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The best marketing spend of the year? Sunday River’s electricity bill.

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A lot of resorts do snowmaking tests.

But only one resort, year after year, does it in a way that transforms this fun rite of winter passage from an operations thing to a marketing thing.

Here’s the recipe:

  • Be first (or as early as possible).
  • Have a photographer ready at sunrise.
  • Shoot the sunrise through the snowmakers’ mist.
  • Share, share, share, share, share…

Some resorts get a photographer out but they are shooting toward the mountain, some shoot through the mist but don’t wait long enough to get the sun, some wait a day or two too long and snowmaking tests are old news (by then skiers want REAL snowmaking).

Or they worry too much about showing some form of frozen liquid on the ground which Sunday River realized didn’t need to be part of the formula for a snowmaking test.

The Results
The results of that simple formula are these.

Amazing photos on Instagram:

Irresistable videos for weather media:

An jaw-dropping new hero image:

The list goes on because it’s such an amazing visual.

After posting to Instagram just four times in September before the 21st, they posted three times yesterday with various angles of the same thing and got above average engagement on each.

Rinse & Repeat
But remember how I said this is a recipe they’ve turned to before?

Here is the first week of October in 2019…

And the first week of October in 2018…

The last week of September in 2017…

The second to last weekend in September 2016…

In 2015…well…that was the last year before they discovered the formula…

That’s a great photo, but compared to waiting until the sun comes up? There’s no debate.

When I share my annual backyard snowmaking photo? You’d better believe I wait until the sun is up.

Sometimes, marketing is more about remembering what’s worked in the past and remembering to do it again than it is about coming up with new ideas all the time.

The remember/reuse strategy may not be the topic of many thought leadership pieces on AdWeek and it may never be a keynote topic at conferences, but it’s an extremely smart way to operate as a marketer.

Very well played, Sunday River.

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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