Tahoe Snowcial – from algorithms, content and video to drinking beer out of snowboard boots

Tahoe Snowcial – from algorithms, content and video to drinking beer out of snowboard boots

Another Snowcial conference ended today and I’m still jealous about all the skiing some people got to get in past few days. I’m not missing the fun part again next year.

I had two amazing days of listening to some incredible people talk about marketing, technology, social media, story telling, customization, video, algorithms and positive affirmations. If you haven’t been to Snowcial, put it on your calendar right now for next year and pray for snow. Like David LaPlante, co-founder of the event said: “If you are not having fun, you are doing it wrong”. John Wagnon, Sr. Director of Brand Marketing at Heavenly Mountain Resort opened the event with the statement: “Snowcial is equal amounts of learning, skiing and partying”. Jules Older, freelance writer, stated in SF Gate: “It’s Silicon Valley meets the High Sierra, “Revenge of the Nerds” hangs with “The Hangover.”

To be honest, I love our little Snowcial community. Where else you can attend a conference in your ski pants and snickers, have a beer with the Nestle brand manager, talk to ski resort marketers in the hallway and get to see presentations from the likes of: David Armano from Edelman (Twitter @armano), Paul Crandell from GoPro,  Chris Heuer from Deloitte (Twitter @chrisheuer), Stephanie Naegeli from Nestle (Twitter @feketes), Greg Cannon from Caesars (Twitter @gcann), Grant Korgan from Korg 3.0 movement (Twitter @grantkorgan) and many more. Yeah, this event is super cool. Great job David LaPlante, John Wagnon and everyone else that made this event a success. I’m looking forward to many more Snowcial events in the future.


Tahoe Snowcial Speakers

Speakers at Snowcial

My key takeways from Snowcial this year:

1. Content is king. Relevancy is queen. David Armano, Paul Crandell, Stephanie Naegeli, Greg Cannon all touched on this importance of relevant content. “Content is today’s currency” said Armano, smart guy. Read his post . Treat your content as currency. Invest in creating good content and people will share it. Content can have different priorities and it can focus on informing, leading, educating, changing minds and persuading.

David Armano content priorities

Content Priorities. Credit: David Armano

Armano challenged marketers to be brave with their content and create things that will spark interest. Not everything will work. Just like in “Who moved my cheese”, marketers need to constantly evolve and adapt.

David Armano's presentation

David Armano’s presentation


Greg Cannon from Caesar talked about stories in relevant content. Glenn talked about the importance of personalization in the digital space. From smarter banner ads online that can be more personalized to each consumer to compelling content on your website presented in a simple, modern design. “Everything is going mobile”. “Take a chance with your content and see what happens, create experiences, be goofy when it comes to your content”,  Greg encouraged everyone in the audience. Create contextual offers and content that are relevant to your audience.  Be considerate about how invasive you are with your marketing when it comes to social engagement or SMS campaigns. “Mass SMS campaigns don’t work well. Think of more relevant offers. Mobile ads that pop up are invasive” Glenn said. Glenn closed with “I don’t think there is a huge ROI on mobile ads” statement. Not yet anyway but smart companies that can use very targeted offers can achieve great results.

2. Video is where it’s at in 2013. Paul Crandell, VP Marketing for GoPro took us through a video loaded presentation of the GoPro brand story. GoPro is a company that allows people to share their experiences whatever that may be: cats, babies, skiing, etc.  The company itself depends on user generated content for most of their advertising as they have so much content to choose from. A video tagged gopro is uploaded to YouTube every minute. They have 500K Twitter followers, 450K Instagram followers, 200+M YouTube Views, 4.5 M Facebook Fans, growing 10% a month. Their product is now sold in 100+ countries and the GoPro is the #1 revenue small camcorder brand at Best Buy.
Paul talked about how his passion for sports and wearing shorts and flipflops brought him from selling T-shirts to GoPro. His passion for the outdoor lifestyle got him involved with events – from biking to snowboarding.

Video is where many brands are turning to and seeing huge success. People like visual elements and images and videos are going to change the web in the years to come.


GoPro: Laser Cats TV Commercial

3. People and brands have stories that are unique and compelling. Stanly Hainsworth, the founder of Tether creates stories for a living. His experience includes Nikeid, Lego and Starbucks personalized experience. Stanly showed how every brand has a story you can tell well. And you can create a new story to tell. Develop and tell the story of your brand. Videos are memorable.

4. There’s a lot of science and math behind marketing as witnessed in the presentations of Dean Eckles from Facebook and Patrick Harrington from Walmart Labs. AllFacebook wrote a good post about Facebook ties and what we like to share with our friends. From sharing a photo to making a buying decision, like what season pass to purchase because you want to ski with your friends, Facebook is based on peer effects. Think about the things you like to share with your friends. Why do you share them?

Facebook peer effects

Facebook peer effects

Christopher Steiner talked about the importance of algorithms in our lives. Surprisingly, algorithms decide many things for us, from what’s going to be the next music hit to breaking into the stock market. Super smart guy, Chris’s book “Automate this” is available from Amazon.


5. Social businesses will succeed. Social culture is here to stay. Chris Heuer tok us on a journey of what the future of social business will look like. Social business is about people, performance and leadership that can support and orchestrate this holistic strategy. “Aligning the passion of the people with the interests of the market you serve is what social business is all about” said Chris. Each company today is a media company regardless whether you are a restaurant or a ski resort.  Hire people who can be socially active.  Competition for attention is even more difficult than ever before. This is why cultivating your customer relationships is more important than ever.  Because customers are now more connected than ever before a negative experience gets shared so much faster and as a company you just can’t afford to make a mistake. The connected customers have a lot more to give than just money- attention, data, story, labor and capital are all elements of what they can take away or give to your business. Social reengineering is empowering everyone in an organization to their fullest potential to use the tools they are familiar with. You can read the latest research released by Deloitte on social business later on this week.

6. Mobile is the future. Get used to it. Many of the speakers touched on mobile as being the future of marketing. Mobile, experience and disruptive were three very popular words during the conference.

7. Live life to the fullest. Every day. Find your truth and stand behind it. An inspiring story by Grant Korgan who broke his back and lost feeling to his legs in a snowmobile incident. Grant, a survivor and a believer in living life to the fullest had a new challenge in his life – walking again. Grant challenged the audience to define the elements of their freedom and stand in their truth. “Choose to give the world your brightest light”, said Grant.
In his journey following the accident, he successfully summited the South Pole regardless of his disability. Grant was sponsored by High Fives Foundation, a local non-profit Lake Tahoe foundation, dedicated to raising money and awareness for athletes that have suffered a life-altering injury while pursuing their dream in the winter action sports community.
Grant believes in positive affirmations in life. He had the entire audience yelling: “I’m unbreakable”. You can read more in his book: Two feet back”.


And as far as drinking out of snowboard boots is concerned, yes, it actually happened and I’m sorry I missed it. That and some other highly social activities. Next time, I promise to participate more. At the 6th Annual Snowcial – I’m doing it right, all the way.


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About Milena Regos

Marketer, Consultant and Creator of the Simple Marketing Blueprint online marketing course for busy professionals.

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