What Is Purpose Driven Marketing?
After more than 25 years in strategic marketing, Evan knows that strong communications can resolve a great number of complex challenges in the world. He launched Longview Strategies to formalize and apply that impact-oriented marketing mindset to the intersection of sustainability and business. Prior to founding Longview, Evan was President of a full-service marketing firm serving retail and professional services clients.
Evan is a member of the Boston Entrepreneur’s Organization (EO), co-chair of the EO Impact Committee, and co-founder of ESG Forward, a content and education platform focused on sustainable finance.
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In the Now: Evan Zall
What is the meaning of purpose-driven marketing and why should it matter to you? Come along as this marketing veteran takes us inside his new venture at the intersection of sustainability and business.
Watch the full interview here.
Nowspeed: Hi, my name is David Reske of Nowspeed Digital Marketing. Welcome to this edition of In the Now where we focus on uncovering myths and misunderstandings of marketing and leadership with some of the world’s most interesting people. And my guest today is Evan Zall, our president of Longview Strategies. Evan has spent more than 25 years in strategic marketing, although he looks like he’s been doing it for two because he hasn’t had a youthful look.
Nowspeed: And he’s launched Longview Strategies to formalize and apply an impact-oriented marketing mindset at the intersection of sustainability and business. Prior to finding Longview, Evan was president of a full-service marketing firm, serving retail and professional clients. Evan is a member of the Boston Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), co-chair of the EO Impact Committee, and co-founder of ESG Forward, a content and education platform focused on sustainable finance. Evan, welcome to the show.
Evan: Thank you very much, David. It’s good to be here. Good to see you again.
Nowspeed: Yeah, good to see you, too. Today we want to focus on purpose-driven marketing, which I know is a passion of yours. And so I like to start these conversations by smashing a myth about marketing. So in your experience, what something that most people think about purpose-driven marketing, that’s just not true.
Evan: I think we encounter a lot. What should have changed by now is the myth that having a purpose-driven business and infusing your marketing communications with purpose is more of “a nice to have.” And that it’s not really critical to growth.
I mean, I feel like businesses really should have learned this through the pandemic, but it’s night and day when you’re a purpose-driven business. It crystallizes so much of where you want to go, how you want to get there, and what you want to say about it. It answers so many questions, and it helps you consider the ecosystem you’re operating in.
As opposed to just being in business for business sake — which can certainly work and there are plenty of companies that grow that way — but, really, transparency and knowing your place in the community and knowing your role in your industry and how you can elevate the industry — all of these things tie back to your purpose. So, the myth that purpose is not central to business and growth is the one that I would like to take hammer to.
So that’s great. So let’s unpack that one piece at a time. So when many people think about a purpose-driven business, they think about a nonprofit, right? I’m saving the world. I’m getting clean water, health care, and so on. How do ordinary businesses — I’m doing paving, fixing roofs, doing marketing — how can ordinary businesses connect their vision, or what they’re doing, to a purpose in life.
Evan: Well, it starts with that ecosystem again, and thinking about the role of the ecosystem — Why is it important that I’m considering this? And what we learned through COVID is large companies were tone deaf to the ecosystem that they were operating in.
When COVID hit, there was this absolute avalanche of cultural issues, of employee mental health issues, employee physical health issues, along with the climate change issue. Companies that were not at all considering that were punished, they were punished on Wall Street, they were punished by their employees, they were punished on the bottom line. But large businesses that really considered it their mandate to put in place strong corporate social responsibility programs, strong environmental, social and governance programs; they have skyrocketed, and it’s now the norm.
If you bring that to small businesses, the same thing applies when you’re recruiting, when you’re getting your message out there. If it’s clear that you’re aware of the fact that you’re employing people, that customers and clients that you serve are people, and we all live in this world together — and I understand how how sort of retro that sounds — it really comes through. How do you consider it? You start by asking, What is my impact in this business? How am I helping my community? How am I helping my customers? Simply being aware of that…That’s the starting point.
Nowspeed: Well, that’s really eye-opening for me. So, it’s so much broader than just what product you’re making, or what you’re delivering. It’s the total impact that you’re having on the world — your employees, your policies, the environment, maybe the waste you’re creating, the energy you’re using, all those things. It’s so much broader than just the thing you’re doing, right,
Evan: That can be overwhelming and the idea isn’t that, Oh, we’re saving the world. I mean at Longview Strategies, our purpose is to help drive capital into sustainability. So, a lot of the clients we work with are either on the financial side or they have corporate sustainability programs, or they have some aspect of their business that’s focused on this. So, for us, we do talk about, How are we driving capital into these areas?
Keep listening and learning. You can find the full interview here.