Bowling Industry Online

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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 spent countless hours 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” and special 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
for a very long time, it is only within the last few years that its
importance as a viable product to attract open play bowlers to participate
more frequently (more than their current participation level of 2 or 3
times annual visits) has been utilized. It is also far more appealing to
the new league 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 8 weeks. Very social and fun; in essence an open
play experience repeated 8 times.

Sometimes it is offered with a premium; other times with an optional
premium. And still other times, no premium at all. Sometimes it is offered
with bowling instruction. 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 appeals for this type of product are:
• 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 "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. perhaps over time they will grow into NEW long season bowlers of 18
+ weeks.

Let me know how you do with marketing this product.

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