How to Market Above the Noise

Above the Noise

 

Does Your Marketing Matter?

What makes some messages stand out above the noise?

 

Marketers everywhere have been busy in the past several years keeping up with mobile, new technology, and the fundamental changes in a social media world. Though the pace is increasing, it is also important to review the basics of marketing to ensure that what you do matters. Linda J. Popky, in her new book, MARKETING ABOVE THE NOISE: Achieve Strategic Advantage with Marketing that Matters goes back to basics and offers an approach that combines timeless principles with today’s technology. Linda is the president of Leverage2Market Associates, a firm that helps transform organizations through powerful marketing performance.

 

“Asking for input and not using it is wasteful and dangerous.” –Linda Popky

 

The Promise of Social Media

How has social media changed the way companies interact with individuals? What are companies doing well? What are they not doing well?

The good news is that social media opens the possibility for powerful real-time communications and conversations between companies and their audiences—including customers, prospects, employees, and the local community. The bad news is that social media also raises expectations amongst those audiences, while creating distraction and noise that often makes it harder to be heard.

The result is many organizations do not use these channels effectively. The key point about a conversation is that it’s two way. It’s not a monologue of marketing or sales messages from a company to customers. And it’s not an opportunity to bombard them with information that doesn’t fit the audience.

 

“Successful organizations analyze external forces.” –Linda Popky

 

More and more companies are using social media to engage with their customers, and they’re learning to listen effectively. However, they also need to bring back what they learn to the right groups in the organization to effect change. Too often this is still lip service.

For example, several months ago, I had a very negative experience with a major national retail chain. I tweeted about this and almost immediately received a response and apology from their Twitter customer care manager. The problem was they assured me I’d be hearing from headquarters soon to resolve the issue. Not only didn’t that happen, but the Twitter customer care manager moved on and left me hanging—a huge missed opportunity on their part, which is indicative of how much room there is for improvement.

 

Timeless Marketing Truths

Are You Building a Bridge or Digging a Gulf?

Bridge Builders

Last year, I was at lunch with an extraordinary networker.  Almost everyone passing our table would stop and say hello.  I don’t think there was a single person in the restaurant who didn’t know her.  It wasn’t superficial either.  I watched with great respect for her ability to recall details of the person’s family.  She would ask questions about health issues, about family members, about friends.

It’s no wonder that people call her for connections. Her list of friends seems to have no end.

 

“Language designed to impress builds a gulf. Language to express builds a bridge.” -Jim Rohn

 

Fast forward to a different day, a different scene, and a different person.  This time I was observing a business meeting.  One of the men had an incredible ability to build rapport.  He was reaching people on an emotional level.  His ability to quickly build trust was amazing.  Two people would argue and he would synthesize the arguments and find common ground between them.

Both of these people are bridge builders. They are able to build connections with people. Because of that, they radiate positivity, success, and confidence.

 

Gulf Diggers

Contrast this with people who are divisive and negative.  They seem to repel people and not even know it.  Instead of building bridges, they create gulfs.  Many people say not to discuss politics or religion because the topics can be divisive.  I have never followed this advice and find it easy to discuss sensitive topics.  Why?  Because I am genuinely interested in people’s beliefs and opinions.  That’s how I learn. The key is to do it with respect and to borrow techniques from the world’s greatest bridge builders.

“Got it,” you think, “negative versus positive.” Not so fast.

 

Driving Others Away

Some people who build gulfs are actually unknowingly repelling people in a different way. 

Achieving Peak Performance by Conquering the 7 Summits of Sales

Climbing to the Top

  • What’s the best formula for setting goals?
  • How do I prepare and truly commit to achieving them?
  • What about perseverance?
  • How do I overcome resistance?

Someone wisely once told me that to achieve something great, “Find the person who has already climbed the mountain.”  In this case, I found someone who literally has climbed mountains.  Susan Ershler has successfully climbed the elite Seven Summits and is a sought-after international speaker who has served in leadership positions for Fortune 500 companies for more than twenty years.  She is also the author of  CONQUERING THE SEVEN SUMMITS OF SALES: From Everest To Every Business, Achieving Peak Performance

 

How to Set Goals

You have a new formula for setting goals.  It’s not the SMART model, it’s the CLIMB model.  Would you share that with us?

It all begins with a well-defined vision and a set of clearly defined goals. The CLIMB system we developed on our journey to becoming top performers will provide you with a structured approach to goal setting that is both disciplined and focused.

C – Concise:  Your goals must be specific, quantifiable, actionable, and support your vision.

L – Levelheaded:  Your vision and goals must be realistic and attainable based on your current skills and level of professional development.

I – Integrated:  Your goals must be related, relevant, and integrated with your vision.

M – Measurable:  You must hold yourself accountable by using objective metrics to track your progress against goals. You must “measure the mountain.”

B – Big:  Being realistic doesn’t mean thinking small. Be bold and ambitious in projecting your future. Think Big!

 

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” -Ben Franklin

Everest Base Camp Sue

The Importance of Preparation

Let’s talk about preparation.  Obviously preparing for a climb elevates it to a life or death activity.  How have you used what you learned in climbing about preparation in other areas like sales or goals?
No BIG mountain is scaled in a single climb. No quota or BIG business objective is achieved in a single day. You must step away from the business and create a detailed roadmap that delineates every step of your journey and includes metrics to measure success along the way.

If we don’t have a plan in writing, we have a tendency to react to disruptive things, for example like constant email. We need to make sure we focus on the important activities that will lead us to success, reviewing our plan on a daily basis.

 

The Power of Commitment

Commitment.  Many talk a good game.  You may believe them, but then they quit before they even get going.  How do you help people truly commit?

Achieving peak performance, both personally and professionally, can dramatically change our lives. So once we have a vision we must commit to achieving it.  Peak performers say, “I will” not “I will try.”  For example, if you want to climb a mountain or run a marathon, sign up, pay the fee and then work backwards.  In climbing, I had to visualize myself on the summit of Everest – that was my vision in advance for years.  In business, I viewed myself as a vice president in the Fortune 500 world for years before I achieved that title.  Big visions can take years to achieve, but say, “I will do it” and never give up.

 

“Peak performers say I will, not I will try.”

Overcoming Rejection: Why No is A Good Thing

Every No is One Step Closer to a Yes

When I think of overcoming objections, I immediately think about sales professionals and sales training.  The fact is that sales training is a key skill for aspiring leaders whether you are in the sales profession or not.

After all, objections are not only an exercise in closing a sale.  Every leader experiences rejection.  If you don’t have the skills to overcome the occasional “no,” you will have difficulty leading anyone or anything.

Sales is not only closing business.  It also is about selling ideas.  In fact, in today’s social media age, it is often about selling yourself.  Personal branding and standing out from the crowd are important skills.

9780446692748Recently, I had the opportunity to interview someone who has forgotten more about overcoming objections than I will ever know.  Early in my career, I found his work to be extraordinarily helpful, and I have continued to learn from him through the years.  Tom Hopkins has shared the stage with everyone from General Norman Schwarzkopf to former President George Bush and Lady Margaret Thatcher.  His first book How to Master the Art of Selling has sold over 1.7 million copies.  His latest book, When Buyers Say No: Essential Strategies for Keeping a Sale Moving Forward, shares his insights on rejection and the sales process.

 

“I never take advice from anyone more messed up than I am.” -Tom Hopkins

 

Understanding “No”

Why Standing Out is More Important than Ever

 

Your Personal Buzz

Recently, I shared my observations about all things honey.  A honey festival demonstrated that it’s possible to differentiate almost anything—at least from my uninitiated view of the product.

 

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” –Dr. Seuss

 

Differentiate YOU

That amazing array of honey products got me thinking about personal brand.  We are all at a fair of sorts.  Whether the marketplace or in your social circles, there are many others competing for time, for opportunity.  How do YOU differentiate YOU?

Most of us don’t think about a conscious plan for standing out.  We have learned to blend in.  But great leaders stand out.  Work that is extraordinary captures our attention.  If you fail to stand out, you will be passed over at promotion time.  Overlooked in the marketplace.  Ignored for the most important opportunities.

 

“Great leaders stand out.” –Skip Prichard

 

Some work stands out so much that it generates that viral buzz that the media savors.  If it makes you uncomfortable just thinking about that type of attention, I have good news.  It often is tiny differences that make the big difference.  Success often happens at the margin.  If your work is only slightly better, you have an enormous advantage.  Often we look with interest at the shocking or spectacular, but settle for purchasing or consuming something closer to our version of normal.  The choice we make, however, is usually one that is just ahead of the competition.

Are you a leader?  Leaders do not blend in.  They don’t hide their unique qualities.

 

“Be the one to stand out in the crowd.” –Joel Osteen

 

Are you a blogger? More than the look and feel of your blog is the personal touch, the sharing, the authentic voice.

Do you have an upcoming speech?  Share a personal story or do something that no one else would do.