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A note to ski resort marketers who are earlier in their careers.

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About 15 years ago I sat next to a kid in one of my business classes at Utah State University.

We nodded to each other, said a quick hello, but didn’t have much more of a conversation besides that. His name was Jaycee Carroll. And, by all intents and purposes, he and I were no different than just about anyone else in that class of 100+ students.

Except for one thing.

This kid had a knack for playing basketball. At the time he was a new, promising guy on the Aggie basketball team. He had a beautiful jumpshot and a tireless motor, but he was mostly untested outside of his high school in Wyoming.

Then, just a couple weeks ago, I saw this tweet in my feed with a video of Real Madrid basketball on their way to winning (another) championship thanks to a clutch 3-pointer.

A clutch 3 from a guy named, you guessed it, Jaycee Carroll.

At this point, you’re probably expecting me to tell a story of hustle, of sacrificing everything, of long days in the gym and never seeing family or friends or whatever. You’re probably expecting what many have started to call “hustle porn”.

But what I want to talk about instead of a lesson about focus. Because one of the crazy things about watching Jaycee play in 2019, is how he looks almost identical to the Jaycee I watched back in college.

That concept – playing the same position your entire career – is obvious in sports. It’s less obvious in marketing. But it’s one I’d love to see explored and, maybe, changed.

The Math
Ask any person on a resort marketing team what their career ambitions are and, more likely than not, you’ll hear “marketing director” (or some VP/CMO variation) as the nearly unanimous response.

But two things work against this scenario.

First, is simple math. If there are 600 resort marketing directors in North America and, I dunno, 2000 people below them, there simply aren’t enough seats at the top for everyone to get there at the same time.

Second, is skills. Just like Jaycee didn’t have the height or length or skills to be a forward or center or coach, some of us (myself included) just aren’t that great at orchestrating and managing a big team or doing things other than the stuff we’re focused on today like social or email or sales.

But I’ll tell you what, someone who is a master of email marketing right now? Man, in my book, their career outlook – in terms of job security and demand for skills – is stronger than any VP or director I know.

A Thought
Let me share an alternate scenario with you for a minute.

What if, like a point guard honing her craft, you didn’t move up but instead became that resort email marketing or resort social media or resort group sales wizard. And what if, after 2-3 years of success, you didn’t apply for the VP position but instead doubled down on that one thing you’re already crushing? So that when NSAA needed a speaker? You were the obvious choice. SAM needed an author? You, duh. That famous resort needed a new CRM person? You’re not applying, they’re calling you.

I would love to see a day when, just like Real Madrid hustled and offer perks to get Jaycee on their team, resorts hustle and offer perks to get the best players on their team because marketers embrace their position and become so ridiculously good at it, they can’t be ignored or underpaid (which is why many of us try to move up even if we prefer doing over managing).

Maybe it’s a crazy idea, but maybe it’s an opportunity for some of the next generation who don’t want the pressure of a VP title but feel that’s the only path. Food for thought.

About Gregg & SlopeFillers
I've had more first-time visitors lately, so adding a quick "about" section. I started SlopeFillers in 2010 with the simple goal of sharing great resort marketing strategies. Today I run marketing for resort ecommerce and CRM provider Inntopia, my home mountain is the lovely Nordic Valley, and my favorite marketing campaign remains the Ski Utah TV show that sold me on skiing as a kid in the 90s.

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