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Marketing Above the Noise by Linda J. Popky

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1 In the Heart of the Noise

I’ve spent my career in marketing, advising clients like Cisco Systems, NetApp, PayPal, Plantronics, Autodesk, Applied Materials, Sun Microsystems, and others on everything from branding to strategy to market analysis. I’m also a classical pianist. I’d like to start our discussion with a story about music that illustrates what can happen when you rise above the noise.

It was November 1923. Bandleader Paul Whiteman wanted to stage an experimental jazz concert in New York City the following February. He asked composer George Gershwin to create a concerto-like piece for the event. Gershwin declined, thinking he wouldn’t have time to compose a piece of the complexity required.

Gershwin thought that was that. Then he saw ...

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