“Marketing Above the Noise” – 5 reasons to read this book

Some people estimate that the average person receives more than 10,000 messages everyday. That’s a whole lot of noise in the marketplace. Linda Popky shows us how to cut through all this clutter.

popkyMarketing Above the Noise is a new book written by Linda Popky, a marketing veteran who has lived life in the marketing trenches, and she’s paid attention. Her book is written for today’s generation of marketers and business leaders. She takes us on a tour of how marketing works today and why the rules have changed. To be a successful in 2015, marketers need to learn how to cut through the clutter and be heard.

Here’s my list of 5 reasons marketers and business leaders should read this book:

1) Successful marketing starts with a strategy, and here’s a great model.  The world of marketing is so much more than any one particular marketing tactic that happens to be popular today. Linda presents a “dynamic market leverage” model consisting of 8 key principles that reminds marketers to ground themselves in the fundamentals for understanding the target audiences, their expectations, and their needs. Although the world around us is constantly changing, the DML model remains foundational for any and every marketing plan.

2) Fresh and relevant business stories. All of the heartfelt stories of markets won and lost shared in this book are current, none older than 2013. They are fresh and relevant, with important lessons we can learn from Airbnb, Apple, BMC Software, JCPenny, Netflix Uber, Xbox Live, Zillow, and many others.

3) The big deal about big data. The hype of big data is pervasive, leaving a lot of us to wonder what sense we can make out of piles of statistics. This was one of my favorite chapters because Linda not only demystifies the marketing opportunities available in a world with access to big data. She goes further by exploring what this means for the marketing department and the staff needed to analyze the data. Market analysts sitting next to copywriters? You bet. And to go one step further, she explains the new rules of engagement between CMOs and CIOs in the brave new world made possible by big data.

4) She looks beyond the marketing function. Successful marketing teams are not only made up of savvy, creative strategists and practitioners. They also have the full endorsement and cooperation of the leadership staff. Linda shares 5 “momentum factors” that are required for organizational and operational success. It is a rare marketing book that is brave enough to talk about the importance of internal communication and politics. Her ideas and observations are thought-provoking.

5) It’s a fun read. Marketing is a complex, messy thing with lots of intangible angles. It’s easy for a book of this type to be dry or overly technical. Instead, Linda’s writing style is fun, witty, and very easy to follow. And she weaves in stories from her own experience as a classical pianist. Her music is a perfect metaphor to marketing.

In short, this is a great read for any marketer or business leader interested in cutting through the clutter in today’s noisy marketplace. This book is especially powerful to those new to role of marketing. It inspires us to earn a seat at the leadership table not because we are good marketing tacticians, but because we are good market strategists first. That doesn’t mean that marketers know all the answers. But it does mean we should know the right questions to ask.

Reviewed by Mike Gospe, the author of  The Marketing High Ground, the playbook for B2B marketers on how to build personas, positioning statements, and elevator pitches.


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