On a roll: Bob Balzer

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Bob Balzer, 54, became chairman of the Promotion Marketing Association in July. He is president of REB Associates, Towaco, N.J., a strategic marketing consulting firm he founded in 1995, and previously spent 20 years in brand management at General Foods Corp. and Reckitt & Coleman.

Observation: After years of taking short-term approaches to marketing and promotions, companies are starting to take a longer view, developing more long-term strategies instead of a series of disconnected one-offs.

Insight: Media-company consolidation is helping promotion's cause, encouraging companies to lock into more sophisticated, long-term advertising, sponsorship and integrated media deals. It tends to breed better creative, improved execution and more measurable results.

Tip: Avoid getting lost in tactics. Too often marketers fall in love with one type of promotion and lose sight of the original brand objective. Constantly step back and verify that the promotion serves overall brand goals.

Forecast: The recent terrorist attacks and business downturn means advertising budgets will be at greater risk for getting cut than trade and promotion budgets. Consumers are paying close attention to value.

Insight: The tone and manner of promotions will be altered by terrorism's effect, but business plans and strategies ought to remain intact.

Outlook: The Simon Marketing-McDonald's sweepstakes scandal will not have a lasting effect on contests or promotions. It was a criminal incident, an aberration for an industry with excellent practices.

Fact: Mr. Balzer breathes marketing 24 hours a day; his wife is Paula Balzer, chief marketing officer for Clear Channel Entertainment. "We definitely have debates about marketing at home, but we also have fun with it," he said.

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