By Anne Holland, Content Director
When I founded MarketingSherpa nearly eight years ago, I never dreamed the day would come when I would actually be in Nepal meeting real live sherpas.
So far, they are all being awfully nice about our company name. One might be offended by some random American co-opting your family and tribe name just because she admires you. However, all the sherpas I’ve met have been terribly pleasant people who don’t seem to mind.
Here’s how the whole thing came about and why we’re named in honor of the sherpas of Nepal:
Back in 1999 when researching possible company names prior to launch, I noticed that most marketing advisory newsletters were by named gurus or guru-wannabes.
But the fact is, every experienced marketer has test results and hard-won lessons that might prove practical to others. Why should I preach my own best practice sermons from on high? Instead, it’s far more useful (not to mention interesting) to go into the field and interview thousands of real-life marketers for their own stories and data.
What you’ll learn is that great marketing is far, far harder than civilians suspect. (Some professionals, including many of your co-workers, think of marketing as the basket weaving course in college -- how hard could a gut course be? Answer: awesomely tough.)
In fact, after a 20-year marketing career, I felt as if achieving and sustaining great results was much like climbing Mount Everest. The elements are against you, and you would do better with an expert guide by your side.
My mind naturally turned to the sherpas of Nepal, the ethnic group from whom all the best Mount Everest guides have come.
The funny thing about sherpas is that despite the fact that Sir Edmund Hilary and hundreds of others could not have climbed Everest without their sherpas … these guides are far less famous than they deserve to be. The limelight does not tend to fall on the sherpa but rather on the climber they assisted.
That’s why I seized on that idea for the company name. We were not seeking fame as gurus who told marketers what to do. Instead, we were gathering and disseminating practical info from the field that enabled you, the reader, to climb your own marketing career mountain.
When I named the company MarketingSherpa, the peak of my outdoor activity was ordering drinks at a trendy sidewalk café in the city. Preferably in heels and, perhaps, a flippy little skirt. I never expected to own hiking boots, let alone see the actual Mount Everest up close and personal.
Then, as fate would have it, I met my future husband, who is as outdoorsy as they come.
Now that my job allows me to work virtually via the Internet from nearly anywhere in the world, I gave him the choice of where we would live. As you may know from my past blogs, for the summer he chose his native country, Serbia. And for this winter, he chose Nepal.
So, here I am brand new hiking boots and all. A sherpa come home to rest in the land of sherpas. Life does turn unexpected corners, doesn’t it?
By the way, if you would like to learn more about sherpas in America, here’s a great Web site:
United Sherpa Association in New York (packed with info):
And, if you would like to contact the editorial and research offices of MarketingSherpa to be interviewed about your own marketing activities, the best contact is Editorial Director Tad Clarke at TadC(at)MarketingSherpa.com.