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I had an opportunity on Feb. 3 to speak before a group of New Jersey bowling proprietors; a savvy group of proprietors that are withstanding the economic woes of the Northeast corridor. With NYC unemployment approaching 11% and parts of New Jersey facing similar woes, these proprietors are finding ways, as a group, to meet these challenges head on.

In fact their Associations won the BPAA award for Best Promotions by a local proprietor group. One promotion was for a company party program that the Associations rallied behind in early October to generate leads for Holiday parties. The other promotion was a summer program that drove traffic into the centers in non-peak times.

In both instances the key to success was the ability to take the ordinary and make it glamorous. I spoke about this yesterday at the seminar.

If you look at some of the successes in our industry, over the years, think about the ordinary items that have been glamorized. Here are just a few:

1. Moonlight bowl became cosmic bowl
2. Bowling balls became Vis A Balls
3. Rent a lane became hours of fun bowling
4. Pizza and bowling became Pizza Pins N Pop (Pepsi or Coke)
5. Company parties became team building events
6. Bowling alleys became Lucky Strikes, Dave and Busters, Bowlmors and a host of
other upscale venues
7. Settee areas became soft luxurious sofas
8. Bars became themed venues
9. Birthday parties became themed parties and party rooms
10. Silence in bowling centers became super sound systems with choices of music (see
Bowlingmusic.com )
11. Carpeted sidewalls became graphic panels
12 Masking units became movie screens
13. Snack bars became food delights
14. Mass marketing became niche marketing
15. Knowing our customers became data base marketing and mining
16. Video games became redemption centers

Like the Jersey proprietors, many of us have taken the ordinary and made it glamorous. The corporate party program they did in October became a little more glamorous because of the communication that was professionally done and delivered to the recipient, how it was followed up, and what party offerings were constructed. Some proprietors even offered magicians, karaoke, face painters, limo rides--all options available for potential company parties.

As always, the question is what can you do NOW, in your center to make an ordinary promotion glamorous, to give it a perspective from which your customers can only say "Wow."

Because at the end of the day, to be truly successful at marketing, you have to know how to get positive results under negative circumstances, i.e., a hold 'n' save economy vs. a get 'n' spend economy. Which one do you think we are in now?

Exactly my point.

p.s. Stacy Karten and Fred Kaplowitz are the E.D.'s for the two New Jersey Proprietor Associations.

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