I sometimes feel I do too much critiquing and too little suggesting. Like, somehow, I’m the 400 pound, mullet-sporting guy on his 3rd beer at the baseball game yelling at the 2nd baseman to hustle. So, every once in a while on a Wednesday I’ll try to balance the scales a bit and put my own ideas up for display, analysis, and critique. (view all ‘WID’ posts).
There’s been a lot of talk about simplicity lately. The discussion typically centers around the idea of taking something built for desktop computers – websites, software, etc. – and making it play well with mobile. But here’s a little word quiz a la GRE to illustrate what I’m thinking of today:
Desktop Software is to A Mobile App
Marketing & Analytics is to ________________?
What I want to suggest today is a move toward marketing simplicity on a few levels.
Level 1: Products
Most resorts have a huge number of season pass variations. Adult, student, and senior passes can all come in full, mid-week, and local. Each of those may be sold at different prices leading up to various deadlines and include other add-ons like parking or exclusive lift lines. What I’d do is try, in any way possible, to simplify that system. The more variations you have, the harder it will be to measure changes in sales, growth, and renewals.
Level 2: The Marketing
The best billboard I’ve ever seen used to sit on a stretch of I-90 between Utica and Schenectady, NY. High on a hill, it said: “Wendy’s, Exit 36” and included a large picture of a burger. On the other end of the spectrum are print ads like this one for Mammoth. My eyes jump everywhere and nowhere. I don’t remember a thing as I quickly turn the page:
The second thing I would do, is find ways to simplify your marketing and sales copy. Focus on the core, strip out the rest. Like Norman’s father does in A River Runs Through It, when you think you’ve got it nice and short, try to make it “half as long.”
Level 3: The Numbers
When I made a call to become “fluent in Google Analytics-ese,” I wasn’t kidding. In the hours and random evenings I’ve spent digging deeping into the platform I’ve come to two conclusions. First, it’s much more powerful that I thought. And second, it could be much, much simpler.
Ski resorts can and should see a significant number of e-commerce transactions on their website, but this pales in comparison to typical online retail. What I’d do is become good enough at the platform to know what you need and what you don’t. For me, that starts with three things:
In other words, I want to know where my most valuable traffic is coming from, how efficient those sources are in driving sales, and how much they are buying so I know where to focus my traffic generation and site optimization efforts.
GA can be a lot like PowerPoint: just because they features exist (fly-in headers and checkerboard transitions), doesn’t mean you have to use them.
It Ain’t Easy
Making things simpler isn’t easy. In fact, it’s hard. But the reward is more value than you can shake a dozen sticks at. When you have simple marketing driving the sales of simply-organized products with simple analytics, you can focus on why your marketing is working (or isn’t) and optimize the system. That’s what I’d do.
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