MASSolutions President asks MASH East ‘What Are You Selling?’

“What Are You Selling?” That’s the question MASSolutions President David M. Mastovich will ask during the MASH East Networking meeting at Longwood at Oakmont on Oct. 17.

Mastovich will address the group at 10 a.m. Registration begins at 9:30 at Longwood at Oakmont, 500 Route 909, Verona, Pa. 15147.

Marketing Admissions Supporting Healthcare (MASH) co-chairs/founders Sandra Harcarik of Gallagher Home Health Services and Kerry Beck of Senior Living Advisors formed the progressive organization nearly a decade ago with the mission to exist as a community resource for seniors, families and professionals through education, special events and networking.

Mastovich’s interactive program focuses on “real-world” solutions that lead to better planning, more meaningful calls, stronger relationships and more closes. He encourages the audience to embrace the fact that marketers indeed are “selling.”

Mastovich’s book Get Where You Want to Go, How to Achieve Personal and Professional Growth Through Marketing, Selling and Story Telling will be available during the presentation and audience members will have an opportunity to subscribe to his column/blog Light Reading, which has been featured in more than 50 media outlets with readership of more than 1 million.

RSVP’s are required for the MASH East Networking event. For more information, contact Amy Rabo at 412.826.6104 or

MASSolutions President David Mastovich Named to MSPA Board

The Mystery Shopping Providers Association of North America (MSPA-NA) has named MASSolutions President David M. Mastovich to its Board of Directors.

Mastovich will be installed on the board during the 15th annual MSPA North America conference and exhibition. The Sept. 24-26 conference will be held at the Marriott Riverwalk Hotel in San Antonio, Texas.

Mastovich officially will commence as a voting board member on Jan. 1, 2014.

“MSPA North America is widely recognized as the leader in customer experience measurement and management, and I truly appreciate and embrace this opportunity to serve on the Board of Directors,” said Mastovich, who more than a decade ago founded MASSolutions, an integrated marketing firm with offices in Pittsburgh and Johnstown.

MSPA North America is the trade association representing the customer experience metrics (mystery shopping) industry throughout North America. MSPA has additional regions located in Europe, Asia/Pacific and Latin America.

MSPA’s goal is to improve and stimulate the acceptance, performance, reputation and use of mystery shopping services worldwide as a critical component of any customer experience metrics program.

A member of MSPA North America since 2010, MASSolutions helps clients build brands, tell stories, increase sales and enhance customer satisfaction.

Prior to founding his company, Mastovich held senior management positions with University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), Duquesne University and Dame Media, and has a track record of improving the bottom line for organizations in various industries.

He is the author of the book Get Where You Want to Go, How to Achieve Personal and Professional Growth Through Marketing, Selling and Story Telling. His column/blog Light Reading has been featured in more than 50 media outlets with readership of more than 1 million.

For more information contact MASSolutions’ Christina Grantz at

MASSolutions’ President Addresses Westmoreland Marketing Network

GREENSBURG, Pa. — MASSolutions President David M. Mastovich recently spoke to the Westmoreland Marketing Networking Group at IntegraCare Corporation’s Newhaven Court at Lindwood.

Mastovich’s presentation “What Are You Selling?” was well-received by a gathering of more than 50 professionals in Westmoreland County.

“David did a great job and his presentation was interesting and engaging,” said Katie Slezak, Director of Sales at Newhaven Court at Lindwood. “He addressed topics that resonated with the audience.”

Mastovich’s interactive program focused on “real-world” solutions that lead to better planning, more meaningful calls, stronger relationships and more closes. He encouraged the audience to embrace the fact that marketers indeed are “selling.”

Mastovich’s book Get Where You Want to Go, How to Achieve Personal and Professional Growth Through Marketing, Selling and Story Telling was available during the presentation and audience members had an opportunity to subscribe to his column/blog Light Reading, which has been featured in more than 50 media outlets with readership of more than 1 million.

His next scheduled speaking engagement will be at 10 a.m. on Oct. 17 at Presbyterian Senior Care in Oakmont, Pa.

For more information, contact MASSolutions’ Christina Grantz at


Use the Seinfeld PR Approach to Tell Your Story

This is the third in a series of three articles based on content from recent presentations made to college students.

While preparing a speech for a group of college seniors, I focused on the importance of a lifelong thirst for knowledge and achieving positive, incremental change. The end result was a presentation with three key themes:

  • Success, like beauty, should be in the eye of the beholder. You decide what you want to do, how you want to live and what you want to achieve.
  • People will want you on their team if you are organized, efficient and get things done.
  • Potential employers need to know what you are capable of and how you think. Use the Seinfeld PR Approach and tell your story.

The sitcom Seinfeld lasted nine seasons and was named the greatest program of all time by TV Guide. Yet it was described as “a show about nothing.”

While Seinfeld focused on the minutiae of everyday life, its popularity was driven by our ability to relate to and like the key characters. They seemed believable, real and hilarious. We knew someone like them or noticed that some of our own quirks were similar.

When we try to communicate our own message, why not focus on the real stuff that makes us unique? Instead, many people think they need to embellish things or avoid talking about what they see as “nothing.”

Don’t underestimate what you’ve done. What you see as nothing can be interesting to others. Tell your real story in a creative way.

Why is it relevant to members of your target markets? What will help them relate? Why should they care? Break it down to a basic, core theme—What’s in it for Them?

Once you’ve developed your real story, tell it again and again. Use memorable anecdotes, ask questions and listen.

Focus on Less and More: Less talking, more listening, more real stuff. And remember it’s not a story about nothing. It’s a story about you, what you’ve accomplished and what you bring to the table.



Marketing MAYhem Event Features MASSolutions President

 Keynote Speaker David Mastovich asks “What Are You Really Selling?”

MASSolutions’ President Dave Mastovich

MASSolutions President David Mastovich is preparing for an impending brush with mayhem. Actually, Mastovich will be a keynote speaker at the Society for Marketing Professional Services Pittsburgh’s “Marketing MAYhem” event.

Mastovich will deliver a presentation that focuses on answering the question, “What Are You Really Selling?” The SMPS Pittsburgh event will be held on May 14 at the Regional Learning Alliance, 850 Cranberry Woods Drive, Cranberry Township.

     Mastovich will address:

  • What’s the Big Idea?
  • Crafting Your Compelling Story
  • Making It About Them
  • The Importance of Listening…Really Listening!
  • Pre-Call Prep…Every Call, Every Time

A dynamic speaker who utilizes real-life experiences and a touch of humor in his presentation, Mastovich combines specific action items with motivational ideas that change the way attendees look at things, present ideas and interact with internal and external customers.

For more than a decade, Mastovich and Pittsburgh-based MASSolutions have focused on improving the bottom line for clients through integrated marketing.

In his recent book, “Get Where You Want To Go: How to Achieve Personal and Professional Growth Through Marketing, Selling and Story Telling,” Mastovich offers strategies to improve sales and generate new customers; management and leadership approaches; and creative marketing, PR and communications ideas.

Prior to becoming CEO/President of his own company, MASSolutions, Dave Mastovich served in senior management positions with UPMC, Duquesne University and Monongahela Valley Hospital.

SMPS was created in 1973 and the association currently has a membership of more than 6,000 marketing and business development professionals.

For more information on Marketing Mayhem, contact Stantec’s Kimberly Ridenour at 724.477.1218, or via email. Or contact MASSolutions’ Mike Gatti.




Better Listening Leads to Better Results

It seems like an organization exists for just about everything. My company belongs to the Society for Healthcare Strategy and the Mystery Shopping Providers Association. I’m part of the National Speakers Association. You can probably rattle off a few that are specific to your industry or area of expertise as well.

So I guess it makes sense there’s an International Listening Association. Their mission is to advance the practice, teaching and research of listening throughout the world.

I hear that.

But I just enjoy their statistics, gleaned from years of studying the good, the bad and the ugly of listening. Here are a few nuggets:


  • 85% of what we know we have learned by listening.
  • 75% of the time we are distracted, preoccupied or forgetful.
  • We only recall about 50% of what was said immediately after we listen to someone talk.
  • In total, just 20% of what we hear will be remembered.
  • Less than 2% of us have had formal education about listening.
  • People listen through one of four primary styles: people, time, action or content oriented. Females are more likely to be people-oriented and males are more likely to be time or action oriented.

Say what?

I’m thinking it means listening is vital to leading, managing, marketing and selling. Your personal productivity and your company’s success will be enhanced via betterlistening. With that in mind, here are…drum roll please…

10 Ways to Improve Your Listening

1.     Let the speaker finish their thoughts, don’t interrupt

2.     Keep an open mind, don’t judge

3.     Listen without planning what you are going to say next

4.     Give feedback

5.     Pay attention to the speakers posture and body

6.     Stay focused

7.     Show respect

8.     Take notes

9.     Make eye contact to keep the speaker at ease

10.   Put as much effort into listening as the speaker puts into talking

Better listening leads to better results. And you don’t even need to join an organization to improve…

Just listen.

Big Ben’s Big Day and Big Quote


Ben Roethlisberger joined nearly 600 students in a graduation ceremony at Miami (Ohio) University Sunday. The 30-year-old Steeler quarterback received his bachelor’s degree in education.

“I’m going to be sitting there thinking, ‘When I was in college, this person (next to him) was probably in middle school,’ ” Roethlisberger said to reporters before the ceremony. “I’m going to be the old man out there, but it’s worth it.’ “

It’s a good thing when athletes go back to finish their college requirements to earn a diploma. Big Ben was only 4 credits away from graduating and that led his Miami academic advisor to send him an email after this year’s playoff loss to Denver  urging him to complete the necessary work–nine years after leaving Miami.

Better late than never.

Ben is also known for his interesting and dramatic quotes. During interviews after the graduation ceremony he lived up to that reputation.

“To me, this is as just as big (as), if not bigger than, winning the Super Bowl. This is the Super Bowl in life.”

I’m a proponent of ongoing education and a thirst for knowledge throughout life. I agree that earning a diploma is a special event for anyone. However, less than 100 people win a Super Bowl every year so while the quote is nice, it’s a bit of an exaggeration.

Nonetheless, congrats Big Ben. Go for that Masters degree and a few more Super Bowls too.

Pitt Makes Plenty of PR Mistakes

The University of Pittsburgh football coaching mess has featured plenty of PR missteps.

The saga began after Pitt’s football team finished a disappointing 7-5 season filled with poor performances and questionable coaching.

On December 7th, Athletic Director Steve Pederson announced that head football coach Dave Wannstedt was gone and the search for a new leader would begin. Officially, Wannstedt resigned and had a brief emotional press conference to say goodbye with a number of his players standing behind him.

After a quick search process, Pederson announced the hiring of Mike Haywood, most recently head coach at Miami of Ohio, on December 16th.

Haywood was arrested December 31st in South Bend, Indiana on domestic violence charges.  Pitt officials seemed to have no choice but to fire the new coach and did so on January 1st.

From a PR perspective, the whole situation has been a nightmare for Pitt.

With coaching (or senior level executive) changes, there is often room for debate on the decision.  However,  the process followed by Pederson was what really led to bad PR and negative word of mouth.

His comments immediately after the move about Wannstedt were of limited to no value, unnecessary and came across as somewhat insecure and petty.

Then, Pederson and Chancellor Mark Nordenberg left the decision to coach the bowl game up to Wannstedt.  This is simply unwise on many levels.  Leadership requires making tough yet compassionate decisions.  It makes sense for Pederson to have offered Wannstedt the chance to coach the team in the bowl game.  But he should have asked for his decision immediately and the announcement–either way–should have been made at the initial press conference.

Instead, the ambiguity of who would be coaching the next game gave Wannstedt the opportunity to manipulate the situation to his liking which he did.

After Haywood’s dismissal, Wannstedt decided to have a press conference, standing in front of the university’s corporate logo, during which he announced that he would not be coaching the game because he did not want to be a distraction and wanted to keep the focus on the players.  Right.  Keep the focus away from yourself by calling a press conference to say you won’t be coaching the game to keep the focus off of yourself.  It’s almost comical and both Wannstedt and the university look bad from a perception standpoint.

Wannstedt is free to do whatever he chooses with respect to coaching the near meaningless bowl game (ironically the only story tied to the game is the coaching saga!).  However, the university was not required to allow him to have what appears to be an official press conference as part of the university.  The university’s image and brand are owned and must be managed by the university.

Back to Pederson…Pitt’s A.D. also did not interview Penn State Assistant Coach and de facto head coach during the arduous (right…) search process of 8 days despite a recommendation from the Rooney’s, owners of the Steelers who serve as Pitt’s landlord for the football program.

Again, an unwise move from a PR perspective.  Why not interview someone who is qualified and has a track record of success recruiting in Pitt’s primary target areas?

Joe Paterno, one of the best at PR for about forty years even though he and his supporters try to rationalize that he’s not a promoter and not like all those other coaches (right…), is the only one who made a bold PR statement.  JoePa’s endorsement of Bradley gives him the chance to say he’s supporting one of his coaches while also possibly removing a potential successor and threat to his son Jay.

Joe amazingly keeps on keepin’ on while Pitt fans have to wonder what’s next for Pederson, Nordenberg and the whole football program.

Remember When a Website was Optional?

Facebook accounts for 25% of all U.S. page views online.

Awareness of Twitter has exploded from 5% of Americans in 2008 to 87% now.

LinkedIn has more than 85 million users including employees from every company in the Fortune 500.

These statistics show how integral social media has become in our lives.

Do you remember when having a website was optional? If you think about it, that wasn’t too long ago. Now we take it for granted that an organization would not only have a website, but that we would be able to find what we are looking for in a few clicks. Yet right now, many organizations still think having a Social Media Strategy and presence is optional.


It could be because just about everyone defines “Social Media” in a different, and often narrow, way. Instead of thinking of just Facebook or Twitter, consider the entire medium. There really is something for everyone and that means plenty of opportunities to communicate with potential or existing customers.

Organizations could also be wary of the informality of the medium—inappropriate content, posting of pictures, obscenities, etc. Yes, questionable content is on the internet. But so are opportunities to engage customers and prospects and to carry on meaningful conversations. And you have more control of your Social Media presence than you might think.

Business leaders, marketers, communicators and managers should work to maximize the opportunity and make Social Media part of their marketing and messaging strategy.

Begin by developing a Social Media Plan integrated into your current Marketing, PR and Communications efforts.

Then start telling your story. While Social Media is the “new, big thing,” the basic tenets of messaging still apply. Less is still more. Authenticity is still key. And making it about them—your target audiences—is still what it is all about. Tailor your Social Media message to each target audience and what they are interested in.

You can avoid Social Media and hope it goes away or you can embrace it. Just know that while you’re debating which path to choose, your competition might be tweeting to your soon to be former customers.