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An adventure company that will rely on Social Media marketing alone. Mad or clever?

Written by Fiona August 25 2011

I “met” Peter Syme on LinkedIn. He started a discussion thread on Social Media: My next start-up has no search volume so there is no need to work the SEO. The number of potential clients and geographical location of them make print advertising a waste of money so that leaves SM as the route to market. Will it work? The business is 1000 Mile Journeys.

Intrigued as much by the Social media marketing question as by the adventure concept I asked Peter to explain his ideas.

1000 Mile Journeys is a new travel company that aims to take people to stunning environments around the world and complete 1000 Mile Journeys on foot, bike, ski and by paddle. The journeys will inspiring and the stuff of life-long memories.

But why “1000 Miles”? Peter explains: “When you look about the massive and still-growing adventure travel industry there are thousands of companies offering to take you trekking, biking and paddling all around the world. Many are great trips – but they are usually to the same locations and the same type of trip.

“I am sure most clients have a great time but I wanted to advance from this and do things a bit differently. I hope to offer journeys that will be an ‘experience of a lifetime’.”

The type of trips being planned include:

1. Source to Sea Zambezi raft trip of 1700 miles over 3 months.
2. Complete round of the Scottish Munros
3 Crossing Mongolia on Mountain Bike

Peter has been thinking about his 1000 Mile Journey concept for almost 10 years. When in 2011 he suddenly noticed an “on-set of age” – “thickening waistline, etc” – he made up his mind to go on his own 1000 Mile adventure.

Peter takes part in the Mongolia Gobi Desert 1000 Mile Journey. Pic thanks to: [email protected]

The start of a 1000 Mile adventure

Earlier this year, Peter set off to walk 1000 miles with the aims of researching the feasibility of it as a business – and to get back into shape.

But where to go? Peter says: “Years ago I had wandered about a few deserts and thought it might be a bit of a challenge to walk 1000 miles through a desert. After a bit of Social Media research I came a cross a multi-national expedition that was aiming to walk 1000 miles across the Gobi Desert in Mongolia. This seemed to offer more opportunity – and the chance to check out logistics and the physical effort involved.”

To cut a long story short, Peter joined 12 people from nine countries, a line of camels and a walk east on the Western Mongolia border. Some 51 days later, seven people crossed the finish point with four having walked every one of the 1000 miles.

Events like the Gobi Desert walk can be life changing. Pic thanks to [email protected]

So now Peter is about to launch his unique travel adventure company. In another somewhat unconventional move, he is also marketing 1000 Mile Journeys exclusively for the first few years via Social Media.

The bid to launch a business via SM marketing only

Peter says: “I am a great supporter of Social Media but it is a sector that is full of dogdy dealers and huge misunderstanding. What is lacking is hard-nosed business examples of where SM has worked and not worked for businesses, and in words that business owners understand.

“FionaOutdoors asked me what is the aim of 1000 Mile Journeys? The answer is: To inspire, challenge and reward. That is a short but a very big statement!

Will marketing by Social Media alone be enough to launch 1000 Mile Journeys?

“I also need to create a sustainable business that impacts and changes the lives of everyone of its clients in a positive way. And a brand that also makes clients the advocates for the business concept.”

Peter’s other plans are to:

* Create an on-line and off-line community that supports and nurtures 1000 Mile Journeys

He adds: “In a world where many businesses claim to be unique but are really same-same, this business will be truly unique not just in concept but in how it tries to involve clients both potential and past in everything that it does and by ensuring that they go on benefiting from their 1000 Mile Journey long after the journey has finished.

“So far, most people I introduce this concept to as a business think I am off my head and that there will be no clients. I am pretty sure they may be right on the first statement – and only time will tell on the second.”

The fact that I saw Peter’s question on LinkedIn and subsequently asked him more about his business – and then suggested that he blog for me shows that his SM concept might already be working.

I plan to keep track of 1000 Mile Journeys to see how SM works for Peter – and to see what clients make of his trips.

A bit more about Peter: A background in the Army, Peter moved to the commercial world following the arrival of a family. His corporate journey included a unique opportunity to run the online and electronic side of a large PLC business. This was not a common undertaking in  2001/02.

The in 2003 he started looking for a new challenge and decided to combine his years of experience of adventure and business and forge his own path in the small but growing adventure travel business sector. He purchased a broken white water business in Perthshire and started again.

Eight years later and two more business purchases and three more start-ups completed he is now embarking on 1000 Mile Journeys, which he describes as his “most ambitious – and some would say daft – start-up”.

He also operates:

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