Good marketing people know that the key to marketing success is having a product that people want to buy. No mystery here.
But great marketing people know that they need to CONSTANTLY either, improve upon their existing product by adding (or deleting) features to the product or finding a new market segment for the product. If you can do both, you are a mastermind marketer.
In our world we have two categories of products, “league play” and “open play”. (Some purists would say “tournament play” is a third category, but I include that in an “organized open play category on my DSR, daily sales report)
No doubt you have sepnt countlesshours and monies to improve your lineage and revenue in both of these categories You no doubt have devoted countless hours to develop open bowling “specials” andspecial pricing models
You have been working on these issues, it seems like, forever.
While short season bowling has been an important part of the marketing mix fro a long time, it is only within the last few years that many more proprietors can see how valuable this product is to attract open play bowlers to participate more frequently (more than their current level of 2 or 3 times annnual visits). And because of the lesser time commitment, it is far more appealing to the new bowler as well.
This new product category; a third eye so to speak, is a hybrid of league and open play. Very simply, it is short season bowling (8 weekly sessions or less qualifies for this category). Usually two games and typically for a period of less than 8 weeks.
Sometimes it is offered with a premium; other times with an optional premium. And still other times, no premium at all. It can be for kids only, adults and kids, or even adults. It is this latter category where I believe the greatest opportunity exists
The consumer appeal for this type of product is;
• No long commitment,
• No great bowlers to compete with
• Inexpensive total cost (6 to 8 weeks vs. 32 weeks) price relative to longer
season length and 2 game format gets me home earlier
• Get premiums
• Win fun weekly prizes
• No complicated “league rules”
USBC tells me that there are 1.7mm sanctioned league bowlers and this number is off over 6% this year. Wasn’t it just 3mm bowlers a minute ago?
Years ago, the league bowler penetration rate against all adults was almost 10%. Today, with 1.7mm USBC bowlers, less than 1% of all adults in this country over the age of 18 bowl in a sanctioned league. So clearly the appeal of the long season league bowling has dwindled…and dwindled.
Marketing this NEW product (8 week leagues or less) to a new generation of 18 to 34 years old customers is what the NEW league marketing strategy is about.
Let me know how you do with marketing this product.
FYI if you log on to BPAA.com and sign in with your member number and password, that is bpaa, you can print the whole program, including a letter to merchants for donating prizes. We are going to start some of these programs in Jan.