Friday, March 29, 2019

A Visit with Marketing Strategist Machelle Lind, Founder of Leaderly

Our paths had crossed several times over the years, most recently through our mutual involvement with Oldenburg House in Carlton. Machelle Lind was on the board and I had been writing about some of the activities there along with its history.

Her enthusiasm for marketing is infectious so I asked if she would share some of the insights she's gained over the years from a career in sales and marketing.

EN: Can you briefly outline how your career path, especially as it relates to marketing?

Machelle Lind: Sales and Marketing go hand-in-hand. When I began my career, I began as a highly-trained cold call sales person. My success in sales promoted me to being a sales trainer which led to a career in marketing. The sales and marketing experience then led to success in development for nonprofits and then on to some pretty serious experience in business development for corporate entities.

Through it all, I developed a love for small businesses and small business owners. I longed to start my own business to help small businesses crack the code for successfully marketing with a limited budget. That longing led to the birth of Leaderly.

EN: Where did the name Leaderly come from? 

ML: Most adverbs end in ly. When you put an adverb in front of any other word it improves it. Completing an online course is one thing, successfully completing it tells an entirely different story. I chose Leaderly because when you put in front of any small business marketing strategy, it’s improved.

EN: Is this the title of your business? 

ML: My company's legal name is Lindly Success Strategies. I rebranded to take on a business partner. The business partner moved on, the name stayed.

EN: What is the nature of your business and what is it that excites you about solving marketing problems?

ML: Leaderly’s unique selling proposition is to help other businesses discover their unique selling proposition. Once this is known, we/ I leverage it to generate revenue and drive traffic to their website, storefront, or inbox. I like to make things happen and I do, again and again.

EN: Field of Dreams is a great film, but when it comes to marketing it is clearly a myth. Would you like to elaborate on this idea?

ML: I use this analogy all the time. You cannot build it and they will come. Meaning that you cannot rent a space and hope customers will show up to buy your product. You cannot create a website and hope that those online will find you and call. You cannot create a Facebook page and a post or two and then hope that your audience will engage with you.

Marketing is hard work. You build it and then you must continue building it by welcoming and inviting people again and again and then again to learn more about what you do. The welcome and invite part is so important – it needs to be bold, underlined and capitalized.

EN: When you speak of marketing and seasonality, what do you mean?

ML: My grandparents raised me. They were sugar beet farmers. Grandpa would plant in the Spring (he was always proud to be one of the first in the fields, typically in April) and then comes the hard, back breaking work. To increase the yield you have to weed, worry about the weather, and wait. Even the harvest is labor intensive and finding good help is challenging.

Marketing is planting a seed, then you are up to your elbows in mud while you hope for growth. In addition to the sugar beet crop you sometimes add other types of crops (side hustles) to help generate additional revenue to cover the beets. You do all of this until Harvest time.

My grandmother’s role would be to feed the men and women in the fields to keep them going because as the saying goes, you have to make hay while the sun shines. Then Winter comes and you may get to rest or you may have to use that time to work on the equipment, make a new plan and get ready to plant again in the Spring. To get to the heart of what I am saying quickly: you invest in a marketing strategy and it is going to take time (3-6 months) for you to see a return on that little seed you planted in the Spring. There are no short cuts in agriculture or marketing.

Here’s a little nugget: Planting the right seed in the right soil with the right climate is the secret to anyone’s business success.

EN: The world of work can sometimes be a drudgery. Yet you seem to enjoy what you are doing. I’ve heard you say, “Marketing should be fun?” In what way?

2019 ribbon cutting.
ML: Oh! Take the “should” out of it!! Marketing IS fun. Here is the first thing to know about marketing: It goes w-a-y beyond advertising, social media management or the way you merchandise your product. This will blow your mind: marketing has nothing to do with money. Nothing happens in our world until someone convinces someone else of something. That’s marketing. When you influence someone to take action: that’s marketing. That’s fun. We’d have a whole lot of people doing a whole lot of nothing without marketing. I’ve got stories, I will tell them to you later.

EN: What kinds of clients could best benefit from your services?

ML: The best clients that fit with Leaderly are those businesses that understand the value of time. The vertical markets I have chosen for my business tend to be attorneys, chiropractors and real estate agents because they value their time like they would value a warehouse filled with inventory. I do my best work for those types of business owners. I get them and they get Leaderly.

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