• Holland-Mark is a marketing strategy and
    implementation firm. We translate the central
    goal of a business being loved by its customers
    into the term being “Imperative.”

    In a good economy people buy things that are interesting. In a challenging economy like today’s they only buy things that they perceive as imperative, things they love. Love and becoming imperative is what drives sustainable growth. Our framework for guiding a client’s brand to Imperative status is called Engauge™. It’s a disciplined and measured methodology that brings art and science together in ways that create distinct, tangible value for your customers and your shareholders.

    Core Competencies

  • 1. Connection to the Truth.

    95% of new products and new businesses fail not because they are poorly rendered but because they are poorly connected to the truth of the market’s actual needs and wants. They are not liked, let alone loved. Engauge and the journey to Imperative begin and end with connecting to the truth and the task of intimately understanding the external reality and what prospects and customers (and employees) think and feel about what you’re selling. The good news is that in today’s socially networked world, listening to customers, assessing the competition, and observing what’s going on “out there” is fairly easy and cost effective to do.

  • 5. Intensity of Outreach.

    Some think of this as the old-fashioned marcomm stuff, but as we all know, the world has changed . . . more market clutter, more competition, more media options, and fewer marketing dollars. For most early stage and mid-market brands today, outreach has digital at the core and is about intensity (planning, consistency, focus and execution) and measurement (dollars and customer advocates). And while the measurement of advertising and marketing efficacy has traditionally been suspect, today we can measure our marketing ROI in customer advocacy; a measurement with direct correlation to bottom-line profit.


  • 2. Clarity of Message.

    In connecting to the truth for many clients, we uncovered a universal truth about the most successful brands in the world: they stand for something; they own a single, powerful idea. Volvo owns safety, FedEx owns overnight. Apple defines “easy interface.” We call it the One Simple Thing™ (OST™). Our job is to help you find your brand’s One Simple Thing (OST) – the single, most compelling attribute that is true, relevant, motivating and distinct. And we support your OST with the creation of a Message Model – a one-page articulation of your brand. One page because it’s simple. One page because it’s accessible. One page because it works.

    To learn more, download Your One Simple Thing (OST) is Everything from our library.

  • 4. Consistency of Experience.

    Your brand is a promise to deliver an experience. The challenge, and the responsibility, is to deliver it at Every Point of Contact™ (EPOC™). Every touch point matters, from the way the phones are answered to the choice of fabric on the chairs in your office vestibule to the design of your store or the UI of your app. And while every touch point does in fact matter, some require immediate attention while others can be addressed easily and for little cost. EPOC is about evaluation, prioritization, action and, ultimately, incremental organizational change.

  • 3. Alignment of Offering.

    Connection to the truth and our messaging work and the overarching task of being imperative often point to the need to better align or refine your product or service offering. How can your brand provide more real or perceived value? What are the fundamental delivery elements that would drive higher levels of customer delight (love)?  How could we modify or adjust the product itself to better deliver on the One Simple Thing? Where are the opportunities with what we call “soft innovation” to drive tangible value? All questions worthy of examination and action.

More of our views from here


When we re-launched Holland-Mark in 2008 we articulated a vision as captured in a metaphor called “The Journey to Santa Clara”. It reveals our belief that long term goals and clear roadmaps are central to any organization’s success. Santa Clara as destination represents five specific goals:

  1. to be viewed as imperative by our clients
  2. to be a major participant in the leadership of Boston
  3. to be a major contributor to the social good
  4. to be the best company to work for in Boston
  5. to institutionalize our culture and competency so that we exist for generations

The key to our journey, to our success and the success of our clients, is our people. Their capacity to lead, to collaborate, to innovate and create anew is critical. The documents in this library and our blog reflect our philosophies and capabilities and capture in black and white more of how we think about the task of getting to imperative.