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The last layer of the bowlers’ pyramid, the largest group, is the casual bowler. This group will not commit to a league, not bowl in a tournament, and not want to be bothered with any sales pitch. Most important, they will rarely come in alone, only in groups. The bowling center is a meeting place, a destination where everyone knows where it is, will feel comfortable and where there are various activities. They will order food and drink if it is good and fairly priced. Specials mean something to them but only if the rest of the group wants to join in. These people tend to be younger than the other groups, will try new things, need to have excitement (i.e. glow), and are price conscious. This layer makes up the largest number of our customers but we will see them no more than 4 times a year. They need to be reminded about bowling or they will forget about it.

Each of the four groups of bowlersthe high-0average, the committed league bowler, the frequent bowler and the causal bowleris important. Each has different needs and wants. How we communicate with them, how we decide to promote to them, has very little crossover. You can really only talk to one group at a time. The message sent to one group will not resonate with the other groups. If we understand this and target our promotions, specials, advertising, etc. to each specific group, we can be successful. If we try to shotgun the message, none of the groups will hear it. This will be true for bowling as well as the food and the lounge.

Aside from communicating with each group, we have the opportunity to move a portion, maybe 10%, of each of the bottom three groups and move them up to the next group to become more committed. This is an opportunity that bowling centers have tried and failed, in large part because we do not understand the needs and wants of each group. Some centers swear by having coaches around all of the time. Yes, that may work if the center targets the two middle groups. If that center were largely the casual bowler, they would drive them out and have nothing left. Perhaps the casual bowler might respond to free game passes, bounce back coupons, prizes and games. Each center must understand their makeup of bowlers and create the opportunities to make more committed bowlers.

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