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March 31, 2015

Interviews: Linda Popky

By: Ryan Schleicher @ 9:00 AM – Filed under: Marketing & Sales



"We need the basics of marketing—knowing our customer, building a solid product at an attractive price, promoting it in the right places—just like we need good habits and exercise."
~Linda Popky


About Linda Popky

Linda is the founder and president of Leverage2Market® Associates, Inc., a strategic marketing company that helps organizations transform their business through marketing. She is the author of the book Marketing Above the Noise: Achieve Strategic Advantage with Marketing that Matters, and hosts her own MarketingThoughtLeadership.com podcast series.

If it relates to marketing, Linda has done it. Her expertise includes corporate marketing, communications and messaging, marketing team development, facilitation, sales training and support, partner and channel programs, market sizing and intelligence, field marketing, marketing operations, industry/market development, and product marketing.

Also a classically trained pianist, Linda released Night Songs, a CD of classical piano music, in 2013. She and her family share their home in the San Francisco Bay Area with a small pack of Siberian Huskies.

Our take on Marketing Above the Noise


It’s time to move the discussion away from today’s latest hot marketing tools and tactics to what really counts: convincing customers to trust you with their business—not just once, but time and time again.

Without fail, whenever a new social media platform is created, a cottage industry of experts is born with websites, blogs, and books published about how said new social media platform will, or has, changed the marketing industry forever. What most of these experts and writers miss, though, is that new technologies, new platforms, and new ways of communicating don’t actually change the core of marketing, they simply become new tools for executing what has always worked in marketing.

Linda Popky knows this about as well as anyone, and in her new book, Marketing Above the Noise, Popky cuts through the hype by detailing what lies at the foundation of successful marketing strategy.

My coworker Blyth—Marketing Director here at 800-CEO-READ—and I like to joke that people get into marketing because they think it’s sexy, only to find out that 70% of marketing is spreadsheets. I’m guessing Linda Popky would produce a chuckle of recognition from our joke.


We may be looking for a fast, easy way to achieve our objectives. We can also become enamored of technology, hoping it will allow us to circumvent the hard work and long processes previously required to be successful. The problem is, we need the basics of marketing—knowing our customer, building a solid product at an attractive price, promoting it in the right places—just like we need good habits and exercise. Without these, we will find ourselves on the wrong track, with badly performing marketing campaigns that leave us wondering where we went off key.

Just like good habits and exercise—we told you it’s not sexy. But that doesn’t mean good marketing isn’t fun and rewarding, it just means that marketing takes a lot of hard work, research, buy-in, and repetition, all qualities found in Popky’s Dynamic Market Leverage Model on which the book is based.


The Dynamic Market Leverage Model looks at eight marketing principles that have been at the core of good marketing initiatives for a long, long time. In fact, these eight principles are really timeless truths for marketing ...

The Model consists of Strategy, Products, Customers, Brand, Communication, Market Operations, and Sales channels, all factors marketers use when thinking about outward marketing. Popky also includes five factors organizations need to focus on internally, including organizational commitment, resources, people, technology, and environment.

To be clear, Popky in no way dismisses new technologies, their potential impact on marketing, or how the speed at which new technologies change our world potentially changes marketing strategies. The name of the book, after all, is Marketing Above the Noise, and the Dynamic Market Leverage Model is designed with the ever-changing, increasingly loud and cluttered world in mind. It is precisely because the world is faster than ever, and noisier than we ever could have imagined 20 years ago, that becoming intimately acquainted with marketing’s core factors is all the more important.


We hear so much about how marketing has changed dramatically over the past few years. In some ways it has. We have user-generated content, one-to-one customizable marketing, social media, online communities, mobile technology, and so on. But in some ways, marketing hasn’t changed a bit in the last ten thousand years or so.

Finally, after reading Popky’s book, I can’t get the sentence, “Hurry up and be patient,” out of my head. There is such constant change in marketing. The tool we used two years ago is now irrelevant. The tool we will use next year doesn’t yet exist. How do we know what to try and what to ignore, or at the least wait to try, when we don’t know where our customers will be putting their time, eyeballs, and eardrums? If you’re a marketer, I guarantee you ask yourself these questions with regularity. There might not be a perfect answer to these questions, but the best answer I’ve seen in a while comes from this book, and I can’t help but think the answer is “hurry up and be patient.” Hurry up and learn about what’s new, but be patient, or more precisely, be diligent in working through marketing’s timeless truths, before you dive into whatever is new today, next month, or next year. It’s the only way to stay above the noise.


"We hear so much about how marketing has changed dramatically over the past few years. In some ways it has. ... But in some ways, marketing hasn’t changed a bit in the last ten thousand years or so. "
~Linda Popky


Next:

Check out Linda Popky's ChangeThis manifesto on Being Heard in a Chaotic World, and check back in with us tomorrow as we talk with Linda about Marketing Above the Noise.

About Ryan Schleicher


Ryan Schleicher is now in his third tenure at 800-CEO-READ, having left the nest previously for adventures in New Orleans and at Milwaukee's Frontier Radio Station, WMSE. Developed the old-fashioned way, Ryan began at 800-CEO-READ in shipping/receiving, but the bosses kept offering new opportunities in customer service, sales, and marketing (he's most famous for his stint at our former book giveaway site, inBubbleWrap), so it was a no-brainer to bring him back in a multifaceted capacity, with a focus on directing our PR and working with Author Services.