I’ve been re-reading a stack of my favorite permaculture tomes. Even though I expect Reno has a few touches of frost left up its sleeve, the warming, lengthening days have kicked me into my seasonal mother-earth-mode.

Each permaculture book has a different author and each of these dudes has mastered permaculture in his farm’s climate. (Putting a pin in not having any books by ladies here, but that might be me in a few years)

I have my idol & gateway drug to permaculture Masanobu Fukuoka (of One-Straw Revolution, a life changing read for me as a young scientist), there’s alpine permaculture master Sepp Holzer, plus Ben Falk (Vermont) and Toby Hemenway (Portland, OR).

If you laid their books out side by side and compared their suggestions you would start to wonder if permaculturists had ever thought to compare notes. The basic concepts of permaculture line up, but how they get there is vastly different. Their suggestions differ wildly because tactics and strategies for sustainable, circular agriculture are regionally specific.

Each of them is a master in permaculture, however, drop any of them in my backyard and they’d be temporarily as lost as I am in wrangling a high desert area with a maddeningly short (hardiness 7a) growing season. Given their diverse backgrounds, they’d each approach the problem of improving the ecology of my backyard from a different angle and from a different collection of wisdom.

None of them are wrong in their approach, they just have a different set of experiences and approaches to optimizing an ecosystem.

It occurred to me that every marketing system is an ecosystem in itself too.

Each brand has a different environment it operates in, different inputs and a different growing season. These different factors require different approaches to thrive, and every marketer approaches them differently as well. You could bring Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuck, and Joanna Wiebe into a room and each would approach marketing your brand from a different angle.

Their experience, their theses on marketing…all wholly different. The end goal is the same, build a self-sustaining community of people who want to buy what you sell, but their approach is completely distinctive. And, each method is wildly successful in its own way. Like permaculture, there is no wrong answer. You merely need to find a good fit for what you do, the type of effort you want to expend on marketing, and how you want to present your brand.

You can use each of these thought leaders wisdom, but like the permaculture advice from Fukuoka (and his hardiness Zone 9 farm techniques), you will adapt that wisdom to your own conditions.

When you look to hire a marketer, consider how they create growth and what their methods are. It helps to find not only a match in their approach (why bring in alpine wisdom if you live by zen farming principles) but also to remember that what works for them and other brands will need to be adapted to work for you.

Marketing, like permaculture, is a practice that takes time to develop into a thriving system. You often won’t know what works best for your ecosystem until you begin to experiment, and this makes knowing you align with the practitioners you hire all the more important.


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