Earlier this year, I traveled to Keystone Resort in Colorado to participate in a two-day women's snowboarding (and skiing) clinic known as "Betty Fest." I attended mainly for the purpose of challenging myself and facing my fear of turns that involve steering my body directly down a slope on a well-waxed fiberglass plank.

While I did return home feeling like a true “shred betty” (in the sport's vernacular), I also had a bonus business inspiration: How might the high learning curve truths of the snow-sport industry translate into some useful nuggets for marketers in general?

Now, I know that women and snowboarding, overall, may not be a classic marketer's case study. But, bear with me. There are a few lessons we can learn here.

The Confidence Factor

My first day of snowboarding reminded me of my first day in kindergarten. You know--that place where we all turned from tentative tykes into confident children.

In order to educate us about so many new concepts, our teachers had to create an environment that was conducive to learning, allayed the fears of our young brains and inspired us to try big-kid things (like sharing).

Along those same lines, whatever the new-to-your-industry female consumers might fear or see as a difficult thing to learn or use, there must also be a way to present the topic within a comfortable and collaborative learning environment.

For example, some of the college-age women in the snowboarding clinic I attended mentioned that they had previously tried to learn the sport with the help of their boyfriends. But, with the first big fall (or series of falls, as it were), they had wanted to cry and felt so vulnerable that they just bagged it and left the slopes for good.

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image of Andrea Learned
Andrea Learned is a noted author, blogger, and expert on gender-based consumer behavior. Her current focus is on sustainability from both the consumer and the organizational perspectives. Andrea contributes to the Huffington Post and provides sustainability-focused commentary for Vermont Public Radio.