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What I'd Do
Rail in the East a Resort Marketing Goldmine? Learning from the Past

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There is certainly innovation in resort marketing, but much of it is simply the recycling of ideas. The more I study ski history, the more I realize this is true (I even blogged briefly on this idea some time ago). Marketing is part innovation, but part recycling: taking ideas of the past and fitting them together like puzzle pieces – a principle here, laws in the middle, lessons from current data there – and making them fit goals in the here and now.

So a couple days ago on Twitter the topic of ski trains came up. Not sure of how successful they’d be in the West, I suggested that the East would probably be a better choice. And then Outdoor_Mom filled me in on the story of the Silver Bullet, Sunday River’s ski train attempt back in the mid-90’s. With just a name and a date, I started digging, and here’s a glimpse of what I found:

Sun Journal – December 21, 1993

Sun Journal – September 5, 1997

Now, a ski train is a big example, but the longer I’m a marketer, the more unoriginal I realize I am. Marketers have existed for a long time and just because the medium changes, the ideas are often the same. On those rare occasions I think I’ve struck idea gold, it doesn’t take long before humility strikes back in the form of seeing the same idea being applied by someone a hundred years ago.

What I’d Do
What I’d do is do more of this search, researching. When you have an awesome idea, don’t just look around to see if anyone is doing it now, look backwards to see when (not if, usually the case for me) someone already tried this in the past. Sure you may find out that you aren’t as original as you thought, but seeing the idea in action can provide powerful lessons that will make your v1.0 even better than their v5.0.

Just because it didn’t work then doesn’t mean it can’t work now, but you can at least learn from their failures and know what to avoid. That’s what I’d do.

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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