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Reports around our industry (and other industries) showed that once again consumers are tightening their belt. Uncertainty about the economy, the future of the existing tax cuts, double-dip recession possibilities and job losses have created a real hesitancy in consumers' minds on how to spend their few discretionary dollars. Many are saving more. Most are doing nothing.
And that's hurting our industry. But within this gray cloud of summer open bowling, which hopefully is passing over our heads, there can be light at the end of the tunnel.
If there is one thing that we have proven is that we can be "AFFORDABLE FAMILY FUN." We just haven't gotten that message out to enough people frequently enough. Nor have we demonstrated or proven it successfully
Like the car dealers or electronics manufacturers, comparison advertising states facts, and depicts in very clear terms, what the advantages of one product are compared to another product. Consumers can relate to these charts. It's a quick visual gulp that they can process quickly. We say that we are a better value than the movies. We say we are a better value than waterparks, amusement parks and dining out experiences, but we never display it. Shouldn't we? Heck, yes.
Here's an example:
Create a chart that looks like this. On the left side of the page list 7 key variables such as:
1. food, beverage, 2 hours of entertainment
3. music and lights
5. all ages can do
6. friendly competition
Now to the right of this column, create 3 columns that say Bowling, Movies, Applebees
Under each column and next to each variable, write "Yes" where bowling has an advantage and "No" where the competition does not have an advantage. In the price category, under bowling I put $49.95. In the movie column I put $60 and under Applebees I put $70* (includes tip and beverages).
For the other variables under Movies, I put a "NO" for every one of them, except "Maybe" in the "all ages can do."
Under Applebees, I put a "No" for all variables except I put a "Yes" under "conversation" and "all ages can do."
Now, if you create this chart and send it out to your email list, and distribute it to your Facebook friends, or even direct-mail it (hopefully you would do all three) along with a sending a compelling coupon offer to visit your center for Pizza Pins N Pop, would you get a response? I think YES!
Use a headline like:
"Why Should Family Fun Cost an Arm and a Leg?
At Happy Lanes It Doesn't"
Now, go tell somebody.