By Danielle Kristmanson
Partner + Creative Director, Origin
There are very few marketers in our industry today that would argue the importance of research. Oddly, however, there are even fewer who actually use it. I’m not sure why this happens, but I suspect that research is the kale of marketing—we know it’s good for us, but it takes a helluva lot of work to turn it into something that we want to consume.
“For anyone who is a kale convert, I’m going to suggest you read on… because I think there’s an argument for researchthat could change your mind, too.”
Today’s marketing landscape is constantly changing and those of us responsible for marketing ski areas are understandably overwhelmed
with keeping up. Rarely do our projects have the time or budget, or our teams have the resources or know-how to conduct the research we should do. Despite this, market research is essential to your brand’s long-term success. This is where research from the Canadian Ski Council comes in. Our agency has used it in the past for a number of projects and I wanted to pass on five reasons
why you should, too:
1 RESEARCH PUTS THE CUSTOMER AT THE CENTRE OF WHAT WE DO
Too often, our marketing projects are initiated through internal demands, c-suite agendas, and departmental requests. Marketers need to remember though, that the guest is always our boss, and the only way to know what she or he wants is through research.
Understanding their needs, their motivations and their barriers to purchase should really be the driving factor for customer needs. You are not your customer and thinking that you know what they want because you’re a skier or snowboarder is not the same as knowing them through research.
2 IT KEEPS OUR PROJECT LIST FOCUSED
All of us have tough jobs: juggling the demands of multiple projects, running a department (or sometimes a whole ski area), and playing many roles within our organization. Marketing research should, however, tell you what’s most important to your consumers and help focus your efforts on those activities that matter to them.
Do this work, and you’ll find that your marketing to-do list automatically prioritizes itself.
3 IT HONES OUR MESSAGING
Without a deep understanding of our audiences, we often find ourselves talking to consumers in ways that won’t alienate anyone. The result is vague, undifferentiated messaging. Research helps us anticipate their needs and wants and hone our messaging in ways that amps up our relevance and the likelihood that they’ll perk up, listen, and engage.
4 IT KEEPS US ON THE CUTTING EDGE
The research we’ve used from the Canadian Ski Council has helped us make sure that we’re constantly adapting and evolving our clients’ marketing and branding to stay relevant and adapt to changing consumer tastes or motivations. Don’t tell our creative teams I said so, but insights generated from research has driven more changes in campaign work than any brilliant idea that came out of one of their brainstorm sessions.
5 IT VALIDATES WHAT WE KNOW IN OUR GUT
And if you say, “if it’s just validating what we know, then why bother?” then you’re a ski industry marketing unicorn who hasn’t had to yield to the marketing “input” of your organization’s senior leadership or board of directors. Research provides the data that backs up your strategic approach, and it provides the clarity and
confidence we all need to back up our creative ideas and brand decision making.
We’re living in a sophisticated marketing landscape and there’s very little room for guess work. Mistakes are expensive, and research is cheaper. If you’re a Canadian Ski Council member, then it’s actually free. It’s also essential to your performance kinda like kale.
Danielle Kristmanson is a partner, Creative Director, and brand strategist at Origin, a digitally-driven, outdoor sport-focusedbranding, creative, and content agency with locations in Whistler and Montreal. Origin’s mountain resort client list includes Whistler Blackcomb, Jay Peak Resort, Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows, Taos
Ski Valley, Visit Sun Valley, Breckenridge Resort, and Park City Mountain Resort.