Saturday, January 31, 2015

     Sometimes I get blown away by statistics that I was either unaware of, or had a glimmer of knowledge about the subject…or like the first one; already knew.

Here are 10 thought starters:

1.    The Kids Bowl Free Marketing Movement registered 2,150,000 kids last year from 900,000 families.  Our goal this year is 2,300,000 million kids registered. Go to and get your center going in the right direction.

2.    21.5 million Kids between the ages of 6 and 17 play team sports.  The number #1 sport is basketball Bigger than the population of Texas!  The number #1 reason kids quit team sports, by a long shot; 4 out of 10 said,  “it just wasn't fun.” (source ESPN sports participation study).

3.    Kids start in team sports by age 6 years and 4 months. Better get them then if you want them to bowl.

4.    If Facebook were a country it would be #2, between #1, China and number #3, India

5.    More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube visit YouTube each month and over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube—that's almost an hour for every person on Earth.

6.    One out of three households in this country have no male father figure.

7.    If you are “one in a million” in the USA, there would be 25,000 of you in China.

8.    The Super Bowl is expected to register about 115 million Nielsen households, but with out of home viewing in bars, restaurants and at home held Super Bowl parties accounting for (estimates range)  another 25 to 45 million, Super Bowl viewing could reach 160 million or ONE out of TWO people in the USA…

9.    And the 2015 cost for a 30 second Super Bowl commercial is $4.44 million or $27.50 per thousand viewers or 2.7 cents each (based on 160 million viewers)

10. Now if every proprietor in the USA spent $1,100 each we would have about $4.4 million for a super bowl spot. Just dreaming

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Marketing Double Check

You’re busy creating new fliers and letters and Facebook posts for your winter league and open play programs and perhaps, even toying with ideas for summer leagues (Yikes, summer leagues are only 3 months away).

So here is a checklist on your communication tools?

·        What is the tool for?
o   When it works, will we be able to tell?  What is it supposed to do?

·        Who is it for?
o   What segment are you talking to?
o   What do you want them to hear?

·        What’s the call to action?
o   What are you asking the target segment to do
o   Is it crystal clear
o   Are you asking them to do too many things; here, go to website, click again, fill out card, sign up, send in. (get the point?)
o   When do you want them to do it by
§  You must have a deadline
§  And you can extend it?

·        When you complete the flier or brochure or letter, show it to ten strangers.
o   But don’t say anything.
o   What questions do they ask you?

·        Now ask them what the material is asking them to do?
o   What SPECIFIC action can they enunciate?
o   When does the material tell you to do it by?

Your job is not to answer every question. 

Nor is it to close the sale.  

The purpose of the material you produce is to generate greater interest by spreading the idea to the segment that it applies to OR, as we have said many times before: 


You may not get this right the first time out, nor will you gain instant trust, but you will start the journey to earning the right to speak with your audience.

And that's worth its weight in gold

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Thank You Lew

Dear Fred

Great food for thought! I always love reading your blogs. Just wanted to comment on your last blog. I agree completely!!

Knowing a rain dance that worked would be a great thing. Cold weather sure isn't a bad thing but if these are the only things we have going for us, our industry is in trouble.
I know that most of the centers close to ours close on certain days or cut back their hours in the summer. A few even close for 3 months. The reasoning I hear most is that “Nobody wants to be inside in the summer”
I think we often use excuses, valid or not to explain why we aren't busy. At a staff meeting a few years ago I pointed out to my employees, managers and even my business partner the danger of looking for an easy way out when it comes to having slow periods of income.
1)       Summer – Nobody wants to bowl or even be inside during the summer
2)      August/September – People are getting and paying for their kids back to school.
3)      August/October/November/December/January and the first week of February – 
4)      When they aren't watching football its basketball, then baseball or even NASCAR. 
         Don’t let me get started about soccer.
5)      October – All those Halloween parties that weren't there 15 years ago are taking over.
6)      November – First we lose the Friday after Thanksgiving and now Thanksgiving due to
         early shopping.
7)      December – Everyone is shopping and nobody has extra money
8)      January – Everyone is paying off those Christmas bills they made
9)      February – Everyone is still broke from Christmas and now they are spending on 
         Valentines’ Day.
10)   March – The weather is getting nice. I sure do hope it rains this weekend
11)   April /May – Kids are all outside. We can’t get any business until dark, if then.

We all know that there is even more excuses than this but listing them all here would take too long and do nobody any good. As you can see there is always an excuse that can be used. 

Should we just except that sales will continue to dwindle and there is nothing to do about it except hope for rain? I think not, many of these things can be used as marketing opportunities if done right.

Pretty strange that even with all these challenges the movie industry has went from barely existing in the 1970’s to thriving, the restaurant industry has seen people go from eating at home 90% of the time to eating out 90% of the time and they now sell more game system than ever.

If you think everyone wants to be outside when the weather is nice just drive past a movie theater in the summer. Even on Mondays, Tuesday and Wednesdays they busy while most bowling centers close on those days.

We must set goals and come up with ideas on how to obtain them. Spend more time creating business than complaining about business. Take a positive approach with our customers, employees and ourselves rather than looking at just the bad.

We must set very high standards when it comes to customer service. When your staff does a good job let them know about, when they do an excellent job let everyone know about it and If they fall short address the issue and show them how to correct it.

Train and involve your staff in coming up with new ideas (Example: How can we be busy this Halloween season?) and big dividends will follow. Have employee meetings on a regular basis and make sure that you talk with and not at them. Make things fun for them and they will make things fun for your customers.

Market your business every month of the year, not just August and maybe springtime. Why not invite people to your center during the “busy” months too? 

Afraid of a waiting list? If you market your way to being too busy during the hours everyone wants to be there come up with off hour specials and events to drive them from prime-time weekend hours to late night, early morning or weekday business when you have lanes available.

The bowling business can be like a snowball rolling downhill. If we have more business than normal in the winter we will have more business than usual in the spring, more business in the spring than usual and you can have a better summer and of course a better summer equals a better fall. REPEAT-REPEAT-REPEAT.

The opposite can be true too. The worst thing we can do is cut marketing, hours, staffing, days of the week we are open. 

Would you drive to a restaurant if you didn't for sure if they would be open?  Why do we think our customers would drive to a bowling alley under the same circumstances?

Lewis Sims, Director of Fun and Co-Owner Operator
Dynasty Lanes 3105 St. Rt. 103 Willard Ohio 44890

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A December to Remember

Just spent three days in San Antonio TX at the BPAA Bowling Summit.  It was probably one of the best ones I have gone to in many a year, mainly because lots of proprietors seemed happy. Many of them said they had great December business and almost all of them attributed it to cold weather and maybe even lower gas prices.

I know that weather is one of our best marketing tools, but unless we are Native Americans and perhaps mastered the centuries' old rain dance, we are out of luck.

So the question is how can we make very month a good month

Here are 7 "to dos" to help make your business grow in the other months!

1. Start a new league  8 to 12 weeks every month; concentrate on adult child program, learn to bowl/have a ball programs as well as new company leagues that could be every other week as well (remember when we used to do that?

2. OK, so you had  a bunch of holiday parties; why not continue the run and promote holiday parties every month with different themes like "cabin fever" parties, "spring fling" parties, "indoor summer picnics" and "fall back parties?"

3. Nice time of the year to do fund raisers on Sunday afternoons, Sunday nights and even mid week 2nd shift parties.  Fund raising doesn't stop; it goes on and on and what better venue than your bowling center.  Getting involved in the BVL fund and Wounded Warrior projects will make your center a hero in the community and people will stand up and thank you for helping America's heroes.

4. Reevaluate your second shift open play programs. You don't need five different promotions; who the hell remembers them anyway? certainly not your customers.  Become the home of the ONE or TWO specials that are really special!!

5. Put the pedal to the metal and accelerate your drive to get emails every day and especially on weekends.  Make sure to get age and gender data (so you can target your emails) as well as what they might be interested in such as: short season leagues, birthday parties, company parties. fund raisers, learn to bowl better programs or have a ball programs.

6. Structure your social media strategy so you have at least three emails and continuing Facebook posts about your center, its relationship to the community AND THEN talk about your offer and coupon

7. Offer an incentive to your cosmic bowlers by sending an email out to them and a Facebook post inviting them to come in THIS SATURDAY night only with 4 or more people and if they do they will get a FREE pizza. Stop complaining "about giving it away. If you charge $12.95 per person and you get 4 people for two hours, that's a bout $52 bucks and your cost at a real high end is $5, so you just got a 90% margin. don't do this every week, but do it as a surprise or offer other incentives for other cosmic nights. Remember the offer is only good for THAT Friday or Saturday night; its a one time deal.

I got a bunch more, but for now....enjoy :-)

Sunday, January 4, 2015

New Boundaries

its a new year and a chance to start out with a clean sheet of paper.

But even if you start fresh, will you come to the creative process with preconceived ideas and boundaries that won't let you break through, but rather recycle the old.

Don't get me wrong, sometimes recycling the old and re branding the existing is a better strategy, especially if it is working, than doing something new.

But still, this is the beginning of the year when everything is new and a clean sheet of paper awaits, what are you waiting for?

An invitation?

You have one. It's called January 2015.

What will  you do?  Will you still color inside the imaginary lines that you created?

Maybe you need someone to make sure that you DO color outside the lines; that you do stretch yourself to find uncomfortable solutions that are not necessarily something in your repertoire?

We all need boundaries, but can you change the edges to look like something else.

That's what creative problem solving people do.

They make up their own boundaries, form their own edges and ignore the boundaries that are already there.

Where will your edges be this year?