On the athletes panel, freeskiier Grete Eliassen and motocross rider Ashley Fiolek both spoke about women’s TV exposure compared to guys as well as prize money.
While few action sports events have equal prize purses for men and women, they said when it comes to broadcasting events on TV, girls get significantly less air time then the guys.
Eliassen said her dream would be to start an all women’s sports network.
The female athletes, as well as a later panel by skateboarders Christian Hosoi, Steve Caballero and snowboarder Todd Richards, all talked about being an athlete in today’s social media heavy era, and the importance of promoting themselves as their own brands through blogs, Facebook, and Twitter.
Richards said he tries to talk to every kid who ever comes up to him, but on social media, it’s even more important to respond back to people who comment.
Eliassen said if she doesn’t post on her blog daily, her stats go down.
Athletes sponsors are also getting involved in their social media endeavors, and one athlete mentioned she was required to do social media postings for one of her sponsor’s programs.
He said when it comes to going off price, action sports brands are the farthest behind.
Skiing brands are the best and have policies that stipulate if retailers go off price before a brand allows, the brand won’t sell to them the next year.
Robertson spoke a bit about ecommerce tactics. While 95% of people don’t buy online, he said they are interested in products.
Letting customers give feedback on products has created the best content for backcountry.com’s site. Roberston made a bold statement saying, “If we don’t figure out how to make money off of Facebook or mobile, we’ll all be out of business.”
He later said the company has made $1.2 million in sales through mobile alone.
There was talk about brick-and-mortar stores versus online stores, and brands buying up other retailers.
When it comes down to it, Tim Swart who runs Univ in Encinitas, said one of the best things about running a core shop is that it’s like having a live focus group every day.
Swart said exclusivity for core shops is important. Big brands, like Nike and Vans, have figured out a way to still give core shops limited edition timed release products while small brands can’t always be exclusive when they have to make a profit so it’s harder for him to buy those brands.
Also, “When you can buy action sports brands at Target and Costco, it makes it hard for us (core shops) to create a unique experience,” he said.
Robertson from Backcountry.com said Patagonia was the best brand to work with as far as selling direct, and supporting their customers.
There was a closing panel on action sports as a culture, and the event ended with closing notes from SIMA President and Vans VP of Marketing Doug Palladini about “Authenticity vs. Growth.”
According to groupY's Twitter updates, he ended the meeting with the message, “If you leave here with one thing today remember growing for growth's sake is the easy way. Keeping authenticity in mind is key.”