Bowling has declined as the family activity of choice over the last 30 years. While the image of bowling has changed during this decline, the sport itself still offers good exercise, fun competition, and a game of skill. If the image and experience of bowling can be updated with a more attractive look and feel, there is no reason it could not rebound.
Bowling is a family activity, and one that people can continue well into their old age. It is a game of skill, which allows players to better their scores with practice, and it can be a team sport. Bowling alleys get their clients from the local area, usually within a 10 mile radius; they are therefore more subject to local trends and events than are bigger entertainment producers, like movies or theme parks. However, this also means that bowling alleys can be more integral to their community, and more involved in community-building, which generates customer loyalty.
In some local families, the appeal of bowling is self-evident - it is a family activity they have always done together, enjoyed, and will continue playing all of their lives. For some, bowling is completely foreign - they have heard of it, but never done it. And for some younger people, bowling is an "old folks" thing, like bell bottomed jeans - they may occasionally indulge in it, and have a good time, but with the same sense of irony and self-mockery that infuses today's fashion trends.
Bowl Weevil customers can be divided into four groups: bowling leaguers, families with young children, youths and seniors.
The following table and chart show our market analysis. We have included analysis for each of the four market segments we will target: bowling leaguers, families with children, youths, and seniors.
There are currently 3,000 local residents who have participated in some form of league bowling in the last five years (Anytown newspaper, November, 2004). The 25% growth rate is projected based on the expressed interest of local league bowlers, their claims that their friends would join the league if they didn't have to travel so far for games, and our aggressive planned marketing campaigns.
Families with young children
There are currently around 6,000 families in Anytown with children under 12; that population is expected to grow at a 5% rate for the next ten years (U.S. Census, 2000). Altogether, these families include roughly 24,000 people, but our special family rates make it more reasonable for us to treat them here as individual family units, rather than independent residents.
We define youths as customers between the ages of 13 and 20, old enough to have some spending money and to bowl without parental supervision, but not old enough to be admitted to the bar section. This target market segment is growing at the same rate as young families, at 5% per year.
We define this group as sixty-two years or older. This group is currently growing faster than the general population, at 6% per year, and their concerns and interests are already modifying what entertainment and education is offered in Anytown. They will contribute a consistent customer base to the the bowling league, as well as coming in on their own to practice.
We will not be successful waiting for the customer to come to us. Instead, we must focus on the specific market segments whose needs match our offerings. Focusing on targeted segments is the key to our future.
Bowl Weevil will cater to senior citizens because they are consistent customers. Once they find an affordable, comfortable place, seniors will come back for more. Seniors also tend to congregate together. Therefore, accommodating a small core group will lead to potentially exponential growth as the Baby-Boomers become a majority of the population and they introduce each other to Bowl Weevil's senior citizen discounts. An added value is that senior citizens, shown the importance of their time, may be encouraged to contribute low-cost labor as volunteers for youth and adult bowling league events.
Bowl Weevil will be competing for the customers' dollars with other recreation and leisure establishments such as movie theaters, sports venues, theme parks, night clubs, etc.
The competition for local customers amongst bowling alleys and skating rinks is localized, meaning each urban district can support its own bowling alley or skating rink. Customers will choose the provider they think offers the most comfortable, affordable and convenient location. Due to the decline in the number of bowling alleys and skating rinks, many districts are without bowling or skating facilities. Anytown did not have a combination bowling alley, ice skating and roller skating facility. Bowl Weevil located in Anytown, will enjoy the advantage of having no local competition in a densely populated, mixed-age area with good public transportation making it conveniently accessible for locals.
Bowlers and skaters will contribute to the success and reputation of Bowl Weevil as they consistently choose Bowl Weevil for their social events and athletic activities.
Seniors will provide a consistent customer base.
Youths will come for the group lessons, public sessions, competitions, birthday parties, group parties, hocky and the Saturday morning teenager bowling leagues and they will bring their parents with them.
The competition for tournaments city-wide and nationally depends on the bowling alley and ice skating rink's reputation and the reputation of the skaters and bowlers. Sally has the advantage of working with the Professional Bowling Association as well as the Professional Ice Skating Association, and playing in local bowling championship tournaments for many years.