When Europeans think about skiing holidays, they invariably look to France. After the US, the French ski industry is the largest in the world. According to British real estate firm Savills, the French Alps attracted 55.6 million ski and snowboard visitors in 2014.
Mayta Pinard is a passionate snowboarder and an MBA graduate from France’s EMLYON Business School working in the industry she loves. She heads up the marketing department at Cimalpes, which offers luxury ski holiday accommodation in the exclusive French ski resorts of Courchevel and Val d'Isère.
The millennial MBA grad is taking the company into the digital era, re-branding, launching a new website and using an avalanche of big data analytics to redefine its digital marketing strategy.
Mayta’s decade-long career in marketing spans the sports, luxury, and high-tech industries. At IT services provider Acropolis, she ventured into entrepreneurship, developing online business software marketplace Adaxia which was eventually spun off into an independent business.
Now, she’s found her niche, confident that her overhaul of marketing at Cimalpes can help the company stand out from its competition.
What are your plans for the marketing strategy at Cimalpes?
To redefine the digital marketing strategy and its implementation.
Most importantly, to define and launch the rebranding strategy, which includes redesigning our logo and launching a new website dedicated to the tourism aspect of our business.
Cimalpes has a unique positioning that, if leveraged well, will make us stand out without the need for big-budget marketing campaigns.
What challenges do you face?
The biggest long-term challenge is global warming. In the last few years, we have already lost two weeks off the ski season.
A more immediate challenge is to surmount the hurdles of our existing computer software which centralizes the customer database, lodging prices and availabilities. The new website will aim to bypass the use of the software and improve the quality of the service.
How is marketing changing?
Digitization and the Internet of Things has ignited an explosion of visionary ideas, inventions, and endless possibilities for products and services in every field, in every industry.
The most evident trend resulting from this is the ability to offer highly personalized services and one-to-one customer interactions both on and offline.
Another aspect is the unprecedented access to massive amounts of data. Marketers have free or paid tools which provide in-depth reports on all online marketing actions which, for small budget companies, facilitates the optimization of their marketing planning.
How important is big data in driving marketing strategy today?
Doing marketing without data analytics is a sign of a lack of strategy. How can you drive to and reach your destination blindfolded?
Companies that harness data collection and analysis - like Google and Facebook - are the ones that are a step ahead.
Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at EMLYON?
The MBA was the opportunity to gear my career towards what I’m most passionate about: winter and outdoor sports.
Industry relations were therefore an important factor and EMLYON was one of the few schools to place real emphasis on the sports industry.
How have you profited from your MBA experience?
The MBA set me on the right track to becoming the leader I aspire to be.
It’s a “human” experience first and foremost, with the emphasis on teamwork, management and conflict resolution. Our cohort of 35 students included 22 different nationalities. In terms of learning to work with people from different cultures, it was the most unique experience I’ve ever had.