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Finding Your North: Award-Winning Marketing with Northgate

Northgate Startup

August 24, 2023


During the latest Small Business & Startup Stories DSM podcast, David Tracy, CEO and Founder of Northgate Marketing, shares about what it’s like to run a business like Northgate Marketing in Greater Des Moines (DSM).

About Northgate

Originally from Wisconsin, Tracy left at a young age to travel with his parents, who were in nonprofit work. He eventually moved to Panama at the age of seven and lived there for 24 years. His childhood, living among indigenous tribes, allowed him to learn Spanish at a young age and learn the importance of philanthropy. He eventually started his own nonprofit and ran that for five years before moving to Hawaii. He lived there until a cancer diagnosis transitioned him to the business world, and he and his wife moved to Iowa and started Northgate on Feb. 7, 2020, about a month prior to the pandemic.

Northgate grew to provide marketing to businesses in more than 20 industries. During the pandemic, everyone — both new startup and exiting business owners — was at the same starting line, having to pivot and rethink how to run their business. From a marketing standpoint, Tracy and his team had to go into the trenches and advocate for their clients. With marketing, you tap into every kind of entity — everyone needs marketing in one shape or form — and you get to meet all kinds of people. One of the interesting things that happened to Northgate is that they would pivot depending on client needs. When client Copy DSM needed an interior designer to help infuse their brand into their physical location, Tracy and his team took this on. Tracy said what we see visually affects micro-decisions we make all the time, including whether we feel excited, repelled or safe by spaces. You want people to feel welcomed or lured in to stay engaged with your brand. Marketing is digital hospitality in that way.

Advice for Success in Greater Des Moines

From a financial standpoint, having a diversified portfolio, if possible, is important for success. There are all kinds of ways to have passive income. Think about who you are and how you can make money on the side.

Success is also to be content and leave a legacy that will keep creating even after you are gone. So many people are unhappy because they’re trying to please someone else. Tracy knows a woman who is over 70 and back at university studying philosophy. An example of someone continuing to create the life they want. He says life is short, and it’s never too late to do what you want to do. Don’t make decisions through the lens of trauma. Figure out who you are. What is your identity? Plan what you can and create opportunities where you can.

Interested in exploring how Northgate can help you? Shoot a question to info@wearenorthgate.com, or reach out on one of Northgate’s social media channels: Facebook or Instagram pages.

Want to know more about what makes Northgate Marketing unique? Watch the video below and listen to the entire podcast above!


Inspired by this Startup Story? Subscribe to the Small Business & Startup Stories DSM podcast and check out upcoming events, videos and other free resources dedicated to helping startups and small businesses accelerate success in Greater Des Moines (DSM).

Startup Stories DSM

Startup Stories DSM is a podcast featuring conversations with entrepreneurs who share both their victories and failures on their paths to success. It is produced by the Greater Des Moines Partnership.