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The Clever Pattern Behind Tamarack’s New TamFam Marketing Campaign and Guest Stories

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Let me start by saying how appreciateive I am of the marketers in this industry that help me see things in their efforts that I simply can’t see from my desk.

Some of the most insightful posts, interesting topics, and useful reads come from all of you taking a few minutes to share what you’re doing with me and helping me notice the nuance in your resort’s strategy.

As you may have suspected, this is one of those posts.

The Story
When Brad Larsen took the GM job at Tamarack, I was excited to see what a GM with a marketing background would do in such a unique situation. If case you’ve missed it, here’s a quick recap from Wikipedia:

“Opened for lift-served skiing in late 2004, the Resort went through foreclosure and emerged from it at a sheriff’s sale on March 10, 2014. A court-appointed receiver, Douglas Wilson, closed the ski area in early March 2009, which was shuttered for the 2009–10 season. It re-opened in 2010 on December 20, with five of seven chairlifts, operated by the Tamarack Municipal Association (TMA).

The “Wildwood Express” chairlift, installed in 2005 and last operated in 2009, was removed in June 2012.[2] The ski operation lost nearly $300,000 during the 2011–12 season.”

In other words, it’s taken some pretty heavy blows but like our good friend Rocky…

…keeps getting up and trying again.

The Character
When you take that description above and put it in the context of a narrative, what you have in an underdog.

Underdogs are such a unique, powerful character that Malcolm Gladwell wrote a book about them. In an article covering his book, Inc’s Leigh Buchanan had this to say about these protagonists.

“In his opening chapter, Gladwell writes that ‘the act of facing overwhelming odds produces greatness and beauty.’ That, of course, is what entrepreneurs do best. They survey the battlefield. They scrabble for weapons. They summon courage. They change the rules.”

That’s why we love Rudy, that’s why we love Rocky, that’d why we love Appalachian State. That’s why we cheer for David instead of Goliath.

The Nuance in Tamarack’s Message
Tamarack recognizes this aspect of themselves. They recognize that the odds are stacked against them. They recognize the power of this story. But they also recognize that they aren’t alone.

So instead of telling this story directly, they found guests who were underdogs themselves. They let them tell their stories because, as they did, and this is the important part, they were also telling Tamarack’s.

Whether that’s a guy who grew up dreaming no higher than being able to eat whatever he wanted and worked his way up to the top a fertilizer company.

Or a kid whose future was a bleak as you can imagine and now lives a great, happy, loving life.

Underdogs telling stories about why they love and underdog resort.

TamFam Begins
Throughout all of this is a reference to what they’re calling the TamFam. Similar to “Sugarloafer since ______” of Brad’s days in Maine, TamFam carries a connection to the resort, harnesses the power of traditions and streaks, and wraps it into marketing that invites people not to come to a resort, but join a family.


It’s solid marketing for a resort with a ton of potential.

Great work by Brad and the rest of the Tamarack crew. This is a fun one to watch.

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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