Industry Profile: Consultant/Writer Brad Farmer
02 Jun, 2009
Shay: What is your job title?
Brad: I recently started my own business, Marketing Farmer and I haven’t really given myself a title. I just use: consultant, writer.
Shay: Did your parents question your job choice?
Brad: No, my parents have always supported my choices even when I wanted to be a rock star.
Shay: What was your first set up?
Brad: A Never Summer Super Light. I had Nitro bindings and Blaxx boots.
Shay: What is your current set up?
Brad: I ride the Arbor Draft, Lib Tech Travis Rice and when it dumps I have a Burton Malolo. I use Thirtytwo boots, Flux bindings, Bonfire outerwear and I really like Spaceraft beanies.
Shay: What was your first job?
Brad: Well my first job ever was watering plants at Target but my first industry job was as a marketing coordinator at Bear Valley Mountain Resort. My first writing job was as a freelance writer for Transworld Snowboarding Business.
Shay: What’s a great day of snowboarding to you?
Brad: Deep powder in Canada or warm sunny park day in SoCal. Either way I’m pretty amped but the powder days are what I live for.
Shay: Who are your influences?
Brad: I alway have a hard time answering this question. I’ve kind of had a life of doing what I think is right and I don’t think I’ve really spent much time looking to other people. I respect people who do what it takes to make themselves happy and work in what they can be passionate about. I’m not really into famous people although I did spend the day riding with Jeremy Jones in Utah last winter and that guy is the king of big mountain riding and a great person.
Shay: How long have you been snowboarding?
Brad: I’ve been seriously riding for about 15 years now.
Shay: How many days do you get to ride a year?
Brad: I typically ride about 70 to 80 days a year.
Shay: How did you get your start in the industry, what opened up more opportunities for you?
Brad: My first real break into the industry was the freelance writing gig at Transworld Business. Then getting the PR Director job for Bear Mountain and Snow Summit really pushed me into the forefront of the industry.
Shay: Was it a difficult transition going from Bear Mountain Public Relations Director to Snowboard Trade News Editor?
Brad: It wasn’t to bad. I moved back to San Diego which was really home for me. Learning the art of publishing was a really great experience even though it was no easy job.
Shay: What magazines have you been published in?
Brad: Future Snowboarding, Snowboard Trade News, Transworld Business, Transworld Snowboarding, The Drift, SAM and probably some others.
Shay: What is your favorite article that you’ve written to date?
Brad: The Four Star Story in Snowboard Trade News.
Shay: Future Snowboarding ended abruptly, what are your thoughts looking back on that?
Brad: It was a sad day mostly because we were finally rolling and even profitable but when a corporation makes a bad decision you just kind of have to realize there was nothing you could have done about it.
Shay: What do you see for the future of snowboard magazines?
Brad: The future of publishing in general is in question. I used to think that people would always want the feel of paper in their hands and want to get away from the computer screen but now I’m not so sure anymore. I think Transworld will survive but I don’t know about the rest.
Shay: What is your role as a marketing consultant?
Brad: I really fill a variety of marketing roles depending on the client. My strengths are in marketing strategy and youth marketing. For Arbor one of my main goals is helping them break into the youth market. For Bear Mountain I’m somewhat of a brand manager helping them with strategy and planning in a effort to remain relevant with the youth market.
Shay: What led you to start your own consulting company?
Brad: After Future I spent a few months interviewing for new jobs but along the way I was picking up all of this side work. At some point I realized that I could just do this on my own and start my own business, Marketing Farmer. I’m very self motivated so it really works for me.
Shay: What are your thoughts on marketing to snowboarders?
Brad: It has to be one of the best industries in the world and it fits nicely with my love for the sport. I am however expanding into other action sports in an effort to broaden myself and not be to reliant on one industry.
Shay: Do you see social media as an important future in marketing?
Brad: It is extremely important. I am pushing all of my clients to put a lot of additional effort into their social media marketing. I’ll personally trying to become an expert on it and I’m building relationships with people who work at the major outlets.
Shay: Does snowboarding need more honesty and brutal truth?
Brad: Yes. Media in snowboarding is a load of BS because their hands are tied by advertisers. Everyone is so afraid of losing an advertiser that they never say anything. Print media in general unfortunately is more and more controlled by advertisers. As much as editors try to keep their ethical standards they are often forced to bow to advertisers or go out of business. This is perhaps why bloggers are becoming more and more viable as “real” news sources because they are far less restrained.
Shay: What’s your average day like at work?
Brad: I wake up about 8, sit on my couch in my boxers with a cup of coffee and work on my laptop until about 11 or 12 and then I head up the mountain and go snowboarding while working with my Iphone during lift rides. Then I usually get home around 3 or 4 and sit on my couch again with my laptop and work until I’m done which could be 7 or it could be 2 in morning. Of course this is all unless there is a powder day then the work can wait.
Shay: What are some memorable experiences from working in the industry?
Brad: I’d say the SIA tradeshow every year in Vegas. A lot of my best memories have happened during those 5 days of industry debauchery every year. It’s really sad that it’s no longer going to be in Vegas.
Shay: How is working in the industry (any cool work events, work environment, job perks)?
Brad: There are a lot of great people who work in this industry. I’ve made to many good friends to count. Having the opportunity to try whatever new gear I want is a pretty cool perk.
Shay: What experience did you have or attributes before getting the job?
Brad: I think I have an interesting talent for writing and for business which typically don’t go together. I don’t there are very many artistic business men out there.
Shay: Do you have a college degree? If so, what is your degree in?
Brad: Yes, I have a BS degree in marketing and one in political science from SDSU.
Shay: Do you think college prepared you for a variety of industry jobs?
Brad: Yes. I’ve used what I learned in school throughout my career.
Shay: What’s the best perk you’ve gotten from your job?
Brad: Heli and cat boarding trips in Canada and Alaska.
Shay: Any disadvantages of your job?
Brad: It keeps me young and in touch with a youth driven world. I rarely have a bad day. I love my work and have a fun most of the time.
Shay: Since you started in the snowboarding industry, what’s been the biggest change?
Brad: The ever expanding demographics. It’s still very youth driven but snowboarders are having families now.
Shay: What’s the busiest time of year for you?
Brad: Fall and winter for sure. Early spring is busy at Bear Mountain for photo and film shoots. Summer should be mellow…we’ll see.
Shay: Education vs Experience…which do you think is more important?
Brad: I think both are very important. I’ve worked with people who only have experience and don’t have the education to back it up. It’s not usually a good thing. Also, I think it’s important to be learning all the time. I’m amazed at how much I teach myself everyday and how much I learn from others. You have to be willing to learn from others or you are doomed.
Shay: What advice would you give to people wanting to work in the snowboard industry?
Brad: If you are truly passionate about the sports you will find your way in. I made it in because I was persistent and didn’t give up. Your reputation is very important in this industry so once you get in build it and protect it. Live it, love it and work hard for it and you’ll make it. Networking is also very important.
Shay: Final Thoughts?
*Pictures courtesy of Brad Farmer