Relationship Marketing Through the Pandemic

Relationship Marketing Through the Pandemic

Relationship Marketing Through the Pandemic

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The chaos of 2020 has led many businesses to assess how well their marketing strategies translate during a pandemic. We’ve spent a good deal of time walking through this in our marketing during a pandemic blog series, but we wanted to narrow in a bit—specifically whether relationship marketing is possible during a global pandemic.

I don’t think anything has, or necessarily ever will change with relationship marketing. It will always be a cornerstone of business development regardless of what happens in the world.

Michael Stack

Founder Amaxx Workers’ Comp Training Center

What is Relationship Marketing?

At its root, relationship marketing is systematically creating personal relationships with your target customer’s key decision makers. Oftentimes, companies come across as nameless, faceless organizations with no emotion. Relationship marketing turns that on its head.

Relationship marketing is a big idea—not a single tactic or a one-time campaign. It’s a long-term strategy focused on customer retention. It takes concerted effort and authentic engagement to foster a real sense of connection with a buyer. It can’t be faked, and it should be considered at every touch point in the customer journey.

Why Does Relationship Marketing Matter?

It’s simple. The way you make your customers feel is important and can’t be underestimated—especially during a time as trying as the one we’re in. If they feel emotionally connected to your brand, they are more likely to stick with you. Not to mention, the cost of keeping a customer coming back is much less than acquiring a new one. Not only is it less expensive to sell to a customer who already knows and likes your product or service, they are more likely to recommend you to people they know, resulting in free and very effective advertising. The more engaged a buyer is with your brand, the more valuable they are to long-term growth. So how does relationship marketing stack up in a pandemic, and is it even possible?

I think relationship marketing is especially important and effective now because people yearn for connection as we are separated by the pandemic and political division. Moreover, given the cost of customer/client acquisition, the longer you can keep a customer and the more services or products you can provide for them, it drives down the acquisition cost and makes the relationship more profitable. That is the true value of relationship marketing – turning a transaction into a long term association.

Robert Curtiss

Account Executive Business Group Resources

Can We Still Use Relationship Marketing Through the Pandemic?

Always curious to get the perspective of our peers, we polled our LinkedIn family. With 91% saying relationship marketing is more important than ever, the results are clearly YES—businesses can still use relationship marketing during a pandemic. We’d even go as far as to say that tuning into how your customers feel and building personal relationships is more important than ever to survive and thrive in a global crisis.
relationship marketing poll

What can we learn from this and how can we leverage relationship marketing to build stronger ties with our customers, so we can emerge stronger when this is all over? Here are a few key lessons we’ve learned about how to leverage relationship marketing during a pandemic, along with some valuable insights from our network.

Lesson 1: Treat humans like humans

While frightening and unpredictable, the global pandemic has created a shared experience and the sense that we are all in this together. For the first time, we all face a common enemy. We know that we aren’t alone in dealing with this, and that link is creating a sense of camaraderie that has allowed us to tap into more authentic, human interactions. Inherent in this is an opportunity to connect with our customers in a way that the pandemic has proven our customers crave—more genuine, honest, and even humanized engagement. Treating humans like humans may seem obvious, but the past year has shown us how powerful this simple tactic can be for connecting with your customers in a new and meaningful way.

Hands down, people are connecting with people more than they ever have in my career. Remote work has made us hungry for real engagement, and it is significantly impacting the way people are choosing who to work with.

Brynne Tillman

CEO Social Sales Link

The biz world seems more “humanized” than ever before, this shared human experience has generated more authentic conversations than at any other time in my career. The ability to be real, cut the jargon and the crap, frankly and just be human to each other will continue to serve salespeople and marketers alike.

Stephanie Neale

CEO Blind Zebra Sales Consulting

For maximum long-term growth success you need to look and feel like your customers. You need to invest the time and money to deeply engage and make it personal. And ongoing. You also need to involve the entire company to show your customers the talent you have assembled across your company to help support their mission. This can be done during customer “experience” visits to your facility, training sessions, online interactions, seminars, etc. Digital tools further enable, but this needs to be complemented with the traditional, human-to-human interaction whenever possible.

Eric B. Luftig

Senior Executive

Lesson 2: Transparency is key to accountability and trust

With the global pandemic came a rising awareness of how important transparency and accountability are to creating a true connection. We have seen how, as organizations, we are in a position to help bring about true change in the world at large. Not only is it possible, in many ways customers are demanding it. While this doesn’t happen overnight, companies that make steps to become more accountable to their customers can leverage this shift as an opportunity to build stronger, more meaningful ties.

At its heart Relationship Marketing is about building trust and engagement with customers to drive loyalty over the longer haul. In today’s unparalleled environment- economic/business uncertainty, major global health crisis, record unemployment, social unrest etc, trust and even aligned values between people, companies and brands are indeed more important than ever.

Bob Olsen

Marketing and Management Consultant

In addition to a pandemic we are also experiencing an unprecedented shift in consumer and corporate accountability and expectation for honesty and diversity. So yes, it’s more important than ever especially as companies try to build a more inclusive and diverse workforce. As companies face the harsh reality that they don’t have a culture that fosters diversity of thought or embraces inclusion, how or where do they turn for authentic feedback or even recommendations? That is why in my opinion relationship marketing is more important than ever as we are living in this rapidly changing and honesty fueled evolving period of time while facing a pandemic.

Martin Pratt

Marketing Strategist at Incluzion

Lesson 3: Online tools are leading to more personal connections

As so many of us are in isolation, we are craving connection on a wide scale. We know that humans are social beings, and right now most of us are not getting the social connection we are used to leading many to feel isolated. Fortunately, we live in a world where online tools are readily available. Organizations that lean into these new ways of connecting through technology may discover new ways to engage with their audience that may not have been possible before the pandemic. In this sense, relationship marketing through a pandemic represents a powerful opportunity to tap into the needs of our customers—not just the needs our products or services can provide, but the simple human need of feeling connected.

Now that my corporate clients are settling into a longer scope of remote work, they are recommitting to leadership and sales training and coming to me for advice and input on how to make things more effective in this changing world. My business would be lost without maintaining those strong and authentic relationships, and I know they will continue to be differentiators.

Michael Sherlock

Chief Potential Officer at Shock Your Potential

Relationship marketing is absolutely important now and in some ways easier to do because of online tools.

Beth Granger

CEO Beth Granger Consulting

Relationship Marketing has become more important in the ‘new normal.’Regular in person meetings and encounters a salesperson used to maintain and grow existing customer relationships will continue to happen less often compared to the past. Therefore, marketing’s role in fostering and maintaining ‘customer success’ will need to increase. Ultimately, the ‘new normal’ requires deeper integration and more collaborative relationships between marketing and sales.

Mark Kesti

President & COO Innovo Sales

Given the crazy times we are living in, real and authentic connections with each other create bonds that tie us together. With so many people feeling isolated and anxious, a friendly interaction can have an especially positive impact on one’s experience these days—even if that interaction is between a customer and a brand. When the pandemic ends, the changes that people around the world have made in how they operate their day-to-day lives will likely persist, so now is the time to start thinking about how to foster these deeper connections so your relationship with your customers is even stronger post-pandemic.

Have you started planning for 2021? Maybe it’s time to consider taking a closer look at the ways you engage with your customers, and how those lead to long term relationships and long-term growth.

About the Authors

Rajat “Raj” Kapur is the founder and Managing Director of &Marketing. He strives to provide growing businesses of all sizes unparalleled marketing strategy and execution services. Raj brings two decades of professional experience in marketing, sales, and strategy development experience spanning B2B and B2C Fortune 50, mid-sized, and startups.

Ann Ehinger is a Marketing Manager at &Marketing. She serves as the link between clients and creative to drive projects that deliver results. With over a decade of experience working in the non-profit, technology, and agency space, Ann is adept at managing a project from idea to completion while navigating all the ups and downs that pop up in between.

About &Marketing

&Marketing provides the robust outsourced marketing department growing companies need without the high overhead costs of big agencies or full-time employees. Our variable model empowers businesses to reach their growth goals through access to the guidance and expertise of senior level strategists and a flexible execution team.

Why Add-On Acquisitions Can Be Important: How Mid-Market Companies Can Emerge Stronger Post-Pandemic

Why Add-On Acquisitions Can Be Important: How Mid-Market Companies Can Emerge Stronger Post-Pandemic

Why Add-On Acquisitions Can Be Important: How Mid-Market Companies Can Emerge Stronger Post-Pandemic

Written By


Unfortunately, one of the results of the pandemic is that smaller competitors may be going out of business. This will create opportunities for the survivors. Is this an opportunity for your company? An add-on acquisition or merger, with a smaller company that fits your strategic direction, could be an excellent way to help you emerge even stronger. This could certainly be an opportunity to expand your customer list, add a region or geography, add technical capabilities and bring in other needed competences.

Despite the unprecedented uncertainties in the world, many companies are continuing to plan major transformations and more than half of those surveyed are planning to do this through Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A). 57% emphatically indicated they intend to continue to do strategic revenue growth deals according to E&Y’s Capital Confidence Barometer survey of more than 2,900 C-suite executives globally. Harvard Business Review is also reporting that only about half are pausing activities in this area. Nearly a quarter are pursuing distressed companies. This is not unlike the M&A activity after the 2008 financial crisis.

Probably the most active since the NASDAQ, the tech sector is already at record highs with the world turning to virtual and relying more on technology during the pandemic. Companies like Google, Verizon, Uber, and Amazon have all been active in acquiring companies that largely fill in products, services, and capabilities where there are gaps. Other industries that are directly or indirectly supporting the response to the pandemic, such as health care and PPE, are also identifying potential opportunistic acquisitions. At the same time, companies like Nestle, MasterCard, Morgan Stanley, Thermo Fisher, and, even, Royal Caribbean have fulfilled transactions in the last few months.

Several studies have shown that add-on acquisitions of smaller competitors with similar products and services tend to be generally more successful as typically these companies will already have all or most of the management capabilities, infrastructure and systems in place. Further, in most industries smaller competitors tend to get a lower multiple of earnings or EBITDA and this could enhance your value when the combination results in a higher multiple. In the current environment consider mergers as well as acquisitions. A merger could be consummated through a stock transaction with little or no cash. You may even find opportunities to partner based on commissions or payouts.

Follow a Disciplined Approach For Merger and Acquisitions

M&A can be complicated. Based on our experience and a review of the market, we suggest a disciplined approach and a process that can help you be more successful. This article outlines some of the key issues you should consider regarding your objectives, the M&A processes and the learnings from successes and failures from the past.

Opportunities for add-on mergers and acquisitions broadly fall into two categories: market consolidation and enabling acquisitions.

Market Consolidation

Here the add-on company is in the same products, services, and business segments. This is essentially increasing market share. Bain calls them “scale acquisitions.” The more successful acquisitions tend to consolidate market share where the acquired company offers the same products and or services in the same geographical footprint to the same channels and end-markets.  There will usually be significant cost synergies. In some cases, especially with larger transactions, FTC regulations may apply.

Enabling Acquisitions

Enabling or “scope” acquisitions enable you to expand geographically, enter new channels, new end-markets or bring new products, technologies, and/or competencies to your business. When the acquisition enables entry into a new geography, channel, or end-market, a company is more likely to be successful if the acquired company sells the same or highly complementary products & services. With these types of acquisitions, you should be very careful when expanding outside your current products and services— as these tend to be more risky.

Of the success of acquisitions has shown that most acquisitions are not successful and fail to meet their objectives. Acquisitions of “new” products or services in a “new” geography or “new” channels or end-markets are the least successful. Thus you are less likely to be successful when you do not know the products, the services, the customers and are entering a new geography.

Improving Probability of Success

As you start this process of looking at your smaller competitors and even at similar products & services, here are some key considerations to improve your probability of success depending on whether you are acquiring a product / service, entering a new geography or a new channel / end-market:

A Mergers and Acquisitions Process to Follow

You should follow a very systematic and disciplined approach through the M&A process of sourcing, execution & integration. Many acquisitions are not successful. To help you avoid failure, we have identified the seven main reasons for not succeeding.

The first step is to gather information around which of your smaller competitors may be struggling. Your own knowledge and network will be helpful here.  You can also talk to investment bankers who can provide leads, and there are outside resources available. Since it is expected that nearly a third of smaller businesses may not survive, it is worth looking at distressed sales as well.

You should plan to approach candidates quickly, vetting them and ascertaining whether there is any interest. As indicated earlier, be careful about any FTC regulations that may apply; your lawyers should be able to help you.

Once you have a list of potential candidates, prioritize them and have very clear objectives of why you want to pursue each one. This should be linked directly to your company’s strategy. Is the company seeking new technology? Is regional or geographic expansion a major thrust? Do you seek new end-markets or channels? Or is it a roll-up? A key question to ask is whether you have the management capabilities, infrastructure, and systems in place? Finally, is the opportunity close enough to reduce risks?
Below are the more common steps in the M&A process and can help you be more disciplined in your approach.

The initial negotiation is primarily around deal structure and valuation. Some considerations are that you expect to pay a lower multiple for a smaller player. You should, if possible, prefer an asset transaction as you leave the liabilities behind. Consider part cash, part stock deals – especially if you want the current owners to stay on after the merger. Once there is an agreement with a candidate to proceed further, there should be more detailed due diligence that could include business, customer, financial, and legal research.

In the COVID environment, it is important to pay special attention to the impact on sales, margins, customers, suppliers, employees, what work-from-home might mean in this particular case, or are employees furloughed, and how management handled the changes that have taken place. Law firms with M&A capabilities are available to help in the negotiations, develop the structure, and the closing documents. Remember that many of the companies pursuing M&A are looking for a bargain.

Finally, there is the integration, which is where many companies fail. A well thought out plan with clear objectives is needed. Some key things to remember: integrate what has to be integrated to achieve the objectives. Do not close plants unless you can pick up the manufacturing. The customer interface is critical. If the acquired company’’s core competencies are important, ensure that these are maintained. Both your employees and employees of the acquired company, need to clearly understand the process and expectations. Most companies will set up several integration teams, which can help make the integration more seamless.

Here are some things to consider to increase your probability of success:

    • Communication is Vital: Starting with initial announcements through the complete integration process, employees need to know the strategic direction and, more importantly, what it means to them. Confusion and uncertainty leads to inefficiencies and loss of productivity. Communicating with other stakeholders is important as well: consider customers, industry partners, investment community, etc.
    • Reporting Relationships. Clarity on reporting relationships is vital. Do this as soon as possible so that people understand the organization structure. For close-in acquisitions there are likely to be many more reporting relationships. For enabling acquisitions reporting may be limited to a few senior executives plus, at a minimum, the finance department, other back office operations, and possibly R&D/Engineering. Interestingly, one of the merger principles at Dow Chemical was that the CFO had to be a Dow person (even if the CEO was not).
    • Decision Making Authority. Quickly determining and defining the key executives and integration team leaders with clear decision-making authority helps resolve people issues.
    • Project or program structure can be deployed to manage the integration, especially for a larger transaction, with a mix of a small full time integration team and part time representation from the necessary functions. Having dedicated integration resources will help maintain business momentum with separate groups focusing on day-to-day operations.
    • Key Employees & Retention Plans: It is important to identify key employees, even pre-closing, and evaluate if retention plans are needed. Competitors will go after these people or they can be out looking for jobs during the uncertainty
    • Finance: A key priority is always cash management and processes for financial closings where systems can be an issue. You can use short term solutions such as downloading financial information, then building a bridge. No matter what you do, think about this ahead of time and have a plan in place.
    • HR: Non-US acquisitions can be more straightforward because you can leave policies and procedures in place. In the US, you must consider the differences in benefits and processes. There may be a cost associated and transitions can be complicated.
    • Legal: Laws differ from country to county and all outstanding legal issues must be identified with a plan on how to deal with these.
    • Tracking Growth and Cost Synergies is essential to get the full value creation benefits. Focus on four to five areas that represent the greatest opportunities with clear, quantifiable goals and assigned responsibilities. As you learn more, open the aperture beyond traditional synergies to identify other value creation opportunities.

    Learnings From Past Add-On Acquisitions

    Here are some mini-case studies illustrating what works well and what does not.

      • A leading US safety company entered the segment which produced communication headsets with hearing protection for noisy environments, which was an adjacent space, by acquiring a $40 million company with offices and manufacturing plants in Europe. Their success was based on a number of factors. The solid investment thesis was to expand the product line globally, plus target selected verticals: offshore oil & gas and the US military. Commercial staff was added to achieve this. In eight years, sales exceeded $100 MM million.
        • The main European location is still in place. Several key manufacturing / assembly locations were added in the US and China.
        • The reporting relationships were defined with focus on R&D, new products, finance, legal, and HR.
        • An SBA was set up and experts were identified to lead this product line in specific new geographies. Sales people around the world were trained in selling these products.
        • The products were introduced into the consumer channel for DIY consumers.
        • A cutting and welding products company was the leader in cutting but not in welding products. It was in gas & plasma cutting and expanded into laser cutting by acquiring a small R&D company in that space, with sales of $2 million, annually. Very little integration was done for the first several years other than Finance, HR, and Legal. This was intended as an investment in developing new products for their existing customers. Additional enabling acquisitions in gas cutting were made to expand geographic presence, especially in Europe. Here the focus of seeking growth opportunities in a business segment where you are the market leader and have core competences helped more rapid value creation.
        • A children’s products company selling to large retailers acquired a similar sized competitor. A large percentage of their sales were impulse purchases. Many of the key sales leaders were let go early resulting in a significant sales loss since they had the commercial relationship. Even after several years the company has not recovered. This underscores the need to retain key employees because those employees with the customer relationship can be vital.
        • An environmental testing company has been acquiring very similar small, local testing labs which account for an estimated 40% – 50% of the market. They have built a dedicated M&A team. Most of the operations are quickly consolidated. However they leave in place local capabilities that receive test samples, deliver results and have the local customer contacts. This model has worked well. Many of the companies who are continuing to do acquisitions have dedicated M&A teams.
        • Many Distributors are following a roll-up strategy to expand their geographic reach, but sticking to existing and similar product lines. They acquire smaller local distributors in regions where they have little or no coverage. In addition to gaining geography they are buying customer lists and, over time, reducing their costs to purchase as they become larger. Thermo Fisher has done a good job of executing this.

        After a crisis, such as the one we’re currently in the midst of, may be a good time to look at Merger and Acquisition opportunities, especially of smaller competitors who may have been hard hit during these trying times. Many companies are doing this. We believe in these reasons for why Mergers and Acquisitions are important right now and can help you emerge even stronger. If you decide to pursue M&A, remember to follow a disciplined approach and be clear about the objectives for each acquisition candidate. You are likely to go through the four stages of hunting & sourcing, negotiating, due diligence & closing, and finally (probably the most critical) the integration. There are highly experienced resources available to help you through each step of the process.

        In the integration days of your Mergers and Acquisitions, planning a coordinated approach to your marketing is crucial. Download our Marketing Planning Like a Pro workbook to put your best foot forward.

        In a recent &Marketing webinar we dove deeper into the resulting business trends from COVID-19 and the necessary actions mid-market companies should take to build and sustain long-term growth. Watch the entire webinar below!

        About the Authors

        Rahul Kapur has 40+ years of successful business experience spanning a variety of areas. He served as Chief Strategy Officer at both Aearo Technologies (now 3M) and Dow Brands (a division of Dow Chemical). As a business consultant, he provides companies of all sizes with his expertise in strategy development, M&A, new products & innovation, and data analysis and modeling. He has helped nearly 20 companies develop their strategy to transform their businesses, using Icon Investment Partners’ proprietary business transformation system. Currently, he is Managing Director of Icon Investment Partners, Chairman of Guilford Group, Managing Member of Ark Capital Investments, LLC, and Senior Advisor for &Marketing, Crossroad Transactions, and Quest Safety Products, as well as on the boards of several start-ups.

        About &Marketing

        &Marketing provides the robust outsourced marketing department growing companies need without the high overhead costs of big agencies or full-time employees. Our variable model empowers businesses to reach their growth goals through access to the guidance and expertise of senior level strategists and a flexible execution team.

        Webinar Recap: How to Measure Your Marketing Performance to Prepare for 2021 – With Rajat Kapur, Paul Ferguson, and Eric Luftig

        Webinar Recap: How to Measure Your Marketing Performance to Prepare for 2021 – With Rajat Kapur, Paul Ferguson, and Eric Luftig

        Webinar Recap: How to Measure Your Marketing Performance to Prepare for 2021 – With Rajat Kapur, Paul Ferguson, and Eric Luftig

        Written By


        With the end of the year quickly approaching, it’s time for businesses to evaluate 2020 performance metrics.

        While measuring performance against sales goals is an important practice, assessing your company’s marketing efforts takes it a step further and can have a significant effect on your bottom line.

        Considering the impact the pandemic has had on industries across the globe and understanding your market and how it has shifted are both key to knowing where to invest your marketing time and dollars in the coming year.

        To get you started on the right foot in planning the year ahead, &Marketing hosted a discussion-based webinar lead by &Marketing’s Managing Director, Rajat Kapur, Paul Ferguson, resident Business Intelligence and analytics expert, and &Marketing Advisor Eric Luftig walked us through best practices for aligning your marketing strategy with tactical efforts to drive business growth.

        During the webinar, we learned:

        • How to use data and analytics to get a snapshot of your market, where it is heading and how successfully you can impenetrate that market
        • How to use data to drive strategy, increase efficiency, and align to business results
        • Best practices for building brand awareness
        • How to evaluate which marketing channels are driving results and make informed decisions based on performance

        Couldn’t make the live webinar? No problem! Watch the recording to learn how to set your marketing up for success in 2021.

        Not sure where to start? How about planning your social media content strategy for Q1 of 2021 with the help of our Social Media Playbook?

        About Rajat Kapur

        As the Founder and Managing Director of &Marketing, Raj strives to provide growing businesses of all sizes unparalleled marketing strategy and execution services. Raj brings two decades of professional experience in marketing, sales, and strategy development experience spanning B2B and B2C Fortune 50, mid-sized, and startups.

        About Paul Ferguson

        Director of Business Intelligence & Marketing, Paul Ferguson helps clients develop fully integrated marketing solutions driven by data that make impressions and drive results. Whether it be design-oriented campaigns or digital market execution, Paul skillfully creates strategies to effectively reach client’s desired audiences. With over 15 years of B2B Marketing experience for companies ranging from $12 million to $350 million in yearly revenue, he is uniquely qualified to develop innovative solutions that generate awareness and ROI.

        About Eric Luftig

        Eric is a dynamic, passionate, and results-oriented senior executive with 25 years of demonstrated global, cross-functional leadership across operational and commercial functional areas. His experience ranges from working at large scale Fortune 50 public companies to smaller mid-cap, privately owned businesses — all of which helped shape his understanding of how to build customer-centric teams to best support growth. As a certified GE Master Black Belt, he combines his strong technical and analytical skills with solid business process capabilities. Eric has a genuine passion for customers, employees, and the community, with an inclusive leadership style that energizes and motivates teams to win.


        3 Ways Business Leaders Can Improve Team Performance in a Challenging Environment with Harriet Stein

        3 Ways Business Leaders Can Improve Team Performance in a Challenging Environment with Harriet Stein

        3 Ways Business Leaders Can Improve Team Performance in a Challenging Environment with Harriet Stein

        Written By


        Business Leaders are finally realizing the importance of addressing the mental wellbeing needs of their employee base, since it is affecting their bottom line. It is unfortunate that it took a global pandemic for this issue to come to the forefront since the World Health Organization has stated that workplace stress was a global concern several years ago.

        Leading in today’s environment can feel like a constant uphill battle where external circumstances are weighing on your team members. The good news is, your business (and your individual team members) can still experience growth no matter what chaos is happening around you. Burnout is an official medical diagnosis, according to the World Health Organization.

        Based on my decades of experience, I have found 3 ways to improve team performance in a challenging environment.

        3 Ways to Improve Team Performance in a Challenging Environment

        Before you even begin, I invite you to shift your focus from the past to the present. No need to be looking in your rearview mirror at a past that is long gone. And worrying about the future has never proved valuable

        The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.


        What can you do right now to support each individual and improve team performance?

        1. Pause and notice your thoughts and your own mental well-being. It is time to put the oxygen mask on yourself first and then look around you and see with fresh eyes who else you can help support.  A leader’s day-to-day attitude and behavior has a tremendous impact on the entire organization. Your health, and the health of everyone around you, will improve greatly.
        2. Support natural breaks that break up routines throughout the workday.  Invite your teams to take breaks.  One of the simplest things we can do even when working from home is taking at least 60 seconds (!) of every hour for what I call “non-doing”. Just rest and notice how it feels in your body without wanting it to be any different than how you find it.  Encourage it. 
        3. Provide your team with flexibility and resources introducing them to the practice of Mindfulness. 


        “Mindfulness is the awareness that arises through paying attention on purpose in the present moment, nonjudgmentally…. in the service of self-understanding and wisdom.”

        Jon Kabat-Zinn

        The mind and the body work together. Your body is listening to you! It can hear you say, “How am I ever going to get all this done? I don’t even look forward to the weekend anymore.”

        Why Your Team Needs Mindfulness Now

        NOW, not later, is when you want to introduce a Mindfulness practice into you and your colleagues lives who are working so awfully hard for you, your company, and their families and friends.

        Are you thinking, “I don’t have time for this… or we don’t have time for a program right now!”?

        When people are thinking about the costs of health and wellness, they rarely consider the costs to the organization of sick time and lost productivity due to stress. All of us have been on Zoom meetings with others who are distracted, unproductive, or not fully “present.”

        A Brief Mindfulness Practice

        Join me in dipping your toe just briefly into the water of Mindfulness with this short practice. Find a quiet space where you can focus and follow my directions below.

        I invite you to take a moment right now…and fully notice how it feels to be in your body…

        noticing where your body is making contact with what you are sitting on…

        feeling your weight on the back of your legs…and just resting in the moment…

        with no place to go and nothing to do…and when your mind wanders as it surely will…

        just noticing without judgment…once again how it feels to be sitting.

        About the Author

        Harriet Stein is the President of Big Toe In The Water (, and has over 30 years of corporate and professional experience in healthcare. She is an expert on the topic of Mindfulness in the workplace as a presenter, coach, and inspiring teacher.

        Harriet delivers Mindfulness programs to companies of all sizes – from small professional practices to global conglomeratets. If you are interested in having a mindfulness program for your company, please contact Harriet at or call her at 215-326-9459.

        Prepared for the New Normal? How Businesses Can Emerge Stronger Post-Pandemic with Rajat Kapur

        Prepared for the New Normal? How Businesses Can Emerge Stronger Post-Pandemic with Rajat Kapur

        Prepared for the New Normal? How Businesses Can Emerge Stronger Post-Pandemic with Rajat Kapur

        Written By


        “It is not the strongest of species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” – Charles Darwin

        There is no denying the world has shifted since COVID-19, but what does that mean for your business? The changes occurring in behavior and attitudes are so deep that companies are realizing the need to re-examine how they do business to ensure they fit the mold of the emerging “new normal.” For many, this will be an opportunity to emerge even stronger and become more competitive. For others, things will never go back to what they were, and strategies that worked in the past may no longer apply.

        Join us October 7th from 9am – 10:30am for a webinar with Raj Kapur, Founder & Managing Director of &Marketing and Emily Valeo, &Marketing Content Strategist, who will share what they have learned from working with companies of all sizes to adjust their strategies during this pandemic. During this session, Raj and Emily will review:

        • Shifts in the market and what has changed as a result
        • What other companies and industries are doing to pivot and get ahead
        • What Beacon members should be thinking about in regards to messaging, marketing mix and spend in 2020 and beyond

        We look forward to seeing you in this interactive session!

        About &Marketing

        &Marketing provides the robust outsourced marketing department growing companies need without the high overhead costs of big agencies or full-time employees. Our variable model empowers businesses to reach their growth goals through access to the guidance and expertise of senior level strategists and a flexible execution team.

        Webinar Recap: Emerging Stronger Post-Pandemic & Adjusting to the New Normal— Emerge and &Marketing

        Webinar Recap: Emerging Stronger Post-Pandemic & Adjusting to the New Normal— Emerge and &Marketing

        Webinar Recap: Emerging Stronger Post-Pandemic & Adjusting to the New Normal— Emerge and &Marketing

        Written By


        How have you changed your marketing strategy in light of COVID-19?

        &Marketing recently teamed up for a webinar with Emerge, a learning and networking community for emerging brands, retailers, brokers, investors and industry experts. This interactive session was led by a group who together have decades of experience in CPG, food and grocery retail, and in navigating the ever-changing digital marketing landscape:

        • Rajat Kapur, Managing Director of &Marketing and Emerge Mentor
        • Emily Valeo, Content Strategist, Writer, and Marketing Manager at &Marketing
        • Julie Pryor, CEO of Emerge

        What we learned

        We explored some of the key challenges that many small businesses are facing right now, including:

        • How to reach your audience amidst major shifts in consumer shopping and purchase behaviors
        • How to think strategically about your external messaging, the digital marketing mix, and prioritizing your spend
        • What companies across industries are doing to pivot in the short-term, and get ahead for the long-term to sustain growth

        Ultimately, the story of disruption isn’t over yet – and there will be no one-size-fits-all solution – but this webinar will spark your thinking and set you on a path toward resetting your strategy to not only “survive” this pandemic, but thrive long-term.

        Wondering how to personalize and prioritize our recommendations for your business and unique challenges? We’re here to help and have the resources and expertise to provide counsel on the full picture of your business.

        About Emerge

        Growing a new products business is hard to do alone. Save time and money by joining the Emerge community for learning, networking, showcasing your brand and cultivating a strong network of resources.

        Emerge brings together the resources you need to propel your brand forward, providing opportunities to speak with the industry’s leading experts in grocery retail distribution, connect with local, regional, and national retailers, meet with brokers, and be discovered by investors. Learn more at

        About &Marketing

        &Marketing provides the robust outsourced marketing department growing companies need without the high overhead costs of big agencies or full-time employees. Our variable model empowers businesses to reach their growth goals through access to the guidance and expertise of senior level strategists and a flexible execution team.