Snowmass marketing board gets to work |

Snowmass marketing board gets to work

Brent Gardner-Smith

The Snowmass Village marketing board held its first meeting Thursday and agreed to hire a marketing director as one of its early steps.

“I think it is important to have someone to lead this organization,” said Mary Harris, the lodging representative to the board.

The new five-member volunteer board includes Harris, Kyle Sharp, Reed Lewis, Bob Purvis and Peter D. Moore.

Purvis and Moore were appointed as at-large members while Sharp and Lewis represent, respectively, the restaurant and retail sectors in Snowmass Village.

The board is expected to have $2.5 million annually to spend on marketing and special events from a 2.5 percent townwide sales tax approved by voters in November.

Early in Thursday’s meeting it was decided to draw up a job description for a marketing director, but not for an “executive director.”

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“You say ‘executive’ and people stop working,” said Lewis, who owns Snowmass Village Liquors.

He also urged the board to structure the new marketing position so there is a strong incentive to meet specific performance goals.

Mike Segrest, Snowmass Village town manager, said the board needs to consider whether it would be better to hire the marketing director as a town employee or as an independent contractor.

The marketing board’s budget must be approved by the Snowmass Village Town Council, but council members have said they intend to keep their distance from the marketing board and let it make autonomous decisions.

Also under consideration is whether the board will hire a special events director as well as a marketing director.

There is likely to be a fair amount of interest in the Snowmass Village marketing director position, and, in fact, Harris said she’d already received one resume from an applicant.

The board’s initial focus is going to be on the upcoming summer season as the town and the Snowmass Village Resort Association have already contracted for this winter’s $564,000 marketing, special events and public relations effort.

Another early task for the board is to write its organizational bylaws. On Thursday, the board appointed Purvis to be the acting chairman.

Purvis called for “patience” on behalf of the board and asked that they take the time to understand the marketing challenges in front of them before making decisions.

“We’re going to have more opportunities than we have money to spend,” said Purvis, who is the former global brand manager for British Petroleum and a former Snowmass councilman.

Purvis and Lewis plan to attend a meeting next month with other local marketers, including the Aspen Skiing Co., Stay Aspen Snowmass (SAS), and the Aspen Chamber Resort Association.

The Skico has a multimillion-dollar annual marketing and sales budget, the exact amount of which it does not disclose.

SAS, the central reservations agency for Aspen and Snowmass, is expected to have about $400,000 to spend on marketing. The ACRA is under contract with the Aspen City Council to spend about $400,000 a year on marketing stemming from a lodging sales tax.

“We’re going to have a substantial seat at the table,” Purvis said of the new Snowmass Village marketing board.

The Skico’s ad agency of record is Sterling-Rice of Boulder. ACRA is also using Sterling-Rice and has embraced the “Aspen/Snowmass” positioning and the current “the difference is night and day” campaign.

The Snowmass marketing and special-events board plans to meet again at 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 19.

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