Cooper’s Ice Center’s target customer segments are hockey players and ice skaters including teens, couples, and families. Both these customer segments seek different value from the services of Cooper’s Ice Center. Hockey players want a place where they can play competitive hockey game with their friends or simply practice their hockey game skills. As far as ice skaters are concerned, they exhibit a wide range of lifestyles. As far as teens are concerned, they want a place where they can hang out with friends while enjoying skating. In other words, they desire a place where they can be with friends who are in the same age-group and have similar interests. As far as couples are concerned, they seek a place where they can spend time together, away from any distraction. Skating also allows them to engage in a fun activity and keep the relationship interesting. Families also come to have good time and some substitute cooper’s ice center for day care centers since they can leave their children here while they deal with an important task or a daily routine.
As far as 4Ps is concerned, the first factor to take into account is product. Cooper’s Ice Center’s product is an ice-skating rink with a conventional hockey rink surface. It is apparent that the center is doing a good job of meeting the needs of hockey players. First of all, it is the only indoor ice-rink in a northern U.S. city of about 450,000 people which means hockey players can use it all year around. The manager Claude runs a hockey program which is successful and another indication his hockey customers are happy. But as far as ice skating clients are concerned, the center has a mixed record. This is because the center caters to a wide range of customer groups with different lifestyles and tastes which creates conflict. For example, dating couples and old patrons do not enjoy the presence of teenagers and teenagers resist when the center attempts to limit their access. Similarly, some like the music while others find it old. As far as place is concerned, Cooper’s Ice Center has only one location and the center’s facilities can only be accessed by different customer groups at specific times. This is why Claude wonders whether it may be possible to increase profits by devoting more of ice-rink use to skaters who come in volume as opposed to hockey players that are much smaller in number. Since the company’s product is fixed in nature and it has only one location, the company can only serve either ice-skaters or hockey players any given time but not both at the same time.
Cooper’s Ice Center utilizes various marketing channels to promote itself. The center has advertised on radio station and it also relies on word-of-mouth marketing. In addition, it also has a presence on social media such as Facebook and MySpace. The center also employs DJs to increase its appeal. The company’s promotional activities are primarily aimed at ice-skaters only because its hockey program is already successful and profitable. But hockey program has volume limitations and, thus, limited profit potential, hence, the company has been trying to increase share of business from ice-skaters. In terms of price, receipts from hockey players can be as high as $200 per hour while receipts from ice-skaters can be as high as $3,500 for two hours or $1,750 per hour. Even though a hockey player may pay higher on the average, skating program has greater profit potential due to volume.
The owner of the ice arena has only one location, he will have to make some difficult decisions. Within the ice-skating segment, there are different customer groups with varying tastes and lifestyles and up until now, Claude has primarily been experimenting to possibly discover how to maximize profit. The center instead should take more systematic approach such as employing analytical tools like decision trees to determine what the profit potential under different scenarios may be. The variable in the analytical tools may be customer groups such as teenagers, couples, and old patrons. The center already collects data on customers as to when different customer groups visit the center, how many from each group visit, and how much they spend. This data will be quite beneficial in testing different scenarios and should give the owner a good idea of the profitability of different customer groups. It is clear the center may not make every customer group happy, thus, it should decide which customer groups are worth keeping happy on the basis of profitability.