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Perspectives
It’s been almost 4 years since Liftopia’s famous digital marketing session. So, what’s changed?

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Three years ago Liftopia threw the typical ski resort conference playbook out the window. Three years since investor Chris Sacca, Backcountry’s Dusin Robertson, Hotwire’s Gregg Bockway, and Expedia’s Erik Blachford gave some sharp, priceless perspective onto the ski experience and ski marketing.

My question now is, what has changed?

If you haven’t watched these yet, skip your next [hot TV show] binge, add these to your “watch later” list, and let some of what they say sink it. At two hours, it’s a lot of content, but it’s worth it many, many times over.

PART 1

PART 2

I hesitate to even share a synopsis to force you to watch it, but here’s the gist (and I’ll make this a numbered list so I can refer to it later).

  1. Instagram grew because the content bar was low and it made content creation easy, but video is a tough sell because it’s not compelling and expensive (in time/attention) to consume.
  2. Social performs best when tied to specific discounts and deals.
  3. Groupon is built on breakage, so some thought it may not last.
  4. But because people hadn’t done the math on customer value they could sell the idea to businesses. Yet skiing has a really tough time naming that number.
  5. Reducing friction in the payment process could open doors for more revenue but a lesser experience.

Now, that’s a pretty broad array of topics, but I want to focus on two: #1 (lowered content bar) and #4 (lifetime value).

1) Lowered Content Bar
I bring this one up for a very specific reason: GoPro’s recent partnership with Periscope to stream POV footage through that platform.

Now, without a doubt some marketers and skiers will create (and already are) mind-bending content with this power. But I think the panel’s thoughts will turn out to be prophetic for the rest of skiers as quality drops even lower, quantity increases again, and the video space becomes even noisier.

In other words, we thought there was a low bar in 2012 but that bar keeps getting lower. Every time is does, there’s a bit more noise to break through.

4) Lifetime Value
Calculating this continues to be a struggle for most major resorts. Partly because of the nature of resort guests, partly because of the complexity within the products we offer. In a meeting with some non-skiers the other day, you could hear audible gasps at how many unique products were created by lift ticket and season pass matrices.

But even worse, the complexity of marketing channels in general is making it even more important to nail down that number. As Donnie Clapp said in a recent post on MercueryCSC’s blog:

“Why can’t you be more confident in your extensively researched, well-informed strategy? It’s because there are too many damn variables in marketing these days, and you’re a human with a human brain.

…more than ever, the hardest part of marketing is figuring out where you should be spending your time and energy. Welcome to the era of marketing FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).”

The trick is that it’s incredibly hard to know where to spend that time and energy if we have such a hard time nailing down the value of a customer.

Modern marketing demands it, but we’re not making a ton of progress in that department.

To Watch
I think the content bar point is the one I’ve been most intrigued by over the last few years and is one I’m most interested to see change over the next few.

Content volume is at such a ridiculous level already and curation needed more than ever as is, the idea that bars to great photos and video are going to continue to be lowered ever further is mind numbing to think about. Something has to give.

Not sure whether it’s GoPro’s stock price or Twitter/Instagram/etc. linear feeds, but something will break…sooner or later.



  • sthrendyle

    I think the age of Broadcasting Yourself is coming to an end, unless you are going Heli skiing (where there are professional videographers anyway). I look at Instagram and see a lot of dramatic scenics – a natural for Ski resorts. And I go to Facebook to see photos of my friends and their families enjoying their resort vacations. Unless it’s done by a pro, most amateur video is terrible. Which is why Candide Thovex gets millions of hits and I don’t (no one wants to see me flail down a mountain).

  • AK

    Chris Sacca’s shirt though.

  • Rob Webb

    Thanks for the blast from the past Greg. Great stuff.

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