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It’s not just the Vail Valley economy that spurs success

Michael Kurz
Vail, CO, Colorado

I talk with dozens of business owners every month. Here’s what I’m hearing:

“We’re holding our own.”

“We had a great month.”



“We’re down huge.”

“We’re fine, not setting any records, but we’re fine.”



“Things are pretty grim.”

So, what’s the difference between up and down? It’s tough to answer that question on an individual basis without hours of discovery, but the way I see it, it’s the difference between good marketing and not-so-good marketing.

Let me define my terms. In the world of brand development, where I toiled as a loyal soldier for 35 years, there is only one kind of marketing ” integrated marketing. Integrated marketing is the sum of the collective effect of a bunch of discreet disciplines including advertising, direct marketing, distribution, identity/positioning, marketing research, merchandising, pricing, public relations, sales and sales promotion.



Each of these disciplines and how they are applied has a direct and daily bearing on your success, and each requires constant attention and periodic investment of time and money to differentiate yourself from your competition, capture market share, drive revenue and fuel the fires of continued growth.

I suggest that the folks who do this best will do the best in busines. Are you an expert at all of these? I doubt it. Each requires different skill sets, talents, contemporary knowledge and continuing education. If you’re not building your network of experts in these fields and continuously applying good advice and counsel to the betterment of your enterprises, I’m afraid you might wind up in the “down huge” category.

If things are going great, congratulations, you’ve found your niche, a great position in your buyers’ minds and a loyal following. If you’re not, do yourself a favor. Economies like this will obviate flaws in your business model, mostly because few of us think about how to operate in a down economy until it smacks us in the kisser. But believe me, for longevity and to protect your investment and your legacy, you have to pay attention to this stuff.

Get some help, bite the bullet and make the investment in your brand, and the bluebirds and bunnies won’t be far behind. The good news? Using a “slow season” to repair and retool will give you a jump on the recovery.

The market is a cruel, fickle, soulless, unforgiving monster and if you let it, it will have its way with you. Be tough about implementing positive change. Be nimble. Change can be uncomfortable, but it beats doing the same old things and expecting different results.

Event update:

– Feb. 6, 6 ” 11 p.m. The Sixth Annual Gala and Vail Valley Success Awards, at the Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch. Call Ruthie Carlson, events coordinator, 970-477-4001 for tickets.

– Feb. 4, 8 ” 9:30 a.m. “Success in 60 Seconds” speed networking, at the Westside Cafe, Vail. Open to Vail Valley Partnership members.

– Feb. 4, 5:30 ” 7 p.m. Ask the Experts: “Personal Finance,” at the Vail Valley Partnership offices. Free to partnership members.

– Feb. 11, 5 ” 7 p.m. Business after hours mixer, Eagle Ranch Village, Eagle. This is a members-only event.


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