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Why EpicMix is an Even Smarter Marketing Tool Than I Thought

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Preventative maintenance. You’ve heard it on car commercials but the principle extends far beyond the confines of your Outback’s hood. It took me [too many] years to learn that when you clean a stove or oven on a regular basis, you save yourself an afternoon of frustration down the road. Same goes for mowing a lawn, you can either spend 15 minutes every other Saturday or a day trying to tame 3 foot high weeds at summers-end.

So what does preventative maintentance have to do with EpicMix? Well, I’m glad you axed.

The Renewal Curve
Last week I spent a good chunk of time gathering, and staring at, season pass renewal rates. Not just overall percentages, but percentages based on how many times each pass was used. For the passes we analyzed, it would take an average of 12 days on the mountain to bring the effective ticket price below that of a day pass. Before removing some outliers from uses 1 and 2, here’s what the graph looked like:

What we found was three, basic groups. The low-users that were more likely to NOT renew. A high-user group that somewhere above that 12 use threshold that were VERY likely to renew, and a middle group where a magic point was reached when a passholder’s activity made renewing more probable than not. For the analysis, it was about 6 uses.

Keep those numbers in mind: 12 to make it cheaper than day passes, 6 to make them more likely to renew.

Epic Mix Time
When I finally wrote my first analysis of EpicMix, I was pretty psyched at the response. Even Rob Katz, Vail Resort’s CEO, said my article was the “best analysis I have read yet.” It even opened the door for a lengthy, 3:27 conversation with Rob at Snowcial. An occasion I used to show just how incredibly brilliant I really was.

However, despite my astounding genius at the time, I was missing one, simple idea behind EpicMix: preventative maintenance.

Ski Now or Market Later
The question boils down to this: is it more efficient and affordable to put resources toward enticing skiers to use a pass during the season they’ve already paid for (and thus making each more likely to renew) or putting resources toward trying to get those skiers to renew their passes later on?

I suppose it depends on the resources it takes to get skiers onto the mountain, but wouldn’t it be awesome if the pass had some built in tools and systems to entice skiers onto the slopes so, without our supervision, they’d easily eclipse that use/renewal threshold?

Funny thing, that’s exactly what EpicMix does.

The Marketing Game
EpicMix is a game that rewards skiers for skiing. I’m shocked by how well these pins, points, and stats work and have talked to dozens of skiers that are on the mountain that day to try to snag a pin or earn some points.

Now, remember those numbers: 12 and 6? An Epic Pass only needs to be used 6-7 times before it is more affordable than buying day passes. So, if that curve holds true, after three uses, an EpicPass skier could become more likely to renew his/her pass than not.

Combine that with a pass that is designed to entice people onto the slopes over and over and over again and you’ve got a system that get’s people above that renewal threshold quickly and efficiently. Brilliant.

My Mistake
I have to admit, when I first started thinking about how much motivation EpicMix was giving skiers to hit the slopes, I saw it as a negative because more skiers would equal longer lines. What I didn’t see is that more skiers skiing means the likelihood each will buy a pass again next year goes through the roof.

So, to answer my EpicMix question from my analysis two months ago: do you need EpicMix? Yes…and it’s about much more than mere social sharing.

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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