Marketing & Public Relations Firm - Verasoni Worldwide

All posts tagged Social Marketing

By: Abraham Kasbo

If the most successful brands on the planet live at the intersection of delivering consistently exceptional experiences and authenticity (the latest in industry speak – will address later), then Ireland, yes the entire country, is indeed well within great company, and from my perspective ahead of the class.  There’s no need for brand training, public relations strategies, or messaging in Ireland because on our most recent vacation to the Emerald Isle, it appeared that the entire country, from the minute we landed in Dublin to our departure from Shannon, was “on brand,” “on stage” and seemingly well prepared to orchestrate an exceptional vacation experience.

At first, I thought that there must be some centralized, formal training scheme at work because it’s impossible, or perhaps naïve to think that every Irishman and woman we encountered – from executives having dinner at the next table to pub dwellers, shop owners and keepers, to people we met on the street – and I do mean everyone we met, happened to be genuinely nice and helpful.

From pubs, restaurants, historical sites and shops, to the streets of Dublin, Kilkenny, Cork City, Killarney, Kenmare and

The Kids presenting a gift to Third Fire Officer Gerry Myers of the Cork City Fire Department

The Kids presenting a gift to Third Fire Officer Gerry Myers of the Cork City Fire Department

Bunratty, everyone – did I mention everyone?  - we met along the way was “on” the Irish brand of hospitality. Both my wife and I got the feeling that the Irish seemed to be deeply connected with and invested in not just their town and local heritage, but in other areas in Ireland.  They freely shared their experiences about other areas of Ireland complete with specific recommendations of restaurants, hidden gems, what roads to take and avoid, and so on. They also asked questions about America, New Jersey (where we live), and our work in ways that made us feel like we were engaged in a normal conversation and not a tourist transaction.  On our way to the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, we got lost.  A cabbie surprised us when he pulled up while we were examining our map and said, “You seem lost, can I help you?” After a friendly chitchat, he pointed us to the right way and quietly went off into light Sunday morning traffic.  That goes a long way when you’ve already walked about 3 miles with 9-year old twins.

It got exceedingly better at the Guinness Storehouse and not just because we had the opportunity to indulge in the good stuff at the Gravity Bar. It seems to me that the Guinness Storehouse is reflective of how the well Irish tell their story to make it meaningful and connect with people. Isn’t after all the purpose of branding?  To make meaningful and lasting connections with a product or service?

Nothing could have been more surprising as what happened over the course of the next days. For the next leg of our trip, we were heading to Cork and reserved a car through Hertz. When we got to Hertz’s offices on South Circular Road, we noticed the street was closed because of a marathon route planned for that day.  Our taxi dropped us off at the intersection where we walked the rest of the way. When we arrived at Hertz, I was informed that we would have to wait another 2-3 hours for an automatic car because truck carrying automatics could not enter the street because of the marathon. The clerk offered us a manual shift BMW, and off we went. Mind you, having only driven a manual car once before, 10 years earlier on a visit to Ireland, my kids and wife were a bit nervous about my driving skills…so was I.  I must have stalled six or seven times in traffic coming out of Dublin backing up traffic several times. Embarrassed, frustrated, and at times angry at my inability to get us out of first gear, let alone Dublin, I realized what I was feeling was directly related to another deep experience. The incorrigible brand of cutthroat driving in the New York, New Jersey area, where if you don’t step on the gas within a millisecond of the light turning green, you’d be bombarded with beeps, shouts, and unpleasant gestures.  On my way out of the parking garage in Cork City I stalled on a ramp backing up business commuters two to three floors deep for about 10 minutes, seemingly forever to me. Through the stalls and back-ups, there was not one beep, not one horn, in four days of my dubious attempt to drive a manual vehicle across the Ireland from Dublin to Cork City, Cork City to Kilkenny, Kilkenny to Killarney, from Killarny to Kemare and on to Bunratty and Shannon. Not one horn or beep from my fellow drivers. The silence of those horns spoke volumes about the people in the cars.

On our stroll to dinner in Cork City, we misread the map and got lost. As we walked, we saw a couple of firefighters in front of the firehouse and asked them to set us straight. That’s when we met Gerry Myers, Third Fire Officer of the Cork City Fire Department and his colleague.  We ended up chatting with them about the States and our itinerary in Ireland. They recommended areas of Ireland to consider visiting “next time” and then pleasantly surprised us by offering to drive us to a restaurant they recommended as having better food and prices than the one we selected. The kids were obviously elated to find themselves in an official fire department vehicle!  The next day, we went back to the firehouse where the kids presented Officer Myers a gift of an American Silver Dollar and Mr. Myers reciprocated with pencils and fire department pins, and more importantly, an unforgettable experience.

There’s the Disney Experience and then there’s the Irish Experience. The former is precise, systematic and formal business process. The Irish Experience, is organic, credible and engrossing. The business community should take notice of keen lessons to be learned from the Irish Experience. In an era where authenticity is a hot topic, Ireland transcends authenticity – which in many ways is an overused and hackneyed industry mubo-jumbo.   its incredible natural beauty aside, Ireland seems to tap deeply into its most precious resource.  By harnessing the energy and enthusiasm of its people and how they represent their country, Ireland’s brand as experienced by us and other visitors stands strong and credible. After all,  authenticity is perceived but credibility is earned. For Ireland, it’s well earned.

Abraham Kasbo is CEO of Verasoni Worldwide. Follow him @akasbo.


Several weeks ago I posted about the comeback of the American consumer and its impact on the financial services market. Since then, I’ve engaged in the same discussion with healthcare device makers and distributors who are also wondering how a stronger consumer will impact their business.

The obvious reality is that every sector in the United States ought to be positioning itself in light of strong consumer sentiment and data.  Let me quickly set the table by restating a few key points from my previous post about market conditions and business climate that are relevant across industries, but are certainly applicable to healthcare equipment makers, manufacturers, and distributors:

  • The stock market is at or near an all time high
  • The business media seems to be whistling a happy tune about the comeback of the American Consumer
  • Earlier this year, according to Bloomberg.com Macys’, Target and Gap reported sales that topped sales estimates in January, 2013
  • This past February, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment climbed to 76.3 from 73.8 in January
  • Ernst & Young cited stronger global markets and calls the US markets “very positive” in its most recent forecast.
  • With property values rising and the job market strengthening, Americans seem to be poised for an uptick in wealth

So, what does the comeback of the American consumer mean to Healthcare consumption? From 10,000 feet, two things: 1) The American healthcare consumer will have more money and more confidence to spend it and 2) that confidence and willingness to spend will be tempered by impact on the collective psyche still felt from the 2008 market crash.

Who will benefit from this consumer wealth effect?  Consumer medical specialties, like dentists and cosmetic dentists, plastic and cosmetic surgeons, dermatologists, fertility specialists, bariatric surgeons, and those companies who are selling to them, as well as hospitals and surgi-centers who will deliver care in these service lines. We believe that other specialty areas will also see benefits such as certain areas of orthopedics, We see a healthy return of discretionary income spending in the aforementioned areas. At a recent meeting of Plastic Surgeons in New York City, a Baltimore based doctor said: “we’re seeing people coming off the street and dropping a $1,000 to $1,500 on procedures, and that hasn’t happened in a long time.”  As I write, there’s a strong bi-partisan push in the senate to repeal the medical device tax. I wouldn’t hold my breath if I am a device manufacturer or distributor. Just as a reminder, the 2.3% excise tax is on the gross sales price of taxable medical devices. Regardless of whether the medical device tax is repealed or not, companies who better position themselves in this climate relative to the American consumer, will have a whopping advantage over those who don’t.

Here’s how healthcare device companies and distributors can better position themselves in light of the coming wealth effect:

1. Down-line Education – Three pronged approach: 1) Get out in front of the market by arming your buyers with the information they need to make an informed buying decision for your products. Include information on what the wealth effect could mean for both their business and patients.  It is likely that they themselves are feeling the wealth effect personally. Of course, buying certain equipment will put your buyers in a better position to serve the needs of their patients who will now feel more comfortable in spending discretionary dollars on healthcare services. 2) Consumer down-line education through web and digital strategies will provide fertile ground to drive consumer education and show buyers your commitment to their success.  3) Peer-to-Peer education for buyers of healthcare devices and products. Down-line education must have a strong digital component, especially with the rise of mobile and the coming of Google Glass, which will once again revolutionize mobile. [A quick aside: I was one of the privileged few to recently accompany a Google employee on a Google Glasses tour and indeed healthcare must be prepared for the coming revolution, but that's a post for another day.]

2. Brand Like You Mean It – This is a great time to get back into the market with a healthy respect for your customers. Communicate with them on a level that they come to expect and specifically communicate value.  Your visuals must be stunning, your value lasting.  Now, I have been on the record and continue to be by saying that branding is “not what you do,” it’s a “result of what you do.” For those companies who have been lacking in promoting their products and services to exceed market expectations, the time to start building a foundation for your brand has never been better than right now. This is especially true now because some of your competitors will inevitably continue to rely on the same strategies, thinking the same old ways, or their size, or whatever will produce results in this environment. Good, let them. For companies who consider themselves brand leaders in their space, don’t rest on your brand laurels, because your customers will now need more information to make buying decisions, and have more access to information about your products and your competitors’.

3. Mobile & Digital Will Drive Marketing Strategy Linkedin just surpassed 1 million doctors and nurses worldwide. Our own proprietary research shows that as of January 27, 2013, there were 500,000 people who have identified themselves in the United States as “dentists” on Facebook and 33,000 in the same category on Linkedin. There were 2,918 people who identified themselves as “general dentists” on Linkedin. Combine that with Healthcare topics being the most consumer-searched subject online in the United States, and you now have an idea of how important the digital environment is to your business. Educating the consumer and the market about the value of your products in the digital world is crucial to building consumer awareness and driving demand to your customers (doctors, dentists, hospitals, surgi-centers, clinics). Web and digital content must meet the expectations of the market, and if it doesn’t your company risks brand erosion. Positioning your products juxtaposed against value – remember, your customers and the consumer is once bitten and twice shy by now – will go a long way to making the case for your products. Your digital reputation and your customers’ must be spotless, because it is your reputation. So, move away from creating social pages and posting to meaningful digital strategies. Location strategies relative to how you sell should play a critical part. For example: if you’re selling an intra-oral camera, or gastric sleeves, you may want to share with your customers who else the in the area is using your technology via a mobile map application.  The very least you ought to do is mobilize your websites to make it easier for your sales force and your clients to access your products and services.

4.  Be a Category Creator – In Why It Pays to Be a Category Creator (Harvard Business Review, March 2013), the authors found that “category creators experience much faster growth and receive much higher valuations than companies bringing only incremental innovations to market.” Researchers found that category creators, while only 13% of the companies studied, accounted for 74% of the group’s growth. Consider the dental industry’s fore into sleep medicine. It was a blue ocean strategy, which opened up a new market for dentists and provided patients with yet different way to utilize and view their dentist. Whatever category you choose to create, and at the risk of overstating the obvious here, it has to be both ethical and make sense for the patient. So, be creative, you may surprise yourself.

It’s an exciting time to be in healthcare. Being nimble and entrepreneurial and taking advantage of selling into the current climate no matter size of your company is a virtue and highly accretive to growth in this environment.  So, jump right in, the water is fine.

Abe Kasbo is CEO of Verasoni Worldwide
Follow @akasbo or facebook.com/verasoni


NEW YORK, Feb. 28, 2011 -  A new nationwide study by Verasoni AhHa! and Simon Associates Management Consultants of how hospitals across the United States use Facebook suggests that hospitals are not using Facebook to its capacity to engage patients, build healthcare communities or develop their hospital brands.

Only a few hospitals across the United States are utilizing social media to connect with patients, improve the health status of the community and extend their brand, and these hospitals are doing it very well. The majority is not, the study indicates. “It appears that hospitals either have yet to grasp the role of Facebook with respect to connecting with patients, or have not yet invested in the medium to be able to use it as a viable marketing communications and healthcare or community development tool,” said Dr. Andrea Simon, President of Simon Associates Management Consultants and co-author of this study.The study looks at various types of relevant Facebook activities and tactics for 120 hospitals of various sizes and affiliations across the United States. The study includes an analysis of the size of network, frequency and types of posts, and the use of the integration tools available on Facebook, among other measures. “While the numbers clearly indicate that patients are on Facebook, it is the job of hospitals to find them, and engage them in a meaningful way. And, just because a hospital is on Facebook doesn’t mean that they are building a meaningful Facebook experience for both the hospital and the patient,” said Abe Kasbo, CEO of Verasoni Worldwide, co-author of the study.On hospital pages where there is a high degree of interaction between the hospital and members, the study found that patients, family members, friends and members of the community used the hospital’s Facebook presence to share experiences, laud, connect, and recommend hospital services, and in some cases praise certain physicians.Children’s hospitals appear to be clear leaders in the use of Facebook. Children’s hospitals in this study have Facebook mass, meaning that the hospitals studied seemed to be very engaged in Facebook. Their networks–the number of people on their pages–are larger than most hospitals in the study and their activities appear to be more robust, engaging, and relevant.Additional highlights from the study include:

  • Only 8 of 120 hospitals (6%) had more than 10,000 fans
  • Less than 40% of hospitals posted daily, those who posted on a daily basis had many more encounters with current and prospective patients as well as caregivers
  • Less than 50% used Facebook’s event calendar to promote health or hospital events
  • 80% of hospitals did not use Facebook’s discussion board, while those hospitals who did were rewarded with a high degree of engagement, adulation and recommendations from members
  • 76 hospitals (63%) had no unsolicited feedback or questions on their pages. 38 hospital Facebook pages (32%) included unsolicited feedback from their Facebook members

Please visit http://verasoni.com/ahha2/2216/ to view the entire study including, implications, methodology and data and sights on social media for hospitals.

Simon Associates Management Consultants, founded by Andrea J. Simon PhD, brings the perspective of corporate anthropology to help companies and non-profit institutions change by rethinking their brand positioning, redesigning their organization’s culture, and improving their financial performance through innovative and effective new approaches to product development and marketing. The firm assists companies understand how customers really see, feel, and think about a company’s products, services, and customer experience. To learn more, please visit www.simonassociates.net.

Verasoni Worldwide is a marketing and public relations firm with offices in Montclair, New Jersey and New York City. Verasoni Worldwide delivers expertise across multiple markets and platforms; including healthcare, financial services and banking, government, not for profit, hospitality and travel.  Verasoni Worldwide specializes in the integration of digital and traditional media, including public relations, advertising, brand development, reputation management, and global marketing communications strategies. To learn more visit http://www.verasoni.com. Facebook.com/verasoni. Twitter: @verasoni.com.


As technology continues to grow and the internet becomes a more common platform for business (believe it or not, many businesses still haven’t harnessed the internet), the amount of money spent on online ads has become, as you can imagine, fairly substantial. Although online advertising can be a more efficient way to target certain demographics than traditional media outlets, this does not always lead to greater results. According to a new study from MIT Sloan School of Management, the same search, and other technology, that has enabled advertisers to target particular audiences, such as men between 25 and 35 who work on Mac computers, is also creating greater online competition for the same audience, thus reducing profitability of advertising on any targeted web site.

If you think about it, this all makes all the sense in the world. And it isn’t enough that many online advertisers have only themselves to blame for fragmenting their own markets by hopping from one sexy technology or site to another, but now there is evidence that there is a finite amount of scree-estate available to compete for the attention of the viewer.

MarketingVox data suggest that the study’s findings take on greater relevance as vertical and hyper vertical ad networks continue to grow. Adify’s Vertical Gauge for Q3, brand advertising CPMs for various verticals continue to rebound from early 2009. Also, food CPMs are up 91% from last quarter and Real Estate CPMs are up 17%. As far as vertical brand advertising, both automotive and healthy living and lifestyle verticals contracted substantially.

Clearly this article suggests to advertisers and consumers alike that targeted ad dollars don’t necessarily create more efficacy or revenue, in fact, evidence, in this case, shows more targeted ad dollars are less profitable. It is critical that advertisers note the importance of integrated marketing strategies in their marketing communications campaigns…more to come.


By Abe Kasbo and Kim Reydel

Social media was a huge buzz word in 2009 and the hype will undoubtedly spill over into 2010.  Without a question, social media is now the new mass media (television still dominates…for now), and while businesses are still scrambling to figure out how to maximize their investment, social media delivered the following important points to the market:

1. Aggregation

2. Segmentation

3. Revelancy

As companies continue to embrace social media to grow their businesses, expand their brand footprint, and utilize the medium for PR purposes, some are still struggling to optimize social media to its full potential. According to the Social Media and Online PR Report, 86% of companies plan to more money on social media in 2010. Conversely, 54% of those surveyed say the biggest barrier to better social media engagement is a lack of resources. So, although many are plugged in to various social networking outlets, about half of them see a hurdle in using the tools to their full capacity. In addition 60% of companies say that they have gained “some benefit but nothing concrete” from using social networking. Let’s be honest, when using a tool to grow your business it’s crucial to see the results and reap the benefits. Until you know how to properly engage in social media, it’s not an essential tool for your business.

According to a survey by Econsultancy and bigmouthmedia in the B2B world 11% of respondents were heavily involved in social media while 23% were not involved and 65% experimented only. In the retail business 10% of respondents were heavily involved, 27% not involved, and 63% of retail respondents only experimented with social media. Like any other business strategy you must follow through with a plan, and a short presence on facebook is sure to generate zero business for any company. The concept of social media may have been an experiment, but building your company’s presence on a social network is a business strategy that requires a commitment and understanding of the platform. The majority of companies agree that major benefits of social media include; increased brand awareness, customer engagement, communication with key influencers, and better brand reputation. Additionally 54% of supply side respondents say their clients are incorporating video and video sharing in their use of social media. It’s superb that so many companies have hopped on the social media bandwagon but truth be told, it might as well be obsolete unless you are using it as a tool to engage your audience.

So, although statistics show that companies know how to use social media, there is a lack of understanding when it comes to the value of engagement. In other words, any company has the ability to create a fan page on facebook and populate the group, but often times it stops here. Companies have to keep in mind that those who join your network on twitter or facebook or linkedin are looking for something and it’s your responsibility to give it to them. The social networking platform allows you to offer coupons, contests, news, videos, promotions etc to ENGAGE your audience. It’s important to bring people together via your social network but it’s crucial to keep your site functional and relevant. As another year is about to begin, let’s make a resolution to remember to engage engage engage!


Now you can listen to us on our new web radio show “Hey Marketing Genius!” You can listen by clicking here http://www.blogtalkradio.com/heymarketinggenius

Today’s show discusses branding. Our guest is Erik Kent, President of NJWedding.com.



1. Engage – People who join your group or fan page want something. Find out what it is and give it to them. Give them coupons, suggestion, offers, new, meetings, rallies, contests…what ever it is, you must keep your network engage or else you risk loosing it…or worse, having a stale network.

2. Aggregate – Social networks allow you to bring people together around your issues, products and services. Once you build your relevant network, you can engage by polling, conducting market research, delivering offers, and so on.

3. Measure Online – Measuring your activities on your social networks. For example, how many people joined your group. How many people are attending your events, how many people saw your event, and how many comments are made.

4. Measure Offline – Use every opportunity to drive your “offline” audience to your online social networks. So if have a quarterly magazine, or conduct monthly direct mail, or advertise in print or television, invite people to join your online network. Now you can measure what’s happening offline and at the same time grow your influence in your social network.

Social networking is no panacea.  But, done right, it can be a slice of heaven, even though it takes hard/smart/inspired work.


The article below was featured in The River View Observer on September 10, 2009. You can view it by clicking here or reading it below.

New Jersey Company Doing Their Part to Help Bring  Down Health Care Costs…

CAMBRIDGE MEDCOM ANNOUNCES EFFICIENT REMEDY FOR HEALTHCARE MARKETING

New Plan by Cambridge MedCom Will Save Marketing Costs and Create Effective Strategies for Medical, Dental Practices, Hospitals

Healthcare Marketing Communications firm Cambridge MedCom has the prescription for healthcare providers looking to cut marketing costs and improve the bottom line.  According to Cambridge MedCom, using truly effective marketing tools can increase profits, cut costs, and allow healthcare providers to improve the quality of their services by reinvested otherwise wasted dollars into patient care.

Abe Kasbo, CEO of Verasoni Worldwide, the parent company of Cambridge MedCom estimates that the average medical or dental practice spends approximately $50,000  per year in marketing costs, and hospital marketing budgets can range from $500,000 to several million. “We’re in new world of engagement, not advertising.  Our clients know that they are no longer in control of their brand; their patients are now in control.

So how do you engage these folks?” Physicians, and dentists hire highly specialized marketing like designers for brochures or programmers for the web, who are good at what they do, but do not necessarily understand how to attract new patients,” says Kasbo. “In addition, we find medical, dental and hospital professionals usually expend their budget on tactics, rather than campaigns that are directly to business plan, leaving them with little to no return on investment. Cambridge MedCom helps healthcare professionals increase their business footprint, and save precious dollars by developing and executing integrated marketing plans, utilizing the internet as the center of their clients’ business universe.”

Physicians, dentists, and hospitals as well as other healthcare professionals continue to rely heavily on advertising, and are slow to adapt to the rapidly changing new media realities that can be leveraged to attract new patients, keep patient engaged with their brand. The Internet has changed the economics of healthcare marketing and radically impacted pricing on media buys, the ways people shop for healthcare services, and the way they interact with a healthcare brand.

Unfortunately too many medical providers are unaware of how this affects their bottom line, or they may not understand how to take advantage of the new opportunities. “All too often healthcare providers market without strategic plan, physicians and dentists are busy doing what they do best, which is providing patient care. They often “drop marketing bombs” by using singular tactics, which are very difficult to measure, and imprudent because you only have one data point to work with. For example you can’t just jump on Facebook and expect it to be effective by itself, because it’s about developing and sustaining a relevant network on Facebook.  In addition, Patient behavior tells us that people will join relevant social networks, but will go to the group’s main website, and if that’s not up to par with their expectation, then they will do two things, leave your group, and not do business with you because of your website. So because your website does not speak appropriately to your market, you’ve rendered your social networking efforts useless,” Kasbo states. Kasbo maintains that although online communications are now making a greater impact, the right media mix also encompasses vital offline communications and strategies, including a move towards patient engagement, and away from stale advertising techniques.

“The benefits of engagement are two-fold,” says Kasbo. “While clients save money by spending it more wisely on business-driven, effective campaigns which allows healthcare providers to invest the savings towards patient care. This way you not only save the healthcare provider money, but perhaps improve the quality of healthcare for their patients as well.”

Cambridge MedCom develops personalized plans for each practice that integrate all aspects of online and offline communications. The vital media mix will lead towards strong, strategic campaigns in which each marketing tactic complements works within an integrated plan.

The company believes that their plans will help redirect the future of healthcare marketing to be more beneficial for the patient, and not just the business. Cambridge MedCom’s practice has proven effective in the case of a plastic surgeon that previously overspent on advertising. Using Cambridge MedCom’s plan, the company was able to cut costs by about 25%, increase his exposure through a tailored integrated plan of Web, social media, advertising, public relations and events. Cambridge MedCom was able to increase the doctor’s business by 12% while saving him approximately 25%.

Another individually tailored case involved a pain management practice whose campaign costs were cut by 1/3 and incorporated physician networking events to meet referring physicians. Kasbo points out that while the events required more effort than simply advertising, the return on investment was greater, thus driving the cost per effective impression down, and the return on investment up.

Plans developed by Cambridge MedCom begin with strategy as a foundation, and are supported by strong tactics. Cambridge MedCom firmly believes in this strategy-based model due to the truth that tactics are dispensable, while strategy is not.



I started my career working for legendary stock picker and investor Mario Gabelli. In my brief stint at Gabelli’s Rye, N.Y.-based firm, I learned much that has stuck with me to this day, including the basics of value investing. Value investing is about kicking the tires, doing your research from the ground up, and carefully evaluating a company and its stock based on its intrinsic value… before you pony up one dime for shares.

Value investing also looks at businesses in their totality and, just as importantly, over the long term. No flipping stocks, no short-term trades; value investors are overwhelmingly in it for the long run.

The era of managing quarter to quarter is over. If you’re in business, surely you’re in it for the long term, right? So your business, including your marketing approach, ought to reflect that reality. No one doubts Gabelli’s success, just as we all love to hear from Warren Buffet, the renowned value investor, pontificate about his latest corporate conquest. Both Buffet and Gabelli run their businesses the same way they invest: with an eye on value and for long-term success.What can we learn from these legendary investors about marketing and promotion? Here are four suggestions to include in your marketing plans that will deliver real value for your business:

Kick the Tires: Do your homework on marketing, including media. Not all media are created equal relative to your products, services, customers, and geographic service area. Take time to review all options before investing a medium. And because media companies are recognizing that we are in the age of engagement, many are providing advertisers with more venues to reach customers. They may include websites, networking opportunities, and direct mail, in addition to its core business offers. So do your homework on media and negotiate a good deal.

Avoid Marketing Bombs: Without a marketing plan, you’re dropping marketing bombs and wasting your hard-earned money. Recently, a CEO of a $500-million firm that sells telecommunications equipment said of his marketing: “Yeah, we got that idea, we tried it, and it didn’t work.” When I asked him about the context of that particular tactic within an overall campaign and why it did not work, he replied, “What campaign?” A tactical approach to marketing is far less effective than a strategic one, so invest in and employ market-driven strategy. Then measure your strategy in its entirety; don’t simply examine one tactic, no matter how important.

Know that People Buy From People: Bring your business out of the office. Target trade shows that have a close affinity to your firm. Investing in trade shows goes far beyond having a nice booth. It’s a great chance to network with other businesses, each a potential client. Trade shows allow you to measure yourself against the competition.

In addition, invest in opportunities to make personal connections, such as the simple act of taking potential clients to dinner. It may sound clichéd, but it’s the blocking and tackling that allows you to move down the field with consistency, and not the 60-yard “Hail Mary.” Very often, personal connections win more business than 9-to-5 sales tactics.

Do Good, Do Well: In the 1980s, American Express developed a unique campaign for their customers to help restore the Statue of Liberty. A penny for each use of the American Express card and $1 for each new card were donated to the Statue of Liberty Restoration campaign. In four months, $2 million was raised and, more importantly to American Express, its transaction activity increased by 28 percent. So integrating social causes into your marketing strategy will surely allow you to “do good”—while doing well.

PLAN FOR THE LONG RUN: The above are value-based tactics that should be included in your overall marketing plans. Don’t rely on one approach. Delivering value through marketing is ensuring that you integrate your tactics with business-driven strategy. So, if you agree with me that we’re in a new era of customer engagement, you’ll give your marketing plan a second look. If you don’t have a plan, build one around adding value to your business. And remember, that plan must deliver value to your market not just for now, but for the long run.