Tuesday, May 16, 2017

NSAA Announces Top Ski Area Marketing Programs for 2016-17

The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) has given seven ski areas top honors for their 2016-17 marketing programs. NSAA announced the winners today at its National Convention and Tradeshow being held this week in Scottsdale, Ariz. The awards are sponsored by Inntopia, a strategic marketing, commerce, and business intelligence firm based in Stowe, Vt.

NSAA presents the awards to member resorts with successful marketing programs that ultimately help grow the sports of skiing and snowboarding. Here are the 2016-17 winners::

Best Use of Mobile Technology
Boreal Mountain Resort, California

Best Social Media Campaign
Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows, California

Best Direct Marketing Program
Bristol Mountain Resort, NY

Best Use of Video Marketing
Tamarack Resort, Idaho

Best Family Campaign
Sunlight Mountain Resort, Colorado

Best “Bring a Friend” Campaign
Pico Mountain, Vermont

Best Overall Marketing Campaign
Killington Resort, Vermont.

Judges for the awards were Mike Bisner, vice president of business development for MWRC Internet Sales; Kristen Lummis, a snowsports and travel writer and two-time winner of NASJA’s Harold S. Hirsch Award for her popular Brave Ski Mom blog; and Mike Lewis, director of brand activations and digital strategy at ZEAL Optics.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Red Bull X-Alps 2017 Route

The new route will be the longest and hardest in the event’s 14-year history. Racing a straight-line distance of 1,138km from Salzburg to Monaco, 32 world class athletes from 21 countries will hike and fly via 7 turnpoints in 7 different countries - including Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, France and for the first time; Slovenia. This exciting new development will make the world's toughest adventure more challenging and more unpredictable than ever before.
As if that wasn’t enough, the new Slovenian turnpoint will lead the participants to race along Europe’s largest mountain range and traverse it four times between the northern and southern fringes. The race will also feature 3 turnpoints fewer than in 2015.
Race director Christoph Weber says; "The distances between the turnpoints will be longer than in the last seven editions. Such a wide variety of potential routes comes with a whole new world of strategic possibilities that will push rookies and veterans alike to their very limits; both mentally and physically".
The race starts at the historic Mozartplatz in Salzburg, Austria. From there, the athletes will run through the city and up the Gaisberg to Turnpoint 1. The scenic view above the Salzburger Land region will attract thousands of fans from far and wide, all of whom will be there to support the competitors as they set up their paragliders and embark on their first flight of the contest.
A grueling 157km straight-line journey south through Austria will take them to Turnpoint 2, the Mangart paragliding launch pad on the edge of Triglav National Park in Slovenia. Triglav is the first Slovenian turnpoint to appear in the race and is the country’s highest mountain at 2,864m above sea level.
Ulrich Grill, organizer of Red Bull X-Alps explains; "The new terrain around the Triglav Turnpoint will require some innovative new strategies that could make all the difference in the early stages of the race".
Traveling northwest from Slovenia, the competitors will traverse the Austrian Alps for a second time to reach Turnpoint 3; Aschau-Chiemsee in Germany. Located at the foot of the Kampenwand in the picturesque municipality of Aschau im Chiemgau, the athletes will decide whether to continue west on foot, or climb upwards and take to the air.
Turnpoint 4 is the second Austrian turnpoint in the race and can be found in the village of Lermoos. Situated in the shadow of the Zugspitze, the almost 3000m mountain connects Austria to Germany and offers the athletes huge flying potential. The right thermals at the right time could give them a serious boost onto the next leg of their exhausting journey.
Pushing back south through the Alps to Italy, the athletes will find themselves at Turnpoint 5, nestled closely to Lake Garda by Monte Baldo. At this point, the competitors will have successfully passed the halfway mark; but with tired feet, aching muscles and 499km still to go, anything could happen. Who will hike around the lake and who will be brave enough to fly across it?
Turnpoint 6 lies 251km west at the Matterhorn in southern Switzerland, making it the longest stretch between two consecutive turnpoints in the race. If getting there isn’t hard enough, navigating around one of the highest summits in Europe certainly will be. The region is also a key strategic point in the race, as the athletes set off on the last quarter of their journey.
In a final push, the hungry competitors will battle it out over the remaining 246km to reach Turnpoint 7 in Peille, southeast France. Finally, the timer will stop, leaving the athletes to make the 2km victory flight over Monaco to the warm, blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Here, they will touch down in style on a landing float to celebrate the accomplishment and relief of completing the world’s toughest adventure race.
The new route for Red Bull X-Alps 2017 will be the most demanding in the race’s 14-year history. From now, the athletes have just three months to prepare for the enormous journey that lies ahead. Studying the geography of the route will go a long way, but to emerge victorious will take a whole new caliber of endurance and determination. There’s no telling who will take the title, but with some of the greatest athletes in the world, it will certainly be an adventure to remember.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Red Bull X-Alps 2017

Red Bull X-Alps 2017 will start on July 2nd and will be the eighth edition of the world’s toughest adventure race. The combination of trekking and paragliding is one of the most exciting hybrids to emerge from the ongoing convergence of mountain sports.
Starting in Salzburg, 32 Athletes of 21 nationalities will race across the Alps to Monaco via 7 turnpoints in 7 different countries.
Athletes must journey non-stop for more than 1,000km across the Alps by foot or paraglider via set turnpoints. This demands a high level of endurance because when the weather isn’t friendly for flying, athletes must keep trekking until the clouds clear and they can take off again. It’s not uncommon for athletes to hike up to 100km in a day.
Being selected to compete in the world’s toughest and most prestigious adventure race is an achievement in itself. The race committee selects only the best athletes from around the world, based on solid mountaineering and trekking experience, endurance fitness, mental strength and flying ability. Only the most skilled and adventure-tested athletes will be considered.
In the race’s first editions, only one or two athletes had what it takes to make it from Salzburg to the finish line in Monaco. Ever since, the level of competition has intensified and in the last race two-thirds of the athletes made the goal.
The 2015 edition saw 19 athletes of the 32 that competed make the goal – a record number since the first race in 2003. Incredibly, 12 rookies crossed the finish line, including athletes from the US, Korea, New Zealand and elsewhere for the first time in history.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Washington’s Mission Ridge Ski & Snowboard Resort Wins NSAA 2017 Conversion Cup Award

Mission Ridge Ski & Snowboard Resort in Washington is the winner of the 2017 National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) Conversion Cup Challenge, sponsored by HEAD Wintersports. This annual award recognizes resorts across the country that have developed outstanding programs to convert new skiers and snowboarders into lifelong enthusiasts.
Mission Ridge was selected among a strong field of ski areas from across the US. The other three finalists were Boreal Mountain Resort, California, Copper Mountain Resort, Colorado, and Whistler Blackcomb, BC, Canada.
NSAA launched the initiative in 2010 as a way to pique competition among member ski areas and recognize those who make significant strides to boost conversion rates. The winner is chosen based upon proven results, creative ideas, consistent execution, and long-term commitment to the conversion effort. Several key metrics are used in the judging process, including beginner lesson volumes; quantifiable success of beginner lesson packages; season-to-date sales and repeat sales data collection; and marketing ingenuity and use of new media.
Mission Ridge won the honor largely based on the success of its Freedom Pass program, which is designed to provide a specific roadmap for beginners to become (at least) intermediate skiers. The Freedom Pass is an evolution from the successful Learn to Ski in 3 program that Mission Ridge had in place for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons.
The Freedom Pass addresses some of the most common hurdles for beginners, including the cost of the lesson, the feeling of intimidation, the lack of a clear progression to the next level, and the hassles related to equipment. The $159 Freedom Pass includes unlimited beginner group lessons, access to the beginner lift, and equipment rental.
"The Freedom Pass allows beginners the freedom to learn at their own pace and feel comfortable, confident, and inspired to explore new terrain because they aren’t worried about a limited number of lessons", noted the awards application from Mission Ridge. Not only do beginners get to take as many lessons as they want, once they feel comfortable moving up to more challenging terrain, Mission Ridge has the next stepping stone ready: a discounted three-pack of all-mountain lift tickets, a discount on an intermediate lesson, and a discount on a season pass for the subsequent season. This additional package of upgrades encourages new skiers and snowboarders to continue with the sport by exploring intermediate terrain and committing to a season pass the following winter. More than 20 percent of Freedom Pass holders from the 2015-16 winter became season pass holders this past season.
Mission Ridge improved e-mail communication with Freedom Pass customers this season, with customized e-mails triggered upon sign-up, after the third lesson, and at other key milestones in the program. Tracking the progress of beginners through the life cycle of the program was a critical element. Mission Ridge tracked the number of lessons as well as non-lesson visits for each participant in the Freedom Pass, and has monitored these figures year-over-year.

SKI Magazine Announces Golden Eagle Awards

SKI Magazine has honored three ski areas—Berkshire East Mountain Resort, Mass., Taos Ski Valley, NM, and Squaw Valley I Alpine Meadows, Calif.—with the 2017 Golden Eagle Awards for Environmental Excellence. In addition, SKI named Onno Wieringa of Alta Ski Area in Utah as the “Hero of Sustainability” honoree for 2017.
The Golden Eagle Awards, overseenin a partnership between SKI and the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), are the ski industry’s most prestigious honor for recognizing resort environmental programs and projects.
"When SKI founded this program in 1993, our goal was to recognize resorts that were actively addressing environmental issues, raising the bar, and encouraging other resorts to follow suit by serving as models for similar projects across the industry", said Andy Hawk, managing director of Active Interest Media’s Mountain Group. "It’s amazing how far the ski industry has come in 24 years, particularly with today’s focus on addressing climate change".
The resort awards are divided into three categories: small (fewer than 200,000 annual skier/boarder visits), medium (200,000 to 500,000 visits) and large (more than 500,000 visits). The Hero of Sustainability Award is designed to honor an individual making a difference in resort environmental performance.
Berkshire East Mountain Resort in Massachusetts won the Golden Eagle Award in the small ski area category. Berkshire East produces more electricity than it uses on an annual net basis. In 2012, the ski area was the first in the world to power 100 percent of its operation with a 900 kWh wind turbine and a 500 kWh solar field. In the past year, it launched an energy efficiency program, including installation of 500 LED lights and snowmaking and pumping upgrades, totaling $3 million in investment. These renewable energy and energy efficiency measures result in about 2.6 million pounds of CO2 reduced annually. In addition, the resort installed a wood burning system that uses wood cut from the resort’s forest management and glading work, and a sawmill to produce finished lumber from blow-down timber for construction or replacement of buildings. The resort opened a Renewable Energy Classroom in 2016 to host students, groups, and organizations so they could learn about the basics of wind energy generation, solar fields and energy efficiency measures, storage, and the electric grid.
Taos Ski Valley in New Mexico took the top environmental honors in the medium-sized ski area category for its comprehensive and groundbreaking “Taos Verde” sustainability program. This year Taos was the first ski resort in the world to become a certified B Corporation. Certified B Corps are required to meet the highest standards of verified economic, social, and environmental performance, and public transparency. Taos earned this recognition because the Taos Verde mission is not only to pursue environmental business practices but also to promote a more resilient and robust community. Taos has taken drastic actions over the past two years to reduce its overall energy consumption by 10.9 percent. The resort is a participant in the Climate Challenge, and has committed to a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2020. Taos has discontinued the sale of disposable plastic bottles at all facilities—offering reusable bottles as an alternative—expecting to remove 10,000 plastic bottles from its waste stream annually. Additional watershed protection measures, waste reduction efforts, and engagement with conservation non-profits make Taos a standout and deserving recipient of the Golden Eagle Award.
Squaw Valley I Alpine Meadows in California won the Golden Eagle Award in the large resort category for its multifacted approach to sustainability and leveraging its influence in support of climate change solutions. Squaw has reduced its own carbon footprint as an early adopter of sustainable technologies and a participant in the Climate Challenge. The resort supports a broad array of regional transit and parking initiatives, including free POW Parking for HOVs, free electric car charging, free skier shuttle services between lodging and the mountain, and between Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, eliminating roughly 85 tons of CO2 in emissions annually. Squaw also partners with POW through hosting the Rider’s Alliance & Athlete Summits, the branding of its funitel cabin with POW to educate guests on the “POW Seven” Pledge, and even a POW branded phone booth in the Village during the World Cup, featuring facts on climate, scripts, and state representatives’ contact information to encourage guests to engage in advocacy. In collaboration with FIS, Squaw accomplished a Carbon Neutral 2017 World Cup by offsetting the event’s carbon footprint (including all mountain operations—snowmaking, lifts, grooming—and travel emissions of athletes, coaches, and World Cup staff to and during the event, their accommodations, and meals) through purchase of certified carbon credits and an on-site solar installation. This effort will serve as a model for future carbon neutral FIS events. Squaw has used its influence to effect change beyond the resort as well, by joining a Regional Clean Power Coalition to encourage power provider Liberty Utilities to replace coal with renewable energy sources, and joining Switch, Tesla, Patagonia, and others in support of a successful Nevada ballot measure, Question 3, to require lawmakers to create an open, competitive, well-regulated energy market.
Onno Wieringa is a Hero of Sustainability for his environmental leadership at the helm of Alta Ski Area. He has been a leading voice for Alta’s triple bottom line performance since before the phrase was popular. Wieringa published one of the industry’s first environmental reports and commissioned one of the first ski area greenhouse gas inventories in the country, years before NSAA launched the Climate Challenge, long before we had POW or Paris. In 2008, he founded the Alta Environmental Center (AEC) to pursue sustainability internally for the ski area, act as a resource to the community, and foster environmental education. The AEC has received much deserved recognition for its many contributions to sustainability. Wieringa has shared his sustainability experience widely in his leadership roles across the industry, including years of service on the NSAA Environmental Committee and Ski Utah. Through the Mountain Collective, he encouraged peer resorts to find common ground in sustainability and helped boost participation in the Climate Challenge. Wieringa has always approached sustainability from a common sense perspective of hard work and doing right by people and the places we love. For that, he is a Hero of Sustainability. He is retiring this year after 44 years of service to Alta Ski Area. He has left a lasting and positive legacy of valuing environmental stewardship that will serve the ski area, its employees and community, Utah, and the ski industry for decades to come.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Skier Visits Up to 54.7 Million in 2016-17

The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) announced that U.S. ski areas tallied an estimated 54.7 million skier and snowboarder visits during the 2016-17 season, up 3.7 percent from last season’s 52.8 million total. The annual skier visit count, an important industry metric, was released today at the NSAA Convention and Tradeshow being held this week in Scottsdale, Ariz.
This past season, ski areas in the Northeast region experienced an impressive rebound, as skier visits grew by 27 percent in this region to 11.8 million visits. In addition, the Pacific Northwest region is estimated to have had its best season on record (4.4 million visits) and the Rocky Mountain region its second-best winter in terms of skier visits (21.7 million). Visits were up from last winter in the Southeast region, but down slightly in the Midwest region and the Pacific Southwest region.
The traditional ski holiday periods of Christmas and Spring Break were busy at resorts across the country, contributing to the overall positive season. Skier visits were up 30 percent in December and up 4 percent in March, relative to the 2015-16 season.
Across the country, it was a season of contradictions”, said Michael Berry, president of NSAA. "We had more snow this season in the California Sierra Mountains than the previous four seasons combined. And yet Chicago recorded its first-ever snowless January and February in more than 146 years.” One thing always remains true, Berry continued. “Even after one or two winters of less than great snow, skiers come back in droves when Mother Nature cooperates, and we consistently see that season after season".
Encouragingly, the number of open and operating U.S. ski areas rose to 479 in the 2016-17 season, up from 464 last season. The Northeast region has witnessed a rebirth of several formerly defunct ski areas in the past few seasons—a positive sign for skiers and snowboarders seeking out new places to visit and for local populations who want to learn to slide on snow.
The number of lessons taught at U.S. ski areas increased this season, indicative of the growing appetite to learn to ski and snowboard. These activities provide terrific opportunities to get outside in the winter and spend time with family and friends.
Average resort snowfall increased by 36 percent nationally, which contributed to ski areas being open an extra week, on average, compared to the 2015-16 season. The increased length of the operating season was most pronounced in the Southeast (23 days longer) and Northeast (15 days longer) regions.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Freeride World Tour. Judging System

The Swatch Freeride World Tour (FWT) is the premier big mountain freeskiing and snowboarding tour in the world, featuring the sport’s top athletes competing in the world’s best mountain resorts. Created in 2008, the FWT became even more global in 2012 following the union of North American-based Freeskiing World Tour, The North Face Masters of Snowboarding, and the European-based Swatch Freeride World Tour. Besides the successful implementation of this truly global FWT, the increase of Freeride World Qualifier (FWQ) and Junior Freeride Tour events in recent years shows that the base of the sport is growing exponentially.
The FWT represents top-level big mountain riding, the most progressive and pure discipline of skiing and snowboarding. Riders use the entire mountain as their canvas, from cliffs, cornices and chutes to powder fields and trees. FWT events have invitation-only athlete rosters but the full FWQ series allows athletes to compete in 1 to 4-star level events and qualify for the FWT the following season. All FWT competition venues are handpicked for their terrain, as well as their steepness, and offer a wide range of options to those competing.

It is human nature to compete and at some point in the early 90’s the world’s most talented freeriders wanted to know who was the best. Freeride Competitions are compelling viewing because they harness energy, spontaneity, creativity and courage. But the biggest challenge facing these contests was building a format that could decide a winner without crushing those core attributes.Riders compete individually, and receive an overall score based on line difficulty, control, air and style, fluidity, and technique. A winning run will feature difficult line choices, such as riding over cliffs, through narrow chutes, or off natural features created by rocks and fallen trees. Throughout their run, riders are expected to stay moving and angled down the slope, while staying in control at all times and displaying proper technique, including stance and body position. Style consists of adding flair to a run, which could include tricks such as grabs, spins and flips.
In 2012, the Pro Freeriders Board (PFB) and a panel of head judges created a unique judging system to be used at all events of the unified Freeride World Tour (FWT)
It guarantees fair results, helps to form new judges all around the world and can be used for Junior, FWQ and FWT events.
At each of the events, there is a judging panel consisting of six judges who are trained and certified by the PFB and under the control of the head judges.
Only one unique score, "overall impression" determines a riders’ final score. To evaluate the run, judges use a point system of a hundred increments from 1.0 to 10.0. They have to consider five criteria; the first is the line, then control, followed by air and style, fluidity and finally technique.
Judges will have the following 5 criteria in mind while judging:
  • Line: Where in the face does the contestant ride, difficulty, originality, skipped features,    number & size of jumps, use of terrain, steep parts and narrow chutes taken.
  • Control: Control while riding, in the air and landing.
  • Air and Style:   Number & size of jumps, tricks and style. A loss of control in the air will be penalized under air    and seen as a lack of style.
  • Fluidity: Relative speed (how fast compared to how exposed, steep, narrow), stops, hesitations,    unnecessary traversing and hiking.
  • Technique: Bad turns, power turns, back seat riding, counter rotation, good or bad sluff management, and did the   rider manage to link turns in steep and narrow places, or did he or she slide it. 
The goal of this rider-approved system is to have a judging system that allows every style of riding the possibility to win. 

Friday, May 5, 2017

Ischgl Closes Winter Season with Zucchero and 18,200 Fans

On 30 April 2017, dolce vita met rock in Ischgl in the form of the exceptional musician Zucchero. 18.200 winter sports fans celebrated the sunny finale of a successful and snowy winter season in the Silvretta Arena at 2,320m altitude.
Magnificent sunshine and Italian rock to mark the season finale in Ischgl. Superstar Zucchero took spectators on a journey to his homeland of Italy at the legendary Top of the Mountain Closing Concert and impressed winter sports fans with his powerful voice. The ‘father of the Italian blues’ and his band of 13, including star musicians such as Hammond virtuoso Brian Auger, guitarist Kat Dyson, drummer Queen Cora Dunham and bass player and musical director Polo Jones, rocked out for more than two hours due to the fantastic atmosphere and the amazing reception on the Idalp stage at 2,320m altitude. The repertoire included: expressive songs from Zucchero’s current album ‘Black Cat’ and his global hits such as ‘Baila Morena’, ‘Senza una Donna’ and ‘Miserere’. The concert in Ischgl marked the start of Zucchero’s new ‘Black Cat’ world tour of 2017.
"With the Top of the Mountain Closing Concert, we are able to look back on a successful and snowy winter season, thanks to the altitude of the Silvretta Arena. We are proud to have impressed our guests from the very first to the very last day this season", says Andreas Steibl, Managing Director of the tourist board Paznaun-Ischgl.

Zucchero follows in the footsteps of a galaxy of superstars who have entertained skiers and boarders in the Austrian resort's traditional Top of the Mountain gig. Long time ago, Ischgl decided to put its entire advertising and marketing budget into staging two massive concerts a year to open and close the winter season. Elton John was the first star to feature in the Tirolean resort's now famous season closing concerts, back in 1995. Since then the resort has hosted Rod Stewart, Bob Dylan, Sting, Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Bon Jovi, Enrique Iglesias, Atomic Kitten, Peter Gabriel, The Corrs, Alanis Morissette, Lionel Richie, Pink, the Scissor Sisters, the Pussycat Dolls, Rihanna, Elton John again, Gabriella Cilmi, Leona Lewis, Kylie Minogue, Katy Perry, Alicia Keys, Gossip, The Killers,Roxette, Mariah Carey, The Scorpions, Deep Purple, Nickelback, Robbie Williams, James Blunt, Thirty Seconds to Mars, The Beach Boys and PUR.

Ischgl (1377m) is a truly Ski Paradise in Tirol (Austria) with 238 km of prepared pistes, 43 lifts and lots of interesting new features in the ski resort. The modern lifts managed by the Silvretta Seilbahn AG Company offer a high level of comfort and countless extras, such as heated seats in the Fimbabahn cable car built for the 2007/08 season. A variety of slopes and ski routes offer a opportunity for everyone, from beginners to experts looking for challenging pistes. Eleven is the name of the longest piste with approximately 11 kilometres from the top of the ski resort in Greitspitz (2,872 metres) to Ischgl village (1,400 metres).From Ischgl you can access to the Silvretta Arena Ski Paradise, thanks to an alliance between two Companies (Silvretta Seilbahn AG and Bergbahnen Sammaun AG) and two ski resorts (Ischgl-Sammaun) from two different countries (Switzerland-Austria).

Thursday, May 4, 2017

That's a Wrap. Best of the Swatch Freeride World Tour 2017

2017 marks the tenth edition of the Freeride World Tour. For the past ten years the event has assembled the greatest ski and snowboard freeriders on the planet for a five-stop world tour.
The Swatch Freeride World Tour 2017 kicked off in Vallnord Arcalis on February 9th.
After careful assessment, event organizers have determined that due to safety concerns, the fifty-two competitors scheduled to open the season in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc should go straight to Vallnord-Arcalís, Andorra.
The 2017 edition was the third time the Swatch Freeride World Tour made its appearance in Andorra.
Freeride fans were finally treated to a phenomenal show on the explosive first stop of the 2017 Swatch Freeride World Tour. Competitors gave it their all as the fifty-two riders made their way to the Pyrenean freeride capital for an action-packed competition on the feature-dense Serra de Balma venue.
Technical riding defined the event on the competition face situated at 2450m – known by riders as “Smoothy’s Garden” in honor of Sam Smoothy’s 2015 groundbreaking run – and located within the Vallnord-Arcalís resort.

After rescheduling the season opener for the 2017 Swatch Freeride World Tour in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc due to snow safety concerns caused by high winds in the French Alps, fifty riders were able to participate in Vallnord ArcalisAndorra on February 15th. It was their second event in two weeks at the same ski area in the Pyrenees.
Conditions were challenging for both riders and organizers. Snowfall brought fresh accumulations to the face and changeable weather resulted in a slight crust forming on the snow surface, making turning conditions variable in some parts of the venue. Despite these challenges and with the aide of the sun which softened the snow during the day, the athletes demonstrated their finest freeriding skills on the Baser Negre venue, situated at 2700m in the Andorran ski resort of Vallnord-Arcalís.

After several days of heavy snowfall at the Tyrolean ski resort of Fieberbrunn (Austria), the skies finally cleared to allow the competition to take place on the renowned Wildseeloder face (2118m) on March 8th. Competitors were treated to good visibility and somewhat variable snow conditions on the 600 vertical meter face due to snow safety control work conducted during the previous days.

After several competition delays, riders were finally treated to epic powder on the stunning terrain of the most coveted freeride peaks on the planet in Haines (Alaska). The remaining qualified twenty-seven athletes of the Swatch Freeride World Tour competed on March 25th on the so-called “dream stop” and last competition before the season finale in Verbier, Switzerland.
Unsettled weather marked the days preceding the event but that morning the skies cleared and revealed nearly perfect snow conditions on the 760m vertical meter (2493ft) Alaskan face. Riders and spectators were treated to one of the most spectacular competitions in FWT history.

The final contest of the international freeride ski and snowboard tour crowned four new world champions on April 3th at the Xtreme Verbier 2017. It was the 22nd time the best freeriders competed on the swiss ski resort of Verbier.
The Grande Finale of the 2017 Freeride World Tour marks ten years that the legendary 600m face, considered by most competitors to be the most technical and intimidating face on the Tour, poses its final challenge to riders on their path to becoming world champions.
After several days of unsettled weather, the twenty-eight qualified athletes for the final event of the five-stop FWT were delighted by excellent snow conditions on the renowned and technical 600 vertical meter north face of the Bec des Rosses (3223m) in Verbier.

2017 Freeride World Tour. Final Results:

Ski Men
  1. Léo Slemett (FRA)
  2. Reine Barkered (SWE)
  3. Kristofer Turdell (SWE)
Ski Women
  1. Lorraine Huber (AUT)
  2. Eva Walkner (AUT)
  3. Arianna Tricomi (ITA)
Snowboard Men
  1. Sammy Luebke (USA)
  2. Jonathan Penfield (USA)
  3. Davey Baird (USA)
Snowboard Women
  1. Marion Haerty (FRA)
  2. Anne-Flore Marxer (SUI)
  3. Shannan Yates (USA)
The Swatch Freeride World Tour (FWT) is the premier big mountain freeskiing and snowboarding tour in the world, featuring the sport’s top athletes competing in the world’s best mountain resorts. Created in 2008, the FWT became even more global in 2012 following the union of North American-based Freeskiing World Tour, The North Face Masters of Snowboarding, and the European-based Swatch Freeride World Tour. Besides the successful implementation of this truly global FWT, the increase of Freeride World Qualifier (FWQ) and Junior Freeride Tour events in recent years shows that the base of the sport is growing exponentially.
The FWT represents top-level big mountain riding, the most progressive and pure discipline of skiing and snowboarding. Riders use the entire mountain as their canvas, from cliffs, cornices and chutes to powder fields and trees. FWT events have invitation-only athlete rosters but the full FWQ series allows athletes to compete in 1 to 4-star level events and qualify for the FWT the following season. All FWT competition venues are handpicked for their terrain, as well as their steepness, and offer a wide range of options to those competing.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

NSAA Announces 2017 Sustainable Slopes Grant Winners

On Monday, May 1st, the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) today named four member ski areas as the recipients of its annual Sustainable Slopes Grant Program: Arapahoe Basin, Colorado, Copper Mountain Resort, Colorado, Granite Peak, Wisonsin, and Mt. Bachelor, Oregon.
Mt. Bachelor received a cash grant to install an infrared motion sensor control system for lighting in the Pine Marten Lodge. The upgraded automated lighting system will replace the current system of manual on and off switches and allow for off-site monitoring, helping to reduce electricity use and reduce the ski area’s carbon footprint by 120 MTCO2e or 2 percent. Mt. Bachelor is a participant in the ski industry’s Climate Challenge (see www.nsaa.org/environment/climate-change/). The resort has a goal to reduce emissions by 3,000 MTCO2e by 2014-15 using a 2010/11 baseline, and the project will help meet that goal over the next several years. Mt. Bachelor’s $5,000 grant was made possible by a generous donation from Clif Bar & Company, based in Emeryville, Calif. Clif Bar has contributed to the Sustainable Slopes grant program for eight years running. “As a company focused on maintaining climate-neutral business operations, we are pleased to support ski area projects making a positive impact on climate,” said Rachel Klipp, Adventure Sports Marketing & Environmental Partnership manager at Clif Bar & Company.
Massachusetts-based HKD Snowmakers awarded a high-efficiency snowmaking grant to Copper Mountain Resort, also a participant in the Climate Challenge.The ski area will receive five high-efficiency snowmaking guns from HKD Snowmakers, a total value of $23,000. Copper will use this grant to kickstart a deeper investment into more efficient snowmaking equipment across the mountain. Low-energy snowmaking equipment will decrease compressed air consumption, save power, and reduce the ski area’s carbon footprint. The existing snow guns use 232 CFM compressed air to produce 27 GPM of snow, while the replacement guns will use only 29 CFM compressed air to produce the same 27 GPM of snow, representing an 87 percent savings in compressed air. The upgrade ultimately will help Copper Mountain reach its Climate Challenge goal of reducing emissions by 12,000 MTCO2e. “We at HKD are excited to support Copper in meeting its goals under the Climate Challenge through the use of our energy-efficient snowmaking equipment,” said Charles Santry, president of HKD Snowmakers.
New this year, Ultra-Tech Lighting’s in-kind grant of 10 Snow-Bright™ light fixtures went to Granite Peak. The value of the grant is $7,000. Snow-Bright™ is energy-efficient lighting that will result in savings up to 85 percent over conventional lighting in operating electricity. Snow-Bright also substantially reduces “in-rush” current associated with electricity demand charges, which can shave enormous amounts off of total energy bills. “Ultra-Tech is pleased to provide Granite Peak with a product that will not only dramatically reduce energy use but improve the experience for night skiing guests,” said Philip Gotthelf, owner and founder of Ultra-Tech Lighting. Snow-Bright™ also has a 100,000-hour lifecycle, which will greatly reduce maintenance costs for the ski area.
Also new this year, Arapahoe Basin will receive the benefits of an in-kind Sustainability Staffing consulting services grant valued at $5,000. Brendle Group, the sustainability engineering and planning firm that manages the Climate Challenge, will help A-Basin assess the important intersection of HR and sustainability, and utilize existing staff to help achieve sustainability goals and reap the economic benefits of incorporating sustainability into HR practices, including improved employee retention and productivity. “Brendle Group looks forward to working with A-Basin’s management on integrating sustainability into all aspects of human resources at the ski area,” said Judy Dorsey, president and founder of Brendle Group. Arapahoe Basin is also a participant in the Climate Challenge, and has pledged to reduce emissions by 3 percent under 2008-09 levels by 2019-20.

Sustainable Slopes Grant Program
Launched in 2009, the grant program provides cash and in-kind funding to support sustainability projects at NSAA member ski areas.
Since its inception in 2009, the Sustainable Slopes Grant Program has awarded $123,500 in cash grants and $359,000 in in-kind grants, for a total of $482,500 in support of resort sustainability projects.

The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), headquartered in Lakewood, Colorado, is the trade association for ski area owners and operators. Formed in 1962, NSAA today represents 332 alpine resorts that account for more than 90 percent of the skier/snowboarder visits nationwide. Additionally, it has more than 400 supplier members who provide equipment, goods, and services to the mountain resort industry.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Looking for Inspiration: Excerpts About Branded Content (Dove Case Study)

Branded content is a form of advertising that uses the generating of content as a way to promote the particular brand which funds the content's production. Often utilized in native marketing, and somewhat similar in appearance, though different in technique than content marketing, branded content typically presents itself as something other than a marketing ploy first, albeit simultaneously  and always presented as a highly branded property and often labeled as "sponsored".

Dove Real Beauty Sketches is a short film produced in 2013 as part of the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty marketing campaign.
The video was produced by the Ogilvy & Mather ad agency. Anselmo Ramos, a vice president and creative director at Ogilvy Brazil, is one of the key creatives behind this campaign.
Back in 2007, when Dove won the Cannes Grand Prix with “Evolution,” the “Real Beauty” concept was a completely different point of view from the entire beauty industry. Now that the Campaign for Real Beauty has been established, our job was to talk straight to women in a more intimate, personal way. "Everything is a conversation really”, Ramos says of his creative philosophy. "Consumers are ready to engage with brands. We just need to entertain them" (Jessica Grose, Fast Company, 2013).

Real Beauty Sketches explores the gap between how others perceive us and how we perceive ourselves. Each woman is the subject of two portraits drawn by FBI-trained forensic artist Gil Zamora: one based on her own description, and the other using a stranger’s observations. The results are surprising…
Inspired by market research that suggested only 4% of women describe themselves as beautiful, and around 54% believe that when it comes to how they look, they are their own worst beauty critic, Unilever's Dove brand has been conducting a marketing campaign called Dove Campaign for Real Beauty that aims to celebrate women's natural beauty since 2005.
More than 50 million people viewed the Dove video within 12 days of its release.
To date, Real Beauty Sketches has been viewed almost 180 million times. It was the most watched online branded content of 2013 and the third most shared branded video. While it says nothing about the qualities of the product itself, the campaign got the world talking, and Dove has been part of that conversation – boosting sales massively in the process.
"I think what made this campaign perform particularly strongly is the content, which elicited the intense emotional responses of ‘warmth, ‘happiness’ and ‘knowledge’ from its target demographic — one of the key factors behind a video’s sharing success", David Waterhouse told Business Insider. "But, more importantly, we are really seeing social motivations behind sharing becoming a lot more important. Brands have to give people a reason to share the video".
A video really soars when consumers don't just want to watch it on YouTube, but they also want to share it with their friends. That's why good content is a key starting point.
"The pace of sharing for this campaign is also unprecedented", Waterhouse said. "In its first two weeks it attracted an incredible 3.17 million shares — that’s more than any other ad has managed in the same period, including VW's 'The Force,' [TNT's] 'Dramatic Surprise,' and 'Dumb Ways To Die,' the first, second and fourth most shared ads of all time respectively" (Laura Stampler, Business Insider, 2013).
Dove Skin VP Fernando Machado told BI that the video first launched in four key markets: the U.S., Canada, Brazil, and Australia. It was then rolled out abroad, and uploaded in 25 languages and seen in 110 countries.
"The brand partnered with YouTube and Unruly to facilitate the distribution and seeding strategy", Machado said. "PR served as a key channel, generating initial placements with media such as the Today Show, Mashable, Huffington Post and Channel 7 Morning Show in Australia. The film was distributed to top media around the world and was quickly shared by women, men, media and even other brands" (David Waterhouse, Business Insider, 2013).

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Looking for Inspiration: Excerpts About Branded Content (BMW Case Study)

The term branded content itself really took hold as a labeled marketing technique in 2001, when The Hire was produced and distributed on the internet and DVDs. BMW decided to take its $30 million advertising budget and spent it on producing five ‘mini’ feature films.
The BMW film series The Hire is a series of eight short films (averaging about ten minutes each) produced for the Internet in 2001 and 2002. A form of branded content, the shorts were directed by popular filmmakers from around the globe and starred Clive Owen as "the Driver" while highlighting the performance aspects of various BMW automobiles. The series made a comeback in 2016, fifteen years after its original run ended.
The plots of each of the films differ, but one constant remains: Clive Owen plays "The Driver," a man who goes from place to place (in BMW automobiles), getting hired by various people to be a sort of transport for their vital needs.

On April 26, 2001, John Frankenheimer's Ambush premiered on the BMW Films website and, two weeks later, was followed by Ang Lee's Chosen. Soon after, director Wong Kar-Wai was tapped to make a third film entitled The Follow, a dramatic piece about a runaway wife being followed by "the Driver". The film debuted at the Cannes Film Festival and received rave reviews. It was followed by Guy Ritchie's Star and Alejandro González Iñárritu's Powder Keg.
The series debuted in October 2002, with the film Hostage. The film was followed by Ticker, directed by Joe Carnahan. The series replaced producer David Fincher with Ridley and Tony Scott due to Fincher's continuing work on Panic Room.
Season 2 continued with a dark action/comedy piece by Tony Scott called Beat the Devil. The movie, shot in Scott's trademark pseudo-psychedelic style, featured James Brown enlisting the Driver to take him to Las Vegas to re-work a decades-old deal he made with the devil which evidently gave Brown his "fame and fortune".
On September 20, 2016, it was reported that BMW Films has resurrected the series 15 years after the original production wrapped, with Clive Owen returning to reprise his role as the Driver. The first episode was revealed to be titled The Escape, which premiered on October 23, 2016 on BMW Films' official website.
BMW Films’ was an extremely brave and bold decision from a brand that has always strived to be ahead of the curve in its 100-year history.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Looking for Inspiration: Excerpts About Branded Content

"People don’t like being sold to. It’s a discomforting experience, so the challenge for content marketers is to make sure the entertainment value of the content outweighs the discomfort"
Mike Clear, ZenithOptimedia Group.

Branded content is a form of advertising that uses the generating of content as a way to promote the particular brand which funds the content's production. Often utilized in native marketing, and somewhat similar in appearance, though different in technique than content marketing, branded content typically presents itself as something other than a marketing ploy first, albeit simultaneously and always presented as a highly branded property and often labeled as "sponsored".

Jan Godsk from the BCMA explains the differences between branded and content marketing (Jeremy Taylor, Our Social Times, 2014):
  • Branded content marketing campaigns are often associated with entertainment-type content, such as creative video advertising. The aim is to resonate with the consumer on an emotional level rather than focusing on the actual product and USPs.
  • Content marketing campaigns are more focused on the product or service and the content is usually more rational and informative. This takes place further down the customer decision journey and, unlike branded content, ROI is more about lead-generation and sales than building a positive image of the brandThe term branded content itself, however, really took hold as a labeled marketing technique in 2001, when The Hire was produced and distributed on the internet and DVDs.
"Branded content is all about storytelling – in short, giving customers the information and insights that they want to look through before making their purchasing decision", Sonal Mishra, Your Story, 2016.

"The goal is to build trust over time by providing useful information (...) The content is not only produced in relevance with the customer's interest but also strategically placed at the brand’s own properties (...) The idea is to provide customers with as much information to build the brand’s credibility in their eyes", Sonal Mishra, Your Story, 2016

Consumers are open to branded content, but marketers must make sure that they have a plan to distribute this content on the right platforms so the right audience finds it", .Kathy Kayse, VP of sales strategy and solutions at Yahoo (Natasha D. Smith, DMN, 2016).

"Branded content is the practicing of investing in compelling content, whether to inform or entertain, that as a result is able to create an immersive experience for the consumer", Chris Rooke, SVP of strategy and operations at native advertising platform Nativo (Natasha D. Smith, DMN, 2016).

"As more brands embrace content marketing as a valuable channel to reach their customers, a new trend is emerging: brands are becoming publishers. What this means is that many progressive brands are beginning to create their own content hubs and micro-sites to publish relevant, educational content that’s produced in-house. The overall effect: brands are able to build and engage with their target audience by providing them with content that they find useful or interesting", StackAdapt, 2015

The term branded content itself, however, really took hold as a labeled marketing technique in 2001, when The Hire was produced and distributed on the internet and DVDs. It featured a series of short films by Hollywood "A-List" directors, but featuring the BMW car in the film was the true intent of the production. The popularity of these films spurred other marketers to create films, music, games, interactive content and real-life events, which merely exists to entertain and educate the consumer, keeping their attention long enough to market a product or service.In 2003, the Branded Content Marketing Association (BCMA) was formed in order to promote branded content to a wider, international audience.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Looking for Inspiration: Do It Forever Campaign

Founded in 1956, Spies is Denmark's best Charter Travel Agency. Spies is a brand of Thomas Cook.
On November 2016, the Spies travel agency have released the third ad in the "Do It for Denmark" campaign called "Do it Forever".
Using the example of Karen and Jørgen, it shows a couple whose sex life has drained away after having a children, leaving them sitting in the bed where they once "couldn’t keep their hands off each other" staring at separate tablets.
"It turns out that Danish couples have much less sex after having children (...) This continues throughout life and affects both health and life expectancy", the voiceover says.
Claiming sex can extend life by up to eight years and provide a range of health benefits, the Spies travel agency advert invites parents on cut-price holidays to exotic locations where they can reignite the spark: "You don’t stop having sex because you’re getting old, you get old because you stop having sex. Extend your life with an exotic trip and do it".
"Do it Forever" is a loyalty program with a built in fertility bonus. The more children you have made the bigger discount you get on your exotic holidays.
Created once again by Robert/Boisen & Like-Minded, it concludes about as honestly as anybody can hope: "This way, we secure your health, as well as our future business".

Back in 2014, the Spies travel agency urged the country to "Do it for Denmark", then "Do it for Mum" the following year, with the videos generating a combined 20 million views and spawning a nationwide trend.
All started when Spies Travels announced a competition where you have to make a baby to win.

On 2015 Spies Travel joined forces with wannabe grandmas to continue the fight against Denmark's low birth rate. The Travel agency launched the Spies Parent Purchase campaign urging people to have children to please their parents and help reverse the country’s aging population. Send your child on an active holiday and get a grandchild.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Looking for Inspiration: Excerpts About Ageism In Marketing

In his book Management Challenges for the 21st Century, Peter Drucker said the number one issue facing business is coping with the worldwide decline in birth rates. This has dramatically changed age ratios, making young people a smaller percentage of the population and older people a larger percentage (David B. Wolfe. Marketing to the new Customer Majority).

Population ageing is unprecedented, without parallel in the history of humanity. One of the great achievements of the twentieth century is a dramatic rise in life expectancy. But, increases in the proportions of older persons (60 years or older) are being accompanied by declines in the proportions of the young (under age 15). By 2050, the number of older persons in the world will exceed the number of young for the first time in history. Moreover, by 1998 this historic reversal in relative proportions of young and old had already taken place in the more developed regions.
The number of people aged 60 years and over has tripled since 1950, reaching 600 million in 2000 and surpassing 700 million in 2006. It is projected that the combined senior and geriatric population will reach 2 billion by 2050.
Most of the developed world now has sub-replacement fertility levels, and population growth now depends largely on immigration together with population momentum which arises from previous large generations now enjoying longer life expectancy.
The majority of older persons are women, as female life expectancy is higher than that for men. In 2000, there were 63 million more women than men aged 60 or older, and at the oldest ages, there are  two to five times as many women as men.
Countries with high per capita incomes tend to have lower participation rates of older workers.
Population ageing is enduring -we will not return to the young populations that our ancestors knew-, and has profound implications for many facets of human life.
The profound, pervasive and enduring consequences of population ageing present enormous opportunities as well as enormous challenges for all societies.
UN (2002). World Population Ageing: 1950-2050

As one would expect, companies should consider these demographical realities and adapt their strategies in order to stay on top of the economic game. Yet, unlike other industries such as travel and insurance, the advertising industry has been slow to respond to these changes (Vivek Vallurupalli. Too Old for Ads? Implications of Age Discrimination in Advertising).

For decades the advertising industry has worshipped at the altar of youth. Advertisers have been chasing young money since the nineteen-twenties, when consultants started advising companies to woo trendsetting flappers. The baby boomers cemented the youth infatuation; the Pepsi Generation was the biggest, most affluent, and most free-spending group of young people anyone had ever seen. In the sixties, ABC persuaded Nielsen to measure a show's popularity with younger viewers so that the network could demonstrate to advertisers that it was the boomers' favorite (James Surowiecki. Ageism in Advertising).

There's only one small problem with that: People 55+ spend the most money in almost all categories. They buy the most cars, spend the most on electronics, and control the most wealth. Yet more than 80% of the wealth in North American financial institutions is in the hands of people over 50, giving them 2.5 times the discretionary spending of the coveted 18 to 34 age group. They spend an estimated $2 trillion per year on products and services.

The advertising industry has focused on the key 18 to 49 target, believing that young people were most likely to develop lifelong loyalties to certain brands.
Media buyers estimate that 55% of the $20 billion spent in television primetime advertising is directed at the 18-49 age group.
Yet only 10% of all advertising is aimed at people 55+.
But, a RoperASW study found that people over 50 were as likely as younger consumers to switch brands for things such as banks, airlines, computers and even bath soap.
Another report showed that when it came to other product categories, like athletic shoes, home electronics and cellphones - older consumers were even more open to switching brands than younger ones. As a matter of fact, 78% of people between 56 and 90 are "likely" or "very likely" to try new products.
If the age-old axiom is to "follow the money," why isn't advertising's famous ability to do that kicking in?
There are three possible reasons (Terry O'Reilly. The Age of Persuasion. Ageism In Advertising):
  1. The average age of ad agency people is around 30. So if the people advising advertisers where to spend their money are young, it's not surprising that companies are being convinced they should be targeting the young. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
    Or perhaps companies suffer from what economists call an internal audience problem—the people who create their ads don't look like the people who buy their products (James Surowiecki. Ageism in Advertising).
  2. Marketing's lack of attention to 55+ is cultural. Ignoring older people is tolerated. If society feels that way at large, and if advertising follows the parade, why should marketers feel any different?
  3. The advertising industry has institutionalized the youth strategy. While it has recently shifted that demographic slightly to reflect ages 25 to 54, a lot of media thinking believes the 55+ consumers will be reached with the "spill" of their 25 to 54 media buys. But even the word "spill" suggests a lack of focus and respect. So advertisers continue shutting the door at age 49, or even 54, despite the fact that the 55+ market would probably grow revenues dramatically.

"There's now a kind of ritualistic, inertial quality to the way ads get bought", CBS's David Poltrack says. "The old categories are increasingly irrelevant, but we keep using them". Twenty or thirty years ago, brand loyalty was more durable. Consumers—particularly older ones—were less sophisticated and less restless, and had fewer brands to choose from. So it made sense to get them while they were young. But today the boomers, steeped in advertising from cradle to couch, are comfortable navigating a marketplace of limitless choice. Even people supposedly settling into their golden years have been taught to shop at Target, pop Aleve, and drink Starbucks. Of course, there is a demographic of genuine stick-in-the-mud types, who have decided what they're after and are resistant to all arguments to the contrary.
They're the ones who work in advertising. (James Surowiecki. Ageism in Advertising).

Today's richest market is the New Customer Majority-middle-aged and older adults who make up the biggest percentage of the buying public. Never before have adults 40 years and older been in the majority. Understanding this population and persuasively selling to it require a new kind of marketing research arsenal (David B. Wolfe, Robert E. Snyder. Ageless Marketing: Strategies for Reaching the Hearts and Minds of the New Customer Majority).
Older people behave differently. Changes in goals, values, and in what they want from life changes behavior as well as needs. Life satisfaction is more often sought in experiences than in things. The narcissistic and materialistic influences that drive much of the behavior of younger people tend to ebb among older people (David B. Wolfe. Marketing to the new Customer Majority).

Companies that want to tap into this important segment should start learning how to adress the needs of this market and how to reach it.

I started this post with Peter Drucker and I also want to finish it with another of his quotes:

"Basic assumptions about reality are the paradigms of a social science, such as management. They are usually held subconsciously by the scholars, the writers, the teachers, the practitioners in the field. Yet those assumptions largely determine what the discipline assumes to be reality (...)
For a social discipline such as management, the assumptions are actually a good deal more important than are the paradigms for a natural science (...) The paradigm -that is, the prevailing general theory- has no impact on the natural universe (...) The social universe has no "natural laws" (...) It is thus subject to continuous change. And this means that assumptions that were valid yesterday can become invalid and, indeed, totally misleading in no time at all (...)
What matters most in a social discipline such as management are therefore the basic assumptions. And a change in the basic assumptions matters even more" (Peter Drucker. Management Challenges for the 21st Century).

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Looking for Inspiration: The Marketing Plan

"Marketing is so basic that it cannot be considered a separate function. It is the whole business seen from the point of view of its final result, that is, from the customer’s point of view… Business success is not determined by the producer but by the customer" (Peter Drucker)
"Today marketing is not simply a business function: It’s a philosophy, a way of thinking, and a way of structuring your business and your mind" (Philip Kotler).

A marketing plan may be part of an overall business plan. Solid marketing strategy is the foundation of a well-written marketing plan. A marketing plan is a comprehensive document that outlines a company's marketing efforts for the coming future.
Done properly, your marketing plan will dramatically improve the success of your organizationThe right marketing plan identifies everything from:
  • who your target customers are to
  • how you will reach them
  • to how you will retain your customers so they repeatedly buy from you.
In the 1990s, PR Smith created the SOSTAC framework. This means breaking your plan down into six elements:

S stands for Situation Analysis – which means where are we now?
O stands for Objectives which means where do we want to go?
S stands for Strategy which summarises how we are going to get there.
T stands for Tactics which are the details of strategy.
A is for Action or implementation – putting the plan to work.
C is for Control which means measurement, monitoring, reviewing, updating and modifying.

This are the key sections you must include in your marketing plan (based in Dave Lavinsky,
Marketing Plan Template: Exactly What To Include):
  1. Executive Summary. Your Executive Summary will be helpful in giving yourself and other constituents an overview of your plan.
  2. Market and competition research(including benchmarking). Gathering and classifying data about the market the organization is currently in.
    As a first step, marketers need to understand customer needs and wants and the marketplace within which they operate. Examining the market dynamics, patterns, customers, and the current sales volume for the industry as a whole. Also, the marketing plan should identify the organization's competition.
    Benchmarking is the process of comparing one's business processes and performance metrics to industry bests and best practices from other companies.
  3. Target Customers. Being able to identify your target customers is basic to help you succeed.
    Write down your brand-positioning statement for your target customers.
    The best way to define your target audience is to create buyer personas and identify tribes.
    A Persona is a description of a specific person who might want your services.
    As Marketers we need to move away from market segments based on characteristics, and instead embrace consumer tribes, which are based on behavior. Tribes are now a part of the social landscape and companies will need to learn to engage with them if they are to be competitive.
  4. Unique Selling Proposition (USP). Having a strong USP is of critical importance as it distinguishes your company from competitors.
  5. Pricing and Positioning Strategy. Your pricing and positioning strategy must be aligned.
  6. Distribution Plan. Your distribution plan details how customers will buy from you.
  7. Promotion Strategy. Blended Marketing. Mix Offline and Online to create a more complete, overall marketing strategy.
    Paid Owned Earned Media (P.O.E.M) is a framework that marketers use which incorporates a blended approach of traditional marketing, digital media and engagement as a more holistic marketing strategy.
    Social media has become an essential part of businesses' marketing plans because every type of customer is on some type of platform, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+, LinkedIn and other networks.
  8. Events and BTL Actions Strategy. Events are a powerful marketing tool and a great opportunity to assist in creating, changing or reinforcing brands.
  9. Conversion Strategy. Conversion strategies refer to the techniques you employ to turn prospective customers into paying customers.
  10. Joint Ventures and Partnerships. Marketing partnerships are a powerful way to expose yourself to customers you might otherwise never reach.
  11. Referral Strategy. A strong customer referral program could revolutionize your success. For example, if every one of your customers referred one new customer, your customer base would constantly grow.
  12. Retention Strategy. Identify and document ways you can better retain customers here.
  13. Financial Projections. Your financial projections, include all the information documented in your marketing plan and include, for instance, the promotional expenses you expect to incur and what your expected results will be in terms of new customers, sales and profits.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Looking for Inspiration: Excerpts About Content Marketing (Red Bull Case Study)

"Red Bull is a media company that happens to sell energy drinks", quote attributed to Red Bull’s Austrian founder Dietrich Mateschitz.

Brands such as Red Bull and GoPro are the content marketing pillars who have created the foundations of what a great content marketing strategy is all about! (Julia McCoy. SocialMediaToday, 2015). Red Bull focus on the audience and what is important to them and what made them passionate about their scene, their sport.

"One of the major ways Red Bull wins in content marketing is that they always put their customers first. This is a great way to interact with their client base and make people feel welcome. While their customers might not necessarily participate in extreme sports or the other events Red Bull sponsors, their client base still enjoys watching them. The company states that the product is completely secondary. What comes first is what the customer wants and how the company can deliver and meet those wants and needs", (Julia McCoy. SocialMediaToday, 2015).

Red Bull Media House is a subsidiary media company launched in Austria in 2007. It has produced a website, a TV Channel (Red Bull TV is a digital video service that features inspirational programming from the world of Red Bull in live global events and an extensive selection of sports, music and lifestyle entertainment), TV programs (No Limits on ESPN), over 89 films of varying length (That's It, That's All, The Art of Flight), magazines (The Red Bulletin),  and a steady diet of Web videos featuring snowboarders, rally cars, surfers, cliff divers, and concerts.
The Red Bull Media House takes care of all the major parts of Red Bull’s content marketing, including their presence on social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, and YouTube. (5,301,687 subscribers and 1,498,199,460 views -July 22, 2016- on YouTube make Red Bull Media House one of the top five producers of sports content in the world).
Red Bull Media House fully integrates social media marketing into every project.
"Red Bull understands the need for multiple content formats because they understand people consume it differently",  (Julia McCoy. SocialMediaToday, 2015).
The brand was an early adopter of social media, though paid media, including TV buys, remain a part of the mix.

"The launch of Red Bull Media House marked the first time a brand truly transcended from being an advertiser (tangential to the feature story) to becoming the feature story itself", (Doug Zanger. The Drum, 2016).

Take a look at Red Bull's Stratos. Dubbed "the mission to the edge of space," the Stratos campaign featured Austrian Felix Baumgartner making a freefall jump from 24 miles above the earth. The jump broke the world record for a freefall jump from 128,100 feet (39,045 meters) and he became the first human to break the sound barrier without engine power. This scientific mission was the basis of exceptional content opportunities that could be leveraged across media assets, (Natalie Zmuda. AdAge, 2013).

Red Bull's creation of content that has stimulated word of mouth (WOM) and advocacy has been outstanding and Stratos is a great example of engagement. Arun Hozack, Vice President of Marketing at Red Bull North America, said the 'Stratos' event, was a natural outgrowth of the company's strategy.
"Personal interactions, athlete sponsorship, event participation and word-of-mouth has always been a part of our DNA", he said. "Social media in recent years is a natural evolution of our strategy and has amplified engagement".
The event was carried on nearly 80 TV stations in 50 countries. Red Bull Media House, the brand's global media company, even earned a Sports Emmy for "Outstanding New Approaches - Sports Event Coverage" that year.
Stratos undoubtedly raised Red Bull's profile as the brand looks to expand in core markets like Western Europe and the U.S., as well as newer targets such as Brazil, Japan, India and South Korea. It also raised sales. In the six months immediately following Stratos, sales rose 7% to $1.6 billion in the U.S., according to research firm IRI.
According to the private company, it sold 5.2 billion cans worldwide last year, a 13% increase over the year prior. In the U.S., sales jumped 17%, while markets as varied as South Africa, Japan, Saudi Arabia, France and Germany also saw double-digit sales gains, (Natalie Zmuda. AdAge, 2013).

Finally, "one thing Red Bull and GoPro knows is that a successful partnership can make for an even more successful product. Just how did Red Bull capture some of their more amazing stunts? How did GoPro get the funding to sponsor well-known athletes? The two companies joined teams and have created some incredible content together", (Julia McCoy. SocialMediaToday, 2015).

Monday, April 24, 2017

Looking for Inspiration: Excerpts About Content Marketing (GoPro Case Study)

Companies are increasingly focused on consistently engaging their customers with compelling content that attracts audiences, creates value, and has opportunities for interaction.
"Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience - with the objective of driving profitable customer action". (Content Marketing Institute, 2014).

Brands such as Red Bull and GoPro are at the forefront of content marketing. They engage with audiences by providing rich and compelling content that does not have a 'hard sell approach,' and is focused on creating a connection and a true value exchange with their audiences.
"The power of our content from a branding perspective is that it is branded content without the traditional branding, (...) Storytelling and producing inspiring films is a top priority for GoPro and our ability to use our products to capture and share these stories, without a heavy branded hand, drives our business in a uniquely powerful, authentic and meaningful way". (Wil Tidman, Head of Production, GoPro. AdWeek,. 2015). 

GoPro put the customer first, and the brand in the background. They help, they don't hype. GoPro it’s a platform for its customers’ self-expression of their digital lifestyles.
"We’re not just a camera anymore. We’re an enjoyment platform for people around the world to watch". Paul Crandall, Vice President of marketing GoPro. AdAge, 2014).

The digital landscape is fast-paced and continually changing. And consumers also do. "People have moved from being Consumers to Prosumers with far more influence than ever before. The term 'prosumer' has transformed from meaning 'professional consumer' to meaning 'product and brand advocate'. Rather than simply 'consuming' products, people are becoming the voices of those products and significantly impacting the success or failure of companies, products, and brands, particularly through their involvement on the social web", (Susan Gunelius. Forbes, 2010).

GoPro's audience not only act as consumers, but as producers of content. Their customers play a significant role in the content creation and engagement process. Customers share video content that is geographically breathtaking, and highly aspirational. Their audience is capturing content and stories that are meaningful, and this content elevates GoPro to a highly authentic brand status.
"Not only do users post videos of their own experiences, but GoPro also buys the rights to self-shot videos with unique and inspiring content, polishes them, and posts them to its owned channels for additional distribution. By doing so, GoPro is inspiring others to believe that they, too, can “be the hero” by using a GoPro camera to record their experiences", (Ardath Albee. Content Marketing Institute, 2015).

According to the Content Marketing Institute 2015, GoPro's customers are "so engaged that anyone would be envious of their work".
"GoPro’s user-generated content success is inspirational — especially if you’re a marketer who wants to turn your customers into fans who want to share their experiences with your brand", (Ardath Albee. Content Marketing Institute, 2015).