Marketing Activities and the Success of Burton Snowboards

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Date Submitted: 11/13/2012 05:30 PM

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Marketing Activities and the Success of Burton Snowboards

Burton Snowboards was started in 1978 by a visionary named Jake Burton Carpenter. Jake was an energetic young man, perhaps a little too energetic. At age 15 he was kicked out of boarding school, but still finished his high school education on time. He started a landscaping business, but when that failed he went on to attend the University of Colorado. He was an excellent athlete and had the hopes of joining the ski team. Unfortunately, he broke his collarbone and was unable to make the team. Trying to make ends meet, he went on from job to job. He then found himself as an assistant in an agency that participated in business to business selling; this would be his first taste of the career that would come before him.

Early Days

Jake saw the potential of an on-snow activity that offered the freedom that was missing from skiing. Ski equipment and apparel manufacturers had become large and corporate. Skiing brands started expanding to the global markets and it became very pricy for low income adults, like himself. With a small inheritance of money from his mother’s death, Jake decided to start making ‘Snurf Boards’, this was achieved by mounting two skis side by side and attaching a rope to the front of them. Just like legendary origins of Nike running shoes, Jake went to hardware stores and other places to experiment with woods, plastics, coatings, bindings and other materials to create his own type of board. Once his

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product was complete he hired two of his relatives, and in two years found himself in $100,000 worth in debt.

But Jake pressed on, he was persistent. Even though snowboards where banned from ski lifts, his strategy was to promote his product to the youth who knew nothing else but skiing. Jakes efforts lead to some success; he introduced his product to ski resort managers and was given permission to sponsor local contests on designated ski runs. He also gave away boards to...