Money, Marketing, Ignorance and the World Of Snowmobile Journalism

Mar. 01, 2000 By Greg Lonero


The following is an example of how money and ignorance speaks in the world of snowmobile journalism.

I recently read an editorial in one of the rag magazines that often features the culture of western riding. In the editorial the author wrote that he was giving up on the fight to preserve our sport. In my book, this is defined as a "loooser." He didn't like the letters he was receiving from fellow snowmobilers and did not want to waste anymore time or energy on the land issues. I almost fell over in my chair when I read the editorial. Then I thought I would write my own editorial on the matter, again.

After giving his position some thought, I figured it was either an attempt at some moronic reverse psychology to enrage his audience to get off their duffs, or he really is a loser and has given up.

All this despite his unrealized close proximity to the solution, only hidden by gobs of advertising dollars.

To recall another recent bout with fellow writers, I wrote a letter to another online magazine and briefly attempted to get them to buy into a master plan. I advised the following : "? quit targeting the sledder. As a whole, sledders are not good letter writers. You need to target dealers, aftermarket companies, and the snowmobile manufacturers. They are the ones with the face-to-face contact with the voting snowmobile public. Get the desired form letters on the counters of the retailer, and then pressure the OEMs to help market on land issue campaigns." Let me make this master plan perfectly clear, PUT PRESSURE ON THE GUYS THAT MAKE THE SNOWMOBILES to put pressure on their dealers to help in these campaigns.

What beer is to Bubba, my dealer is to me. I buy my parts and briefly shoot the breeze. Only one dealer I know of, and it wasn't my dealer, asked me to sign something at the parts counter. Hooray to Felker MotorSports in Loveland, CO.

Here's how you put pressure on the manufacturers. The large magazines with a large snowmobiling audience need to devote one page in their magazine asking the sled manufacturers to make the dealer network accountable for community involvement. That is, getting member dealers to join their state association and have preprinted letters at the sales counter. (We'll assume each dealer is smart enough to figure out who their local politician is to send these letters off to.) The magazines at minimum can enclose some preprinted letters in their rags for Joe Snowmobiler to sign and stick a stamp on. How much can that cost them? A penny, a nickel, a dime? Snowmobile Online has done this several times. See our article on the White River National Forest.

And here's my wager. I'll bet a nickel that any snowmobile publication that gets its revenue from the advertising dollars of a sled manufacturer or a major aftermarket company will not challenge them to step up and force their dealer network to be accountable.

Now, those sledders that are smart and active will not write or respond to this editorial because they have already written their needed letters. It's important to note though there is a group of dedicated snowmobilers that can't seem to find the time to write a letter on their own, but given a blank signature box on a form letter at a sales counter or from a magazine, would sign their name all day long. That is the audience that makes up the majority of this sport, not us minority letter writing activists. Please reread this paragraph again to save me from repeating it again. In fact, copy this URL to an e-mail and send it to your favorite magazine, dealer, and manufacturer.

So dear fellow editors, understand how to market a message, then take your piece of crap editorials, accept the possibility of loosing some advertising dollars, and be a man and stand up for what is right for our sport. Our mission statement is to manage, enjoy and preserve what we have so future generations, as well as us, can continue to enjoy our backcountry on many levels. It starts with intelligent people and intelligent management of our lands, and thinking globally about the impact of our daily decisions. I've enjoyed using you for traction, now get out of the way as we have major issues to deal with and a sport to enjoy.

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