Game on Cuts

Published: 06-Nov-2014

Ms. Cassandra Whitmer

Game On Cuts

7520 Peach St.
Erie, PA 16509-6030

Erie County



Year Founded:

Consultant's Name:
Amanda Flick

SBDC Assistance:
Marketing strategy

Additional Partners:

Gannon University SBDC
900 State Street, Suite 100
Erie, PA 16501
Phone: 814-871-7232


Game On Cuts is a sports-themed hair salon that offers haircuts for adults and children, as well as temporary color, hot towel treatments, and neck and shoulder massages. From the get-go marketing proved to be a challenge for Game On Cuts owner, Cassandra Whitmer. She worked with a local marketing agency to develop print materials, a website, and a Facebook page, but no marketing strategy was ever created.

When the salon opened, business was slow. Ms. Whitmer desperately needed to establish a strategy for her marketing in order to increase the number of customers coming to the salon. The stylists did not bring as many clients with them from their previous studios as Ms. Whitmer had hoped and didn’t seem to be picking up on the sales process that had been laid out for them.

Assistance Requested/Provided by the SBDC:

Ms. Whitmer approached the SBDC in 2012 looking for assistance in obtaining a loan to open the business. She returned in 2013 for assistance with marketing. All existing marketing materials were reviewed and analyzed for effectiveness and a secret shopper study was completed to determine whether or not the stylists were completing the sales process properly. Assistance was provided in creating a timeline for execution of marketing for the remainder of 2013.

Outcome and Impacts:

Ms. Whitmer has created a timeline for her marketing activities so she knows when to implement each portion of the strategy. She placed ads in local high school football programs, ran radio advertisements, placed signs around the community, and created a customer loyalty program. As a result of these ad placements, Ms. Whitmer did see an increase in the number of customers as well as more recognition of the Game On Cuts brand within the community.

A secret shopper study was conducted to determine whether or not the stylists were following through on the sales process as they had been trained to do. The study concluded that there were inconsistencies in what steps of the process each staff member was completing. Ms. Whitmer took this into consideration and implemented a rewards program for the staff if they obtained a certain number of client referrals or dollar amount of product sales. The employees were permitted to choose the rewards for each level of success, resulting in an increased desire to perform.

Moving forward, Ms. Whitmer plans to put together a presentation to take to local high school sports boosters to offer team spirit night promotions to both benefit the high school team and also increase traffic in the salon. She also plans to redesign her marketing materials- business cards, service menus, and loyalty punch cards.