Originally Posted by chrisc
I do not think there is any payola/kick-back/etc scheme between SKI Magazine and advertisers. I was just curious about looking at the data. ...
However, I do think the advertising/rankings are self-perpetuating. /quote]
You're instincts are correct. The editorial calendars are established far in advance every year. "Marketeers" in the industry know when surveys will be taken and when the results will be published. Armed with this information they strategically decide when and how to advertise (using multiple vehicles) in advance to create maximum brand/identity recognition- especially at survey time. Marketing isn't a "one time hit", but most successful when implemented as a sustained and cumulative activity.
I can't tell you the number of clients I've worked with who want to run an ad and think the cash is going to roll in. If a company can only "afford" one ad for the year, I tell them not to waste their time - use free PR instead.
Self-perpetuating is exactly it. The more "impressions", the more front-of-mind a brand becomes. That's the objective for ads - so when someone asks you to name the first "whatever" that comes to mind, the advertiser's product is the first brand you think of.
Strategically there is the lead up to the survey issue, then capitalizing with supporting ads when the issue hits the newsstand. Theory is that this is the issue everyone will refer to when planning their trips. The more "noise" the more opportunity to stand out. That's the promise the mag is selling to the marketing teams.
Whistler's team may have made the strategic decision to place more advertising, hoping to overcome their lower ranking - which may or may not work. If it does, more people will go to Whistler than Vail, and next year Whistler has a better shot at more #1 votes.
For anyone who has ever asked "what ski should I buy" or "where should I ski" ... these ads are for you.
Basically it's all a load of BS, but it works. People get very involved in having "their" resort/area "validated". In some way it confirms their .. "whatever". Maybe they need to assert their financial status by where they ski. Maybe they feel a need to proclaim their skiing greatness by skiing at the toughest area. Marketers (my profession) play on these insecurities or other psychological needs.
As I alluded to above - if you're skiing for yourself, this is all a waste of time. ("you" being a general reference)