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Growing Skiing
The most important chart I’ve ever shared?

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Yesterday I published a data set that I can’t stop thinking about.

The gist is simply this: I found all the paying, winter guests who also had Twitter accounts across 20 resorts and then found what percentage of those people called themselves a “skier” or “snowboarder” in their Twitter bio.

About 100 resort marketers predicted that percentage would be about 30%. The actual result was 2%.

You can read the full write-up here, but I wanted to say a few words more today because I think the takeaways are much deeper and more important than they may appear.

Let’s start with the obvious objection to this: not everyone uses their Twitter bio to describe who they are.

And you’re right.

After I published that data I manually reviewed the accounts of about 50 people I follow who I knew identified as a skier and almost exactly 50% used the word “skier” or “snowboarder” in their bio.

But apply that ratio to our sample and we’re still only at 4%.

In other words, the number isn’t exact, but the takeaway is hard to deny; the vast majority of ski resort guests don’t participate in our sport enough to call themselves skiers. And, so being, there are likely many, many things they enjoy more than skiing. Things they’ll easily choose first given a cold Saturday morning. Things that are competing with your marketing for their attention, and winning.

To these people, skiing is something they occasionally DO, not who they ARE.

I Know
You may be fighting that thought, I know. But if you can’t accept it right now, just suspend your disbelief for five minutes and entertain the possibility it’s true.

Because if it is, it’s huge. But also exciting.

It’s huge because our notion of who is seeing our messages may be completely different from the people who actually are.

But it’s exciting because if our marketing is effective with this mismatch between writer and reader, imagine what might happen if those two become aligned.

One Video
As I’ve thought about this idea, I keep finding myself back at one piece of content. A video. A video about someone we need a lot more of on our mountains. This family is an ideal guest.

Before you watch, listen for three things:

  • If she knows now to ski.
  • How this person describes herself.
  • Things she enjoyed about her trip.

Has she been skiing before? It’s been a while, but yes.

But when she described herself at 0:30, did you hear the word skier? No.

And what did she enjoy about her trip? Family, design, food, her instructor…the list goes on but the list – and this is really important – does NOT include 90% of the stuff we include in our ads.

No fast groomers, no powder fields, no rails, no cliffs, no perfectly dressed skiers.

“But wait,” you say, “you can’t put a gaper in your ads!”

To which I reply, “Why not?”

Because your audience might make fun of you? How many would do that? Maybe about…I dunno…2-4%?

See what I’m getting at?

We are incredibly good at talking to skiers because we are skiers. But maybe we need to get better at talking to everyone else. Much better. Because not only are they the ones in your beds and restaurants and rental shops, they’re also the ones going to the zoo this weekend because, to them, an ad with a family looking at animals is more relevant than an ad with a skier making a powder turn.

I can’t help but think that of all the charts I’ve shared, this one may turn out to be the most important of all.

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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