skip to main content

Ski Industry, We Have a Problem…with the Marketers You Want to Hire

divider image for this post

Take a look at the requirements for these two jobs that I recently added to the job board.

Job One – experience in:

  • Email marketing
  • Social media
  • Google Adwords
  • Google Analytics
  • Create Artwork for print, web and multimedia (brochures, menus, signs, bookelts, training materials, decals, etc.)
  • Flash and Javascript
  • WordPress (self hosted plugins)
  • PHP, HTML, Dreamweaver, CSS
  • Video editing (final cut)

Job Two – experience in:

  • Social media
  • Blogging platforms
  • Email marketing
  • Google Analytics
  • Google Adwords
  • HTML5, CSS3
  • Photoshop & Dreamweaver
  • Javascript, Mysql, ASP, XML

Can you guess the job descriptions? Both could easily be “Graphic Designer” or “Online Marketer” or “Web Developer”. Instead, one was “Marketing Communications Specialist”, the other was “Interactive Manager”. Photoshop, Final Cut, XML, ASP? Since when did marketers need to be fluent in five coding languages and part time designers on the side? Do you want to hire a designer, developer, or marketer?

Am I the only one that think’s it is silly to pay $3,000,000 for a ski lift but have one employee making $50k a year to do 10 different jobs in the marketing office?

Resorts are investing a lot of money in improvements, expansions, and renovations. I think the time is approaching that we consider investments in specialized marketing talent. Let me explain.

I Don’t Get It
There are many important roles at a ski resort, but marketing is right up there with the most critical. When Mammoth Mountain closed June Mountain, the town kept shouting that, it not so many words, it might not have happened if their marketing had been better. Right or wrong, marketing pays the bills.

So, when I pull up to a resort and there are 10 employees telling me where to park but I know that they have a marketing team of only three people, my confusion can’t be helped. Three people are waiting to scan my pass at each lift but one guy is supposed to design, code, deploy, analyze, and improve the email campaigns around managing social media, writing website copy, planning media buys, creating daily social content, and monitoring/creating/optimizing PPC campaigns?

It just doesn’t add up.

What I’d Do
Instead of hiring one person for these marketing positions I’d hire two. I’d hire a marketer and a designer/developer. I believe a marketer who has time to focus on his job and do it well will more than pay for the salary of the extra position.

What I keep seeing is marketers who have just enough time to deploy campaigns, but almost no time to analyze performance data on those campaigns until after the season is over. When that cycle is shortened so marketing is optimized in real-time, throughout the season, I believe it will pay off in spades and the resort that invests in this extra marketing man power will see a greater ROI than any lift upgrade will ever achieve.

Now, you smaller resorts are in a tough spot. You can’t have a marketing team of 5-10 people. You’re lucky if you get an intern to help out for a few months a year. If I were you, instead of trying to do everything a 10 person team does, I’d pick my battles. Find your most effective channels and focus on optimizing those. If you suck at video marketing, don’t do it, a photo is great and takes 1% of the time. If you don’t have time to update 3 social networks, don’t.

Here’s the Thing
The thing is, the guys that can wear all those hats? They exists. There are many are these crazy talented guys and gals in the ski industry right now. Take a step back for a second and look at how talented they are in each of those areas without being able to specialize. Now imagine what they could do if you took a few things off their plate and gave them more time to innovate and be amazing at one thing.

I’ve imagined it many times and I like what I see.

So, focus on your key channels and rock them by investing in (or focusing on) specialized talent. 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.

Get the weekly digest.

New stories, ideas, and jobs delivered to your inbox every Friday morning.