Last week, at the Eastern States Bowling Convention, I had the privilege of facilitating a session at lunch, entitled “The Next New Thing” in which all luncheon guests were asked to participate in determining what new venues they could put into a 24 lane box.
While there were many ideas, the various groups that were tasked with developing this “24 lane space” chose traditional and expected venues such as laser tag, arcades, tap room, expanded restaurant, sports type bar and other similar items.
Very few proprietors went outside the box to come up with newer ideas even though we “seeded the list” with such items as: laser tag, laser maze, short lanes for kids, arcade, full service restaurant, sports bar, balladium, go kart track, miniature golf, batting cages, golf machines, hair cutting franchise (sports clips), Laundromat, day care center, build a bear franchise and a tap room selling craft beers.
So does this mean that we as entrepreneurs have become more conservative?
Yes I think it does and I think it contributes more to our invisibility and being less bold. And being less bold means we don't stand out and therefore we are lost in the mediocrity of all the other vanilla entertainment options.
How else can we explain that, according to Bruce Davis who also conducted a seminar at the ECC, “… 5 years ago, 50% of our customers visited our centers 1 to 3 times? Today, 75% of our customers visit us 1 to 3 times".
All that means is fewer people are NOW coming back less often.
Have we become routine, banal, unsurprising, mundane and alas less visible. And adding to our “old fashioned image,” we have almost universally rationalized our way to NOT advertise in any media, except digital and maybe, maybe direct mail.
Because if it costs money and we can’t scrutinize it for IMMEDIATE results, we just won't do it. And I almost understand that mindset.
But then I ask, “why is AMF Bowlmor going to spend $34 million dollars next year on advertising and promotion. Thats about $9,000 per center next year.
What do you spend?
Maybe they know something you don’t. Or maybe they choose to be bolder than the average bear?