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7 Ways to Get the Toothpaste Back in the Tube

Click on 'All Blog Posts,' then search using 'Fred Kaplowitz' to see all my posts.

I heard a P&G Senior Product Manager once say, "Once the toothpaste is out of the tube, it's hard to get it back." What he was referring to was the fact that once customers left one of his brands and went to a competitive brand, it was hard to bring them back to the brand. Real hard.

In thinking about our league bowlers who didn't come back this year, we can go through a litany of "things we might try." Here are a few ideas, in no particular order:

1. Invite them into the center for an open house and let them bowl for free.
2. Send them a couple of free-game passes and hope they will come of these days.
3. Create a new league called "The C'mon Backs." Offer them lower prices, specials on food and drink and belly dancers.
4. Put them all on your email list and bury them in an email blast at least once a week.
5. Develop a learn-to-bowl better program for the lower average bowlers and invite them back to improve their skills. Maybe even for free!
6. Create an adult-child program with these dropouts and get them to bowl on the weekends with their children.
7. Build a newsletter just for dropouts and build relationships with them over the next year; create special offers, contests, chances to get bowling equipment and to come in and bowl for free.
8. Forget about them and move on to newer targets.

I have tried all of these strategies at one point or another (well, maybe not the belly dancers) in my career with varying success. If you want to find out which one might work for your center, why not send a questionnaire to your dropouts and ask them to fill it out.

Ask them to rank these ideas; rephrase the 8th one, however! Or call 50 of them--yourself--and ask them. Nothing like getting it first hand from the horse's mouth; that way you will be dealing with facts. (There's an idea.)

Or you could just try one and see how it goes. Less scientific of course, but at least you will be doing something.

Or you could just look for another tube of toothpaste.

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