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From left to right, actors Mark Wahlberg, Jeremy Piven and Kevin Dillon attend the "Entourage" Season 8 premiere at the Beacon Theatre on July 19, 2011 in New York.Michael Loccisano

Product placements are featured frequently on the hit HBO series, helping companies gain visibility among a target audience that identifies with characters in the show. And the placements are made because these companies realize viewers will likely be influenced by what they see the boys from Queens drinking and wearing, writes Report on Small Business columnist Ryan Caligiuri in a column that appears here.

Product placements on TV shows may not be easy for small businesses to get, but the principle remains for a business of any size: Consumers look to what others do to help them reach their own decisions; if they see lots of people, eminent people or people they identify with doing something, they are often more likely to follow along.

Mr. Caligiuri was online to take your questions on the variety of tactics small businesses can use to influence their prospects, and make their decisions to follow along much easier.

Mobile users should click here.

<iframe src="" scrolling="no" height="650px" width="460px" frameBorder ="0" allowTransparency="true" ><a href="" >Marketing smarts with Ryan Caligiuri</a></iframe>