Confessions of a reluctant marketer


I recently read Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard, the founder of clothing and gear company Patagonia. (Full disclosure: I can’t take full credit for my brilliant article title—I was inspired by the subtitle of Chouinard’s book: Confessions of a Reluctant Businessman).

Chouinard is an outdoor enthusiast and environmentalist who started his business in the back of a van for the sole purpose of making enough money to feed his rock climbing habit.

As the company grew, he never lost sight of his values of protecting the environment. He gives a percentage of the company’s profits to causes he believes in. He only works with manufacturing partners who share his values. He pays his employees a living wage and gives them time off to get outside and volunteer for environmental causes. The list goes on, but you get the idea.

As an outdoorsy treehugger-type myself, I found Chouinard’s story fascinating and inspirational. As a lifelong marketing professional who has worked for several Minneapolis marketing firms, I occasionally find myself at odds with my environmental values and my chosen profession. After all, marketing is all about selling more stuff—some that we need, and a lot that we don’t. It can also prey on insecurities and create false demand.

But marketing that promotes viable products and services, and educates audiences about their benefits is important for our economy and overall well-being. And I’m happy to say that the clients we work with at d.trio believe in that kind of marketing.

They provide products and services at a fair price. They treat their employees well. They contribute to society in a positive way. They are honest and ethical in their business practices. They don’t rely on pure hype to sell their products. They engage and educate.

While I may not always agree with the marketing practices of some companies, I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to work with good clients who are doing good things. I don’t think d.trio would have it any other way.

Author Danette Knickmeier

Danette is an account executive at d.trio.

More posts by Danette Knickmeier

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