may 2020


Years ago, as a young hospitality publicist pre-marlo marketing, I remember proudly delivering a report full of media placements as thick as a phone book (remember those?) to a client. "Look at this!" I excitedly proclaimed. "Over a million impressions in a month!" He looked at me, with an eye roll at my youthful naivete, and replied "These impressions mean nothing if my dining room is empty." It was a career-defining moment that remains a key reason behind my intense desire to prove to our clients that good marketing, in whatever form, must deliver ROI, and ultimately, is why we've evolved over the past 16 years into the full-service integrated agency that we are.
It was the memory of that moment that inspired me to begin marlo monthly. A t a time when traditional media relations was the only tool a publicist had at their disposal, I wanted to find a way to reach consumers in an authentic way beyond just getting an article placed and hoping they would read it and take action as a result.  marlo monthly has gone out every month since the first issue in January of 2005.  Over a span of 185 issues, its original intent has remained the same: bring news from our clients in the worlds in which we play -- hospitality, CPG, and lifestyle -- directly to the consumer.

But at a time when the worlds we represent (not to mention the world in general) have flipped upside down, we've decided to use this space to openly and honestly share the impact it's had on us, and turn to you, our friends and readers, for input, ideas and support.

So consider yourself forewarned: this issue is going to be all about us. If you've read any of the posts I've shared on our social channels, you know that we have been heavily hit by current events. That we've had to lay off staff for the first time in 16 years. That I took on a client that required travel at a time ill-advised to do so . With two-thirds of our business still in the hospitality space, we've lost clients that -- even when they start to reopen -- will likely not be able to afford marketing as they could before.

When the economy safely reopens and we are finally able to "turn on the lights" we will have to start over in rebuilding the company it took us 16 years to build. So today, we humbly ask for your help; you'll find an email in a clickable link in every section below, don't hesitate to use it. We welcome any advice, guidance, ideas or counsel -- openly, authentically, and transparently -- just like the company I've built; for those of you who personally know me, you know it's true when I say I can't be anything but.


38 chauncy street
If you've visited us at 38 Chauncy, you know that our office is a special place. My dear late friend Don Rodman possibly said it best : "if you're considering marlo marketing, you must visit their offices, for it makes a strong statement as to what they're all about."

I lovingly built and designed every inch of the space after we left our longtime home at the Boston Marathon finish line over five years ago.  It's treated us well and supported our growth over the past several years. Though it kills me to say this, with everything going on we need to think creatively about cutting costs and repurposing or releasing our office space is one area we're exploring while we rebuild our team. I've been upfront about these challenges with our landlord, and I of course understand that they are running a business as well. With that, we are looking to make lemonade out of lemons and are open to creative solutions to our sudden space surplus.
If you know of any company that:
  • Wants to share an open office space, we'd gladly welcome one or more businesses into ours to share the cost of the rent and benefit from our amenities. Even before COVID, we already worked from home on Fridays; that will likely continue even more now, so we can fit a lot of people into our 9,300 square feet...even with 6 feet worth of social distancing in place;
  • Is looking for office space of their own and may be seeking a sublease or new lease situation;
  • Has any other creative ideas or unique needs that our space could support;
  • Has space to sublease to us;
feel free to reach out to me at

outsourced cmo
One of the many unfortunate results of the current crisis has been the widespread layoffs affecting companies everywhere. We've heard from many brands struggling with how to stay top of mind with consumers while their entire internal marketing teams have been furloughed or eliminated altogether. A humble solution that we are offering to companies in this unique predicament is our outsourced marketing service for hotels, restaurant chains, and CPG brands

We have vast experience planning and executing strategic marketing efforts across a wide variety of categories. Whether you're a CEO that's lost your CMO, or a CMO that's lost your team, our outsourced marketing solution could be an efficient way to address your needs now. Not sure if this is right for you? Let's set up a time to chat and I'd be happy to talk it through.

hiring for tomorrow
Though we've momentarily downsized like most every other company in the world, we are optimistic for the future and the eventual hiring boom that will greet us all on the other side. In preparation for that glorious day, we're putting feelers out now as we know there's an abundance of exceptional talent out there. 

So if you -- or someone you know -- is a driven, resourceful and proactive self-starter, give us a shout. We expect to hit the ground running whenever the economy truly gets moving and will be hiring standout digital marketers, social media strategists, creative designers, and media relations experts.  Spoiler alert: marlo marketing is not for the faint of heart. We live and die by our key core value: "Don't Stop Until You're Proud," so unless you're down with that vibe, we may not be your cup of tea. But if we are, you will find no company better for your next home.

virtual networking opportunities
I am known, in networking parlance, as a Connector. My mind is wired to constantly be thinking about how A + B can = C, for each and every person that I know.

As we all know, most networking is done in person, which is why I travel so frequently. Well...traveled. I am not gonna lie....I'm kinda glad that pretty much every conference in 2020 has been cancelled. It's nice to think about finding the time to travel for pleasure and having more time to spend at my place in NYC (silver lining?).  

But that means I need to get resourceful with my networking. The creativity around virtual networking over these past few weeks has been off the charts, I'm so grateful for the content coming out of our amazing Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, for my JD Alma Mater Boston University's Real Estate Alumni group, and for organizations I am a part of like ISHC, USA 500, and YPO that have made connecting -- even on Zoom -- completely worthwhile. 

I'd love to learn of more of these opps in the hospitality, CPG and lifestyle spaces. Appreciate being added to lists or forwarded news for anything you think may be of interest. In advance, thank you.

an open talk on boston restaurants
And because I can't help myself from trying to help an industry of people made up of some of my best friends, I want to let you know about a Zoom panel I'll be moderating on Thursday with five of the city's most influential restaurateurs, three of whom have been clients for a combined 42 years (god, we're old!).
From comments I've heard, I'm not sure that non-resto folk "get" that it's not just your cute 15 seat neighborhood bistro at risk; the crisis at hand has affected every restaurant, regardless of scale or stature. We're in a Catch 22 from hell -- there truly are no good answers. B ut what we can do is come together, share openly, think creatively, and try to come up with some solutions -- this is a time where no idea is a bad idea, because you never know where a seed will sprout.

If you'd like to join me and my friends, below, as we talk openly and honestly, and help us brainstorm ideas -- as crazy and off the wall as they might be -- we'd love to have you join us; simply register here.
  • Chris Jamison, CEO, COJE Management Group
  • Garrett Harker, Proprietor, Eastern Standard, ICOB, Branch Line, The Hawthorne, Row 34
  • Patrick Lee, Owner, Grafton Group Hospitality
  • Tiffani Faison, Chef & Restaurateur, Big Heart Hospitality
  • Mike Shaw, Managing Partner, Broadway Restaurant Group april
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