What's a pair of thrill-seeking snowboarders to do when there's no snow on the ground and no clouds in sight? If you're Jason Lee and Patrick McConnell, you invent the MountainBoard. With a deck similar to a snowboard, all-terrain wheels, and a suspension system that can be used to go down a single trail or track on a mountain, the MountainBoard hit the market in 1996 and helped Lee and McConnell bring in sales of $2 million last year for their Colorado Springs, Colorado, company, MountainBoard Sports (MBS).
Not too shabby, considering Lee, 32, and McConnell, 35, were introducing a totally new market category on a limited budget. What made it possible is that the company targeted a very specific market: "men 16 to 20 who like to snowboard," Lee states emphatically. Having a clearly defined market in mind gave MBS advantages in launching its product, including rapid retail acceptance at trade shows, the ability to create a substantial market buzz, a clear content strategy for its Web site, the ability to stage events, and an easy-to-implement media strategy. Here's a closer look at their company's marketing tactics: