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Backcountry Marketing

EP: 152 What Role Does Passion Play in Marketing?

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How many marketing departments create work that gets remembered? The majority of companies show up, punch the clock, and go home at the end of the day. They might make a campaign here or there but rarely do they push the envelope when it comes to their marketing efforts. I think these companies become stagnant in their marketing efforts because they find themselves stuck in the doldrums of the daily grind.

I’ve often wondered why it is that only a fraction of the companies in the outdoor industry are creating marketing work that stands out and gets remembered. Why do some brands genuinely delight when others don’t?

It’s easy for me to lament these shortcomings without understanding the day-to-day challenges a brand faces. Marketing departments are tugged this way and that by competing priorities but I have a cyclical theory that attempts to explain this phenomenon:

  1. Budget constraints and cash flow are precarious.
  2. This budget crisis creates a mindset that every marketing initiative needs to drive dollars tomorrow.
  3. This short-term need unintentionally creates a culture that is scared of failure because any failure jeopardizes the company's profit.
  4. This fear of failure prohibits the brand from truly ideating and going after any good ideas that might exist within the marketing department.
  5. The process repeats itself.

While there is no silver bullet to breaking this cycle, I was inspired by my recent conversation with Anik Champoux. In this episode, she joins me on the podcast to discuss her past role at Whistler Blackcomb and her current role at Protect Our Winters (POW) Canada. While at Whistler, Anik tells a story where her boss would encourage her team to create ideas that would scare themselves.

This type of culture led to some groundbreaking and memorable campaigns that the ski and snowboard world remember to this day. Anik shares some of the lessons she learned at Whistler Blackcomb, and now as the Programs and Marketing Director at POW Canada, she still carries that same creative flame to work every day seeking to push the envelope and make work that truly inspires change.

-Cole, Founder of Port Side Productions and Host of the Backcountry Marketing Podcast

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