There Seems To Be A Spark Out There

It was just a few weeks ago when we talked about a SuperBowl commercial for the bowling industry. I was then being very cavalier about the strategy, given its enormous expense, but it seems I struck a nerve.

At convention after convention this season, many proprietors commented to me that advertising on the SuperBowl was in fact a DAMN good idea and I should pursue it. Not only pursue it, but take it on and write to the powers that be.

Other proprietors emailed me and said it was “high time” we did something to stand out. Still others thought the industry should move forward with a national advertising campaign.

Yes, we should do all of these things and subsidize local markets, create beautiful commercials, develop email templates, produce radio spots, produce direct mail, postcard copy and art, but I don’t think its on the BPAA table. I may be wrong, and I hope I am, because we need a jump start.

Here’s why. One very good NJ proprietor recently wrote to me that the “industry is dying” and we just don’t know it. As vehemently as I wanted to disagree with him, he made some valid points such as:

1.“50% of our business (the league bowler) is getting older and we are not able to replace him or her. So attrition will eventually win. The other 50%, Open Play, is affected by a host of internal and external issues. Right now the lack of money in the consumers’ pocket is the number #1 problem combined with the need for a deal in each transaction creates a monumental problem.

2.The Bowling business has always been a function of “Volume multiplied by Price”. Right now we have neither and the horizon for that to change is not good as the consumer has learned to live with less and spend less. Unfortunately being an entertainment venue, we are the first thing that goes in the tough times. This may be the new economy with the consumer having less money in his pocket. I don’t see it getting materially better in the near future.

3.Food and beverage and ancillary income, which was a constant pipeline, has slowed to a trickle. Unfortunately the recession has put a big damper on this revenue stream. The customer has figured out, as in the movies, they can bring it in or do without. Trickle, trickle.

Well if our existing customers are not buying our product with the frequency they once did, maybe that SuperBowl spot is just the thing to kick off a national campaign followed by a strong grassroots marketing program.

What do you think, Mr/Ms. BPAA, can we at least examine it?

About Fred Kaplowitz
Marketing is in my DNA. I love to solve problems and meet challenges head on and I have successfully produced results for hundreds of clients. I love what I do and love helping to make my clients more successful and happier. I am a husband and father, consultant, a coach, a teacher, a motivator, a copy- writer, and a speaker. I look forward to working with anyone searching for a proven methodology out of mediocrity. May I assist you in taking your business to the next level. Please call me now @ 516 359 4874 to review your business goals and strategies.

3 Comments on There Seems To Be A Spark Out There

  1. Hi All.

    I am indirectly associated with the bowling industry here in Canada. I provide graphic work, brochures and websites to a # of bowling related businesses and all I can say is that those that are willing to invest in a marketing strategy seem to be doing well. Period. I'm 50 years old. I bowled for the first time in 35 years and I want to say that it was FUN. Period. I am now an ambassador for the game and I tell everyone to go bowling or book a party at a bowling centre. I guess what I'm really trying to say is that you need to look at a huge positive here. Boomers. They are ready for you but are you ready for them? I know what you're thinking, what about the younger bowlers? I don't have an answer for that but if you can "be cool" enough for them then maybe you'll attract them.

  2. I am surely not going to wait on a super bowl ad to help my business. Sure times are tough, but they have been before. Normally we thrive during recessions, although this may not be the case with non-smoking and other things going on in the world. Keep doing the things we have done. It's like playing football or any sport, go back to the fundamentals, add some social media and things won't be that bad. Food and beverage is up at my center although the costs are higher. You can't get the same low cost as we used to and sell in these times. Just some thoughts.

  3. Obviously they didn't run Kids Bowl Free for the last 3 summers…..The best lead generating program ever.

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