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What will we roll out today?
• An Industry Overview
• Our Customer Profiles
• The Marketing Strategy
Indicators of decline: Declining Revenue
Key Industry Statistics
Revenue
$3.5bn
Businesses
3,267
Annual Growth 11-16
0.6%
Profit
$116.7m
Wages
$944.2m
Annual Growt...
Product segmentation and sources of
revenue
Traditional bowling activities account for only 24.6% of total industry
revenu...
Decline due to changing demographic and
economic factors
Macro trends:
•Changing consumer demographics
•Larger bowling cen...
Highly competitive landscape
EXTERNAL Factors:
INTERNAL Factors:
Home entertainment
Family Fun & Sports
entertainment
Cent...
The industry has 3 main competitive
advantages
How to revive the bowling industry?
Leverage the competitive advantages to focus on the
4 main customer segments:
Families...
Making bowling alleys family friendly
• Limited disposable income
• Most of spare time on weekends (until late afternoon)
...
Focus on facility safety and quality
• Convert into Family Entertainment Center (add attractions)
• Reserved family hours ...
Bowling as a social fitness alternative for
seniors
• 95% of seniors believe physical activity is beneficial
• YET over 53...
Target reasons why seniors are not engaging
in physical activity
• Lack of interest, feeling of loneliness & dislike of go...
Millennials - taking bowling to their fingertips
PBA-Certified
Bowling alley apps:
•Book lanes
•Know timings
•Order food a...
Millennials - making it the place they wanna be in
Stardom to The Bowlers
Make bowling a credible and respected career option
• Corporate Bowling Leagues
• College and Schoo...
Make them stars again - promoting their brand
Strike!
This is just the beginning so….
Marketing Strategy for the Bowling Industry
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Marketing Strategy for the Bowling Industry

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The bowling industry has been declining for years and many single-location bowling centers have been sold or closed down. The number of bowling centers operated in the U.S. has fallen by more than 25 per cent from 5,400 in 1998 to 3,976 in 2013 (USA Today). Many observers of the industry have attributed the decline to a transition in customer groups and preferences from the formerly very popular league bowling, practiced by blue collar workers who came week after week, to recreational bowling practiced by casual bowlers who come occasionally and are the largest growing customer segment today. While the demographic shift is significantly affecting the industry, some of the industry’s problems also stem from the impressive rise of inexpensive digital in-home entertainment which puts strong pressure on the industry’s margins (IBISWorld).
Despite its decline in popularity, bowling is still the most popular participatory sport in the U.S. with almost 47 million participants bowling in 2014 according to Statista. Thanks to the sport’s popularity some operators have successfully reconceived their business model. They have acknowledged that catering to league bowlers alone is not sufficient anymore and have adapted their bowling centers to draw more casual bowlers. Successful centers have invested into upscale facilities with lots of additional attractions such as beverage and food sales to attract high-income, casual bowlers. Others primarily focus on families and have changed their facilities into bowling-based family entertainment centers with lots of bowling independent activities that attract children. Yet others have focused more on the young adult market and have established themselves as fashionable bowling lounges that provide a nightlife experience.
Tailoring facilities and events to customer segments that populate a bowling alley’s location will be key in surviving in the future. There are four main customer groups that bowling alleys can go after: families, seniors, professional bowlers and young adults. By managing schedules and enhancing facilities and events, a single bowling alley can successfully target all four markets. Based on the distinct customer segments, we introduce a marketing strategy that follows a clear separation between urban and suburban locations. While suburban locations should retain their large size and varied offering and continue to serve multiple segments, urban locations should size down the number of lanes and deliver premium bar-like experiences to target the market of young adults with high incomes. In our opinion, the industry has for a long time failed to adapt its product to the changing lifestyles of its customer base, but if it develops a clearer customer focus there is no reason why bowling should not be a profitable business in the years to come.

Created for a graduate marketing course at Bentley University by Diana Kontsevaia, Lionel Briswalter, Sanjay Patil and Yunqiao Wang.

Published in: Business
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Marketing Strategy for the Bowling Industry

  1. 1. What will we roll out today? • An Industry Overview • Our Customer Profiles • The Marketing Strategy
  2. 2. Indicators of decline: Declining Revenue
  3. 3. Key Industry Statistics Revenue $3.5bn Businesses 3,267 Annual Growth 11-16 0.6% Profit $116.7m Wages $944.2m Annual Growth 16-21 0.5%
  4. 4. Product segmentation and sources of revenue Traditional bowling activities account for only 24.6% of total industry revenue in 2016
  5. 5. Decline due to changing demographic and economic factors Macro trends: •Changing consumer demographics •Larger bowling centers Causes of decline •Alternative entertainment options such as in-home entertainment •The recession reduced disposable family incomes •America’s overall decline in social engagement •Professional Bowling losing its credibility
  6. 6. Highly competitive landscape EXTERNAL Factors: INTERNAL Factors: Home entertainment Family Fun & Sports entertainment Centres Amusement Parks Low concentration Competition based on location and services Medium entry barriers Low technology change
  7. 7. The industry has 3 main competitive advantages
  8. 8. How to revive the bowling industry? Leverage the competitive advantages to focus on the 4 main customer segments: Families Seniors League Bowlers Young Adults Follow an urban/suburban split Niche Markets Strategy +
  9. 9. Making bowling alleys family friendly • Limited disposable income • Most of spare time on weekends (until late afternoon) • Families want to eat, drink and bowl • They search for a clean, safe and quality facility
  10. 10. Focus on facility safety and quality • Convert into Family Entertainment Center (add attractions) • Reserved family hours and discounts (e.g. birthday parties) • Great food & beverages • Offer glow-in-the-dark lanes • Bowling lessons for kids and adult-and-child leagues • Location close to residential areas
  11. 11. Bowling as a social fitness alternative for seniors • 95% of seniors believe physical activity is beneficial • YET over 53% participate in less than 2 hours of physical activity a week. Attractive segment: • Seniors spend 4-6% of their income ($1600-3000) on entertainment annually • They’re the largest growing population segment • Largely familiar and comfortable with bowling
  12. 12. Target reasons why seniors are not engaging in physical activity • Lack of interest, feeling of loneliness & dislike of going out alone = create senior specific bowling programs and events • Lack of transportation = partner with senior homes to deliver reliable transportation • Physically strenuous = include less demanding activities such as candlepin bowling • Location urban or suburban
  13. 13. Millennials - taking bowling to their fingertips PBA-Certified Bowling alley apps: •Book lanes •Know timings •Order food and drinks beforehand •Get coupons •Score sharing on social media •Informal competitions among friends •PBA League •Urban locations
  14. 14. Millennials - making it the place they wanna be in
  15. 15. Stardom to The Bowlers Make bowling a credible and respected career option • Corporate Bowling Leagues • College and School tournaments Make PBA the Apex Authority • Spread presence to more countries • Branch institutions under PBA
  16. 16. Make them stars again - promoting their brand
  17. 17. Strike!
  18. 18. This is just the beginning so….

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