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2014 Prediction #2: The Meteoric Rise of the Non-Core Marketer in Skiing

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I’ve talked about this before, the concern of hiring people that are passionate about skiing and happen to market instead of people that are passionate about marketing and happen to ski.

In other words, people who work hard and ski when they can rather than people who skis hard and work when they can.

And then I saw this quote:

“A lot of guys who got into this industry did so because they’re passionate about skiing or snowboarding. Our passion has always been about the business of skiing.”

And who said such intriguingly similar words? Chip Perfect, the man, the myth, the legend behind the insanely successful Perfect North Slopes ski area.

Maybe he’s onto something.

Another Example
And then I started seeing some interesting things happen.

I’d hear rave reviews about new PR guys who had nothing to do with skiing in their previous jobs. I’d see guys and gals with backgrounds in professional sports or retail jump into resort marketing and quickly work their way up the ladder as they delivered impressive results.

The list goes on.

My Prediction
I predict we’re going to see much, much more of this in 2014.

These non-core folks will better understand how to reach and communicate with beginners and non-passholders, they’ll spend more time in the office than their counterparts because they’ll be less worried about the vertical feet they rack up, and they’ll bring in valuable perspectives and experience unseen by skiing but effective once applied.

They won’t take over a marketing department, but I believe we’ll start seeing more and more of them in 2014.

  • erichoffman

    Just because someone is passionate about skiing or riding doesn’t mean that they’ll be blowing off their job to rack up turns, in fact, I think it’s the other way around, that a passionate skier/rider will be in early or staying late to ensure their job gets done 110% and I would argue that this person is more valuable to a resort as they are more willing to do whatever it takes to ensure the resort succeeds. That said, a balance with fresh ideas from different backgrounds is great too, but if those folks don’t have a real passion for the sport itself, I would argue for the passion player.

    • Great points, Eric. This article was just about the prediction that it will happen, rather than deeper reason why it would be good or bad. That is a much deeper, quite complex (and possibly heated) topic that I haven’t had the guts to tackle yet.

      For example, resort marketers ski much, much more than marketers in other industries participate in the activities they are trying to sell. Is this because that’s a valuable use of time? Or are we trading out more important marketing initiatives to do “on snow” jobs because, going back to passion, our top priority is to ski as much as we can?

      As you can see, a bit of a sensitive topic, which is why I haven’t taken it head on yet :)

      • erichoffman

        Thanks Gregg, and don’t forget that resort jobs (and not just in the marketing departments) don’t tend to set the standard in terms of compensation, so part of the allure of a job for most applicants almost has to be the “side benefits”.

        • Another great point and another reason for the complexity of digging deeper.

      • AK

        Taking 2 runs with a VIP or to shoot some specifically staged pics for the content beast is not “skiing” recreationally. It’s work. So is putting on your gear to go to a broke down lift to do crowd control and/or assist across areas of understaffedness.

        Getting 1-2 runs every few days to keep a pulse on the experience you’re selling and ensure consistency (in less than an hour) is different than “skiing for pleasure.” I’d call it a valuable use of time. It’s not “let’s bail and go ski”.

        • Great points, Alex. And my points about skiing on the job weren’t there to be any sort of right/wrong claim. Eric was hinting at some deeper pieces and my points were there simply to show how sticky it gets when you try to dig.

      • slopes

        Skied all morning in the 8″ of new snow. (And it’s still dumping.) That was my gift to myself and my staff after surviving the last 10 days of greeting guests, picking up trash, picking up little kids off the magic carpet, opening a new tubing park, and other “non-marketing” but essential duties. I don’t have an answer for you. I just think you need a team (skiers, snowboarders, or not) that can go all-in. ;-)

        • Very nice! Great points, I don’t think there is an answer and trying to find one is a slippery slope.

  • Kevin Forrest

    My thought is that maybe guys who are passionate about Skiing/Snowboarding may have the “this is how its always been done disease”. Growing up around, or already being involved through recreation or through employment, may cripple the avid skiier/boarder when it comes to marketing more than the allure of the slopes. You mention that some folks come out of other industries and do very well. My guess is this is because they have a fresh set of eyes and are not already in the ski resort groove.

    With that being said I think that a good marketer needs to make time to be out on the area talking with folks and hearing things first hand. We would all like to believe we can get most of what we need online, but jumping on a chair with a real live person and having a conversation has a lot of value.

    • Very true, Kevin, and I think that exists in every industry. Though it’s really only bad if it’s wrong (every once in a while the “way it’s always been done” actually is the “best way”), but different perspectives always seem to be useful in one form or another.

      • Kevin Forrest

        Sure, the way it has always been done is sometimes effective as long as the person saying “thats the way it has always been done” follows up with, “and this is why…” If they cannot tell me why then every hair on my neck stands up because it is a good bet that nobody has any idea why the process works like it does, and they do not want to even put in the effort to ask themselves why.

  • christine cogger

    I think it’s about time. Just because you love to ski and ride, or love snow, doesn’t necessarily make you good at marketing your passion. Sure, you have to be in touch with what you are working with, but not at the expense of the quality of your work. Just because you started your career as a lifty…

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