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Action Pact

Devotion to the culture and lifestyle of her core audience keeps this action sports marketer on top of her game.

As the action sports industry goes mainstream, reaching out to skateboarders, skiers and snowboarders is a must for marketers. However, with the industry's far-from-ordinary culture, passion and lifestyle, many "outsiders" are quickly thrown for a loop. Enter Caroline Graeff, a professional snowboarder-turned-entrepreneur who left the slopes to carve out her own niche. In March 2006, she launched Imagine Marketing Agency, a Manhattan Beach, California, action sports marketing and PR firm.

It takes skill to sell to a youthful segment that often rejects commercialization, but Graeff has just the right touch. The 27-year-old forms sponsorships between big-name companies and daring athletes, makes sure marketing messages are relevant to the action sports audience, and emphasizes the community above all else--which has helped her sales projections zip past $300,000 after just over a year in business. Says Graeff, "[Giving] back to the community is ultimately the best."

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This article was originally published in the July 2007 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Action Pact.

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