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The matter of marketing - Page 4

post #91 of 103
Pete has it right, that is what PURE marketing is, unfortunately, the business side of the equation steps in and says: we cannot make money by having 100% tailoring, so we must group people together to make money. Bigger groups = more money.
So, a balance needs to be reached between meeting the needs of the individual customer and costs/profits.

I am not a ski instructor, but in a sense, my job is similar. I must find out what someone needs, and modify their computer system to meet those needs. In its purest form, I would go around every individual in an organisation, and tailor the system to meet each individual's needs. Since that is rarely possible, and is also very costly for the business, then people get grouped together, and in groups agree to certain set-ups. You then end up with a company full of people, none of whom have got exactly what they wanted, but hopefully they have got enough to be reasonably content.
Is there a solution to the dicotomy?

I don't think so, as long as time and money are involved.

(sorry about the rant)

post #92 of 103
Thread Starter 
Of course it has to balance, but the companies outside of the world of snow sports that are what I would call "excellent" market to the ONE.

They extend the individual buyers the same courtesies that used to be reserved for enterprise buyers--special deals, heads up on new offerings, rewards for doing business with us. But the biggest courtesy of all is getting to know that individual's needs by having a mechanism to do so on an ongoing basis.

This helps to build a relationship based on mutual respect. That leads to loyalty.

It takes a bit of zealotry from the top levels, that's for sure, but it seems to pay off handsomely.
post #93 of 103
Fox, you are absolutely right with regards attempting to fulfil each customer’s requirements 100%, however wasn’t it Dell Computer who did just that in manufacturing, another process people said was impossible? As I alluded to in the Rant thread, it’s possible to group people into segments and satisfy each segment’s needs reasonably well. As we divide each segment down smaller and smaller the potential to satisfy the customer’s needs increases incrementally, until we finally reach an individual level.

However in my opinion it doesn’t require a complete overhaul of the industry to begin making a difference. For example I have NEVER been asked in a lesson what my goals are, what I’d like to learn, and so forth. Sometimes the instructor skirts around these areas, but rarely gets to the crux of the issue. Normally the lesson starts with, “Ok Pete, let’s go for a ski down here … hmm, yep you need to work on [insert problem here]”, and the drills begin. What if I didn’t mind if the tails of my skis were breaking out slightly at the end of turns (or whatever), but what I REALLY wanted to do is sort out major problems in bumps? A hypothetical, but an example just the same. As professional instructors you would appreciate that one of the most powerful learning tools is having a student recognise the problem for themselves (eg “Pete you’re skidding at the end of your turns, why do you think that is?”, and stepping them through the problem), instead of a one way monologue (“Pete you’re rotating your upper body, do this”). Nevertheless this dialogue often doesn’t even seem to begin at the most fundamental level by clearly understanding the student’s goals. I should add that this is just my personal experience, but I have had a lot of lessons.

At the next level up in the organisation, I have NEVER received any follow up material from a ski school, mountain, ski resort, hotel, or anything associated with skiing. Timely mail outs of promotional material prior to winter (when people are planning their holidays) would, I think, pay good dividends, yet it just doesn’t happen. I apologise to the instructor concerned for not recalling who it was, but somebody posted how they sent out photographs of themselves and their guests during the year to remind the people what a fun time they had on their last holiday. I was astounded by the person’s initiative, and I bet the person gains a lot of repeat students and private requests.

We can work our way up the organisation, and as we get higher the commitment and expense involved increases. Maybe at the next level free/discounted subscriptions could be offered to Ski/skiing magazine for people who take more than a certain number of lessons. Just a thought, but the common theme here is to maintain the person’s interest in skiing throughout the year, and especially when it comes time to book the holidays. Nolo, I think you are right when you said that the large companies seem more interested in increasing their market share by poaching guests from other resorts, rather than expanding the overall market. The true competition is not another resort, it is the holiday in Florida, the new SUV, the trip overseas. A consumer has only a finite amount of money to spend (well there are exceptions but I’m sure I’m not one of them!!), the object of the exercise is to ensure they spend it in this industry in the first instance.

While promoting an industry is normally reserved for large, industry wide associations, as I have suggested above, I feel gains can be made at an individual level at absolutely zero cost and very little effort.

Then again as Oz said, who really cares anyway.


post #94 of 103
Good points Pete,
And Dell as an example was an interesting one. They were able to make people believe they had choice. that it was the individual decision, but if you looked at the pricing and literature, they didn't want to sell individual systems, they wanted to sell their standard ones, so they priced the extras in such a way to sell you up to the next model.

I agree, if a ski school I had been to last season were to send me out something in the late summer or early autumn, say, an offer to book early for lessons and get discount, then whether I booked early or not, at least I would remember them, and I'm more likely to use them, if my experience was good.

post #95 of 103
Fox, marketing is all about making people believe
post #96 of 103
Thread Starter 
TRUE marketing is discovering the needs of potential customers/clients and attempting to fill those needs.
So what is marketing? Does it respond to needs or does it only need to make us believe it responds to needs?

post #97 of 103
Originally posted by Pete:
For example I have NEVER been asked in a lesson what my goals are, what I’d like to learn, and so forth.
At the next level up in the organisation, I have NEVER received any follow up material from a ski school, mountain, ski resort, hotel, or anything associated with skiing.
Ah ha! Point 1...PSIA rocky mountain have this season been pushing this new "guest centered teaching" thingy quite strongly, which emphasised asking people why they were in teh lesson...not just what they wanted to learn that day, but what had actually motivated them to enrol in a lesson. Sometimes you can get the peripheral issues from that, along with the more focussed skiing issues.

Point 2....really good idea, innit? And so few do it. During this season, I sometimes noticed the older instructors with a pile of greeting cards, with our resort's name and logo on the front. Never quite sussed what it wsa all about, until one day I was clicking around on our schedule computer...this showed us our daily schedule, and when we were allocated private lessons, they went on there (and groups, too). I discovered that the private lesson guests had their addresses recorded in one part, and it all became clear. The instructors were sending the guests follow-up greetings, presumably so the guest would remember them and request them next time they came.
(No one ever told me about this, and i was doing at least one private lesson every day!).

This could be expanded into something quite cohesive...people who take group lessons could be included. PSIA issue cards with skiing tips on them, the idea being that you give them out (when it's appropriate, and presumably the tip would be targetted!), something along these lines, with feedback-seeking, and then programmes or products developed as a result being offered out to the guests.
All of this would definitely generate more business, and also enlarge the profile of ski schools in the eyes of the guests.

Breck this year had a 'ski tips" thing going, certain instructors would be stationed at big banners, and offer brief lessons to passersby or people who'd come to the station for the service.

Years ago, Thredbo here in oz had instructors rostered on, to ski the hill and offer tips to people who were skiing.

I bet other resorts have had good ideas like this happening from time to time, but I guess it all needs to be part of a cohesive strategy.
post #98 of 103
I get all kinds of mail, e-mail, and even phone calls from resorts, hotels, condos, equipment manufacturers, and even teachers (an annual invitation to join Lito's clinics, and whenever he's hucking a new book or video. Also various "specialty clinics" from others). I should add that I always go to pre season ski shows, so probably this is where most of the dissemination of my personal info occurs.

[ May 06, 2002, 06:55 AM: Message edited by: milesb ]
post #99 of 103
[quote]Originally posted by ant:
Years ago, Thredbo here in oz had instructors rostered on, to ski the hill and offer tips to people who were skiing.

You are on it!!!!!!

years ago I did guided the Thredbo "mountain tour" and gained some excellent ski school clients.

In ya face marketing with rock solid ski skills = market focus.

Oz [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #100 of 103
marketing is sales.

the false distinction fails to note that "marketing" is a euphemism for sales.

"marketing associate" = salesman

"marketing specialist" = salesman

"Director of Marketing Methodology" = salesman

I don't care if you add 20 syllables, it's still SALES.

You folks need to read Paul Fussell more often.
post #101 of 103
Thread Starter 
Would you grant that any discipline or field has specialty areas and that these follow a conventional taxonomy?

That is how sales, promotion, advertising, research, etc., fall under the heading of marketing.

I would recommend another author, Jerry Spoelstra, who wrote Ice to Eskimos: How to Market a Product Nobody Wants.

Spoelstra's theory is that marketing jump-starts sales. One is a consequence of the other. There is a directional arrow between them, not an equal sign.
post #102 of 103
ivory-tower hairsplitting is the domain of the semioticians

it is a purely theoretical/abstract field

demonstrate to me, please, how marketing is NOT sales.
post #103 of 103
Marketing aims to achieve sales of the product or service...that's how it all works, in teh end.
But real marketing involves a lot more than pushing stuff at people.
The evolution of marketing (wracks beer-addled memory into a younger time when I was a very important manager)...a few examples jump out, like Henry Ford with his "any colour as long as it's black" (that'd go down like a lead balloon these days), followed by products being produced and pushed at customers with advertising and hard-sell, to now, where the idea is to ask people what they want, then give it to them, while pointing out that you've listened, and now here it is.

Doesn't always happen this way...look at the yearly toy fads that come out, they are more an example of the middle phase.

But "real" marketing is about public relations, customer relations, research, identifying needs (and identifying them to the customer!), fulfilling needs, checking on that, and back around again. It ultimately results in some kind of sale transaction, but it's a lot more than just holding out something and saying "10 bucks, thanks, take it or leave it".
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