Today’s reader question:
If you ran a company building snowboards, what would you do differently? You’re a good snowboarder and you seem to know a lot about marketing, so how would you apply that to a snowboard hardgoods company?
Now this is an interesting question. There are a few things I’d do, but keep in mind these are just theoretical ideas (obviously).
These ideas wouldn’t be this simple to actually get them to work given the complexity of manufacturing, marketing, distribution etc. etc. when it comes to producing and selling actual hardgood snowboards.
Nevertheless, here are a few things I’d probably try/test if I were running my own snowboard hardgoods company:
1) Less snowboards
A lot of companies love having tons of different snowboards for every single situation, but I’d probably aim to have less snowboards because I think too many snowboards actually confuses customers and makes them less likely to buy one of your snowboards.
There’s a great book called ‘The Art of Choosing’ by Sheena Iyengar, a professor at Columbia Business School. In it she talks about a test she conducted where she set up a sales stand for a company and found that when customers were presented with more flavours they were less likely to buy the product because they were put off by having too many choices.
So if it were me, I’d probably have 3-4 snowboards max and make them very obviously targeted for specific things and when customers arrived on my site they’d be given just those options and nothing else.
- The Park Slayer
- The All-Terrain Destroyer
- The Powder Slasher
- The Jib Master
With this method you obviously wouldn’t be catering to everyone, but I think aiming down for smaller, specific niches is a lot better than targeting everyone. People tend to value something more if it’s more targeted vs. catering to everyone.
For example, if you’re looking for cough medicine, do you buy the medicine that says it cures everything or do you buy the medicine from a company that says it only focuses on creating the greatest cough medicine ever? Both will cure your cough, yet most people will pick the second option.
2) Direct to customer distribution
I have no idea if this would work, but this would be something I’d be insanely interested in trying out. My entire company would only sell snowboards direct to customer via the website instead of going through shops.
I think you have way more control over how customers interact with your brand and get more creative room to do different things with your sales funnel if you controlled the sales method.
There’s A LOT you can do with online sales that no snowboard companies are doing right now and I’d be interested to combine a lot of online marketing/sales methods with a snowboard company. Instead of relying on sales people at a snowboard shop, you’d be in control of the salesroom.
This is both bad and good because you lose a lot of those people on holiday who just walk into a shop and buy a full snowboard setup, but I think you could make it up (and make far more) if you have a solid online sales funnel, which is something not a single snowboard hardgoods company has right now.
You would have to really know your sales and online marketing for this to work, but I think it’s do-able given the power you have if you control the sales process and method.
3) Better after sales support
Anyone who has read this blog for awhile already knew that this would be on the list. I’m a big believer in having great customer care and obviously this would carry over to a snowboard company if I were making snowboards.
The area I see lacking is what happens after the sale. Most companies lose touch with the customer after they buy the product and the only interaction they do later is MAYBE if the customer reaches out to them or sends in something warranty related.
Instead, I’d make sure anyone who bought one of my snowboards would actively get reached out to for extra help and support and make sure they’re getting the best use they can out of their snowboard.
The thing I’ve noticed is a lot of snowboards get sold to people who honestly don’t *need* a new snowboard. A lot of people just want a new snowboard and have the money to buy new gear, so they buy a new board even if their old board is fine. That’s where brand loyalty and customer care can help a lot.
Not to mention basically every single marketing study done has shown that repeat customers are your most valuable customers. Having a loyal, happy customer is often worth far more than getting a new customer because they not only refer people to you, but they’ll spend more money with you and repeat buy from you.
Well those are 3 things I’d try out if I ran a snowboard hardgoods company. There’s probably more, but those are 3 ideas off the top of my head. That said, there’s no way I’d ever want to run a hardgoods company… the margins are rough and I think there are easier businesses to be running.
Hope that answers your question anyhow, it was fun to theory-craft a little on the topic at least.