Hi! My name is Pardis, and this spring i joined the Northern Playground team as their new CMO. I have spent many years in the marketing industry, and have over 10 years of experience from media agencies. Throughout my carreer, I have often asked myself: Is it possible to be a marketer and also care about the environment? During the darkest week of the year, Black Week, it's easy to believe that the answer is no.
Throughout my years in the industry, I have helped huge brands spread sales campaigns for everything from sports gear to furniture, and contributed to mindless consumption. I have seen the industry go from having a few sales campaigns per year, to daily sales and discount hysteria. I have also been aware of the huge climate footprint this contributes to.
There is no doubt that discounts and sales work. Studies show that closer to seven out of ten consumers buy products that are on sale, regardless of whether they had planned to buy anything. We marketers know how to take advantage of this.
To sum it up: People buy products they don't need because we marketers bombard them with discounts and messages saying that whatever they bought yesterday is "out" and needs to be replaced with new products that are "in". When overconsumption is the root of the climate crisis, we marketers are in many ways the climates worst enemy.
At NP I no longer need to choose between being a good marketer or a good climate friend, because our vision is to reduce the consumption. It has been a joy to spend the fall planning a campaign and festival to help people take care of what they already own, rather than planning a campaign for Black Week to get people to buy things they don't need. But as most other CMOs my success is measured in revenue, and I must ask myself a new question: How can I contribute to our growth when I can't follow the playbook? I know most of the (dirty) tricks to raise revenue quickly, but most of them are the complete opposite of what we want to be doing.
The answer to this question is to stop thinking about short-term sales, and start focusing on building knowledge and awareness. Both are necessary to make a change. Building brand through awareness and transparency raises peoples long-term preferance and loyalty, and will hopefully lead to people buying fewer clothes. And when the time comes where they really need to buy something new, they will choose a clothing brand like us, instead of one that pushes discounts, overproduction and greenwashing.
Us marketers need to take responsibility and raise awareness around the consequences of overconsumption. Instead of tempting offers, we need to give consumers much better arguments to choose us as a brand. So let us be a stone in the shoe of traditional marketing tricks and the dinosaurs in the marketing industry.
When we know that overconsumption is the main source of the climate crisis, I ask a final question: Can we really justify advertising for offers, discounts and sales? Or should it be forbidden, or at least tied to a fee? That way, marketing can really become the planet's and climate's good friend, instead of their worst enemy.
Once in a while, one of the Northern Playground employees sends out a letter giving you an honest look behind the scenes of the company. We believe that transparency is an essential part of being a socially responsible company. This is the 21st letter. Read the other ones here.