. They will mark it as spam and you will never read your emails again. They are a very discriminate group, having the time and money to decide what they want and not what you want to sell them!
Instead reach out with a “mailed” invitation to an event especially for Boomers and then email or call them
Perhaps you will conclude that an oversize postcard and invite them in to be a member of your boomer club, listen to music, bowl and “bring a friend.” Oh yes, develop a nice economical offer (like $2 for Tuesdays) on a night where you are not full and have lanes open. Talk about your great food, beverages, big screen TVs and some fun trivia games. But this may be wrong. You will need to find out what they want FIRST!!
With an audience this big, you just “gotta” work it till it works. Because it will! Especially if you invest time and effort to finding out what they want in their bowling experience
So stop reading this blog and go talk to some boomers NOW…and find out what it will take to get them back to start bowling at 5pm to 7pm
And don’t call them seniors, dude!