It’s Friday!

A happy Memorial Day Weekend to you! I’ve got an exciting weekend of family time, as my brother is getting married. It should be a great weekend of celebration, and I’m looking forward to recovering (aka sleeping late!) on the Monday holiday. If you’ve got exciting plans, I highly recommend squeezing in a look at these articles:

For the techie/sign of our times business guru, via AdAge: Google Wallet’s Killer App

For the unemployed or freelancing, via Forbes: Why being underpaid is worse than not being paid at all

For those considering an internship, via The New York Times: Unpaid Internships, Complicit Colleges

For those considering an MBA, via My Online Career Space: What it takes to get an MBA


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Less is More

Blue jersey dress, knit blazer, black pumps
Versatile pendant necklace


Like the outfit? See more details here!

You probably remember this dress from the Day to Dinner post a few weeks back, and I must say, I need to buy this dress in more colors! The fit and comfort are prefect for the rapidly approaching summer months in Texas, and I’m bringing it out on the blog once more. The minimalist closet challenges have been taking the blogging world by storm, with shopping bans, limiting the number of pieces from which to create an ensemble, and generally doing more with less. Everyone says reducing the clutter in their closet has made getting dressed in the morning a much simpler task. I’ve always been a closet minimalist, at least compared to the other women in my family. My husband thinks I have a ton of clothes, but it’s not even close to what my sister keeps! I think the “less is more” trend is something that marketers should keep in mind. It’s not just clothes, but houses, cars, and stuff in general. I’m wondering if this trend is largely attributable to the recession, or just burn-out on the “American dream”. We’re realizing that maybe experiences are worth more than a huge house, a closet full of clothes, or steak dinners every night. The flip side could also be that people are opting for higher quality items, and thus increasing the longevity of their items. Particularly for business wear, the fashions aren’t going to change so drastically that you must buy the latest season’s trends in order to look nice. So, following the less is more mantra, it seems like a lot of people are purchasing more expensive, enduring items, and then just changing up a few elements. Are you going “less is more”? Like the outfit? See more details here!

Back in the Good ‘Ole Days…

I thought about posting this one yesterday, but then I switched. So unfortunate, as it would have been the perfect coincidence after some of our topical discussions in my latest class, Organizational Behavior. Let’s take a walk down memory lane, shall we? Back to the days before the internet, when research had to be done with… gasp… actual books!

I was in 7th grade when I was first exposed to the internet. Our teacher had just set up Netscape Navigator, and she told us that we had to use at least one internet source for our history project. We were told to come up to her computer, type any question into the blank box, and then use the most appropriate answer with a link. I typed in some ridiculously long question, without any boolean logic or key words, and got 0 search results. Yeah, how is this magic box thingie helpful?

– By high school, we were all really proficient with the internet. So proficient, that our teachers starting requiring at least two book sources for our projects! Everything had to be cited using the standard MLA format, including our internet links. We weren’t allowed to use Wikipedia as a source for any of our projects, since that information was CLEARLY unreliable.

– By the end of college, the professors just started asking us for a list of links that were used to our sources. The MLA formatting for a bunch of links was pretty silly, since they could just click directly to the source from the last slide of our PowerPoint presentation. They could also put our papers into a third party content manager to find out exactly which percentage of our paper was plagiarized. I think the third party content system is much more effective than the MLA formatting for a bunch of Marketing majors using the latest data for real-world companies.

– Now, in the professional world and graduate school, everyone recommends “Google it”, “Bing it” and “Wiki it”. Yes, Wikipedia is often recognized as a reasonable place to at least start the research process. Statistics are known to be old, since we can’t collect and process the data as fast as we need to, so everything just says, “as of [date]”, and everyone just assumes that it’s actually accelerated well beyond whatever the statistics says on the screen.

Man that was a long walk! It seems like it’s been forever since I first used the internet, and now I’m the “social media expert” at work! My biggest takeaway from my encounters with the somewhat tech un-savvy, is that tech doesn’t fundamentally change how humans think and act. Yes, we can share information faster and broader, and yes, the internet never forgets. But, humans still need connection, interaction, and feedback. Thus, as a marketer, I view technology, specifically social media, as another tool. You don’t have to throw 20 years of business experience out the window, but you do need to take a new perspective to see how this latest tool fits into your overall strategy. How do you utilize this tool to meet the fundamental human needs that still exist? I’m already excited about this Organizational Behavior class, since it will allow me to dive deep into how people think, and why they do what they do. Combine that with all the latest tools, and you’ve got a fun set of issues to contend with. So, where were you when that new-fangled internet first came into your life?


Personalizing Customer Service

We’ve had two rare customer service experiences recently… rare in that they were personal and good! Sad to say, but these two components are usually missing from customer service interactions, so prepare to also be blown away by what we’ve experienced!

First, after my husband went to get his Tolltag, he received an email requesting that he take a short survey to give feedback on his experience. We’ve all had these requests, but the difference was that they asked him to specifically provide feedback about the person who helped him by name, to ensure that she could improve her service! I think this is great, as it helps pinpoint problem areas that are consistent in one customer service agent, as pointed out by several customers that she served. It’s also great to give HER glowing reviews, instead of the agency at large, since “the agency” didn’t actually serve you, a human did. It puts a personal touch on a seemingly faceless organization, and it helps solidify that they are really trying to serve their customers, not just make a profit.

Next, my husband received a HAND WRITTEN thank you note, signed by an engineer, from! IMPRESSIVE. He upgraded his account after using their service for two years, and they responded with a personal note to thank him for his loyalty and increased interaction with the company. We felt compelled to write them a personal note back, just to say that we appreciated their note (we didn’t, by the way, so this blog post can serve as a shout-out to them).  No one writes personal notes these days, so when you receive one from a company, it really makes an impact. It shows that you took the time to think of them personally, instead of sending a form letter to show that you “sincerely” care.

I’ve talked a lot about making a personal connection, and these companies really managed to blow me away with their ability to do just that. Lesson learned? Call people by name and hand-write notes to REALLY knock their socks off!

Happy Weekend!

I’m gearing up for some relaxation time this weekend! Granted, that will only happen for a few hours on Saturday, but I’ll take what I can get. For those who have a few minutes, here’s some interesting articles for your reading pleasure:


For the general business person, via Forbes: LinkedIn IPO

For corporate dwellers in general, via The New Professional: Dealing with Criticism

For the entrepreneur, via Mashable: 6 Tips for Start-Ups

For the marketer, via WSJ: Should McDonald’s Retire Ronald?


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100th Post and Grades are Up!

Well, I’m officially posting my 100th post on the blog, and coming up on the two year anniversary of the launch! I know there are many more prolific bloggers out there, but 100 posts is pretty amazing to me. I’ve still got some drafts in queue, and it makes me feel good to know that I’ve been able to talk for 100 posts about my career and industry! This post also comes just before the six-month mark on the switch from Musing Marketing to Consciously Corporate, and I have to say, the switch has been well worth it! From what I can tell on my stats, I’ve almost doubled my traffic by broadening my horizons, and I’ve been receiving a few more comments and Tweets about my posts. I’ve been able to use this tool to connect with classmates, friends, and the blogging community at large in a much more effective way. The ideas flow more freely now that I’m looking at every situation as a potential blog topic, and I’ve been able to bring some of these “aha” moments into my job and my school work. All in all, I’m quite proud of this 100th post!

On another note, grades are up! I’m also proud of this first semester in grad school, since I tackled one of my weaker subjects with success! I ended up with an “A” in Consumer Behavior, “A” in Financial Accounting, and “A-” in Managerial Accounting. Based on the graduated scale for calculations at UTD, my GPA for the semester is a 3.86! This puts me slightly ahead of my graduating GPA in undergrad, and I’m hoping to continue this trend for the remainder of my MBA. However, statistics and finance will definitely be more challenging, but I’d like to stay right around the 3.75-3.8 range if I can. I start my summer courses next week, so I’m excited to continue my progress on the road to graduation!

So, exciting times on the blog and the real-world this week! Websites going live, grades posting, blog milestones… what’s next? Let me know what you’ve accomplished lately, it’s kind of fun to brag once in a while 🙂

The Power of the Peer

Bright blue and white print dress
Symmetrical print and great length!

Dress: Ross

Heels: Alfani Step ‘n Flex

Earrings: NY & Co.

Like the outfit? See more details here!


I was debating about even trying this dress on when I found it at the store. My husband was with me, and he really wanted me to try it on, but I just couldn’t do it. Enter my mom and my sister… who not only convinced me to try it on, but ALSO convinced me to buy it! Marketers take note of the power of the peer.

From what I’ve seen, heard, and personally dealt with while shopping, it seems that most women prefer to shop with at least one other person. We like to have someone to give feedback, and sometimes we WANT to be convinced to buy something that’s slightly out of our comfort zone. Men seem to be the complete opposite, with an “I’m on a mission” and blinders attitude that results in quick, fruitful shopping trips. However, men seem to pay heed to peers in other areas, like electronics or cars. This seems pretty stereotypical, but I’ve seen my husband scour forums for information on amps, keyboards, and video cards, eliciting information from others who’ve been in his position.

Marketers already know about the power of the peer, and they’ve taken steps to create entire brands around what the collective peer group finds attractive. This brand identity is carefully crafted to not only make a customer feel like they fit into their immediate peer group, but also helps them come back to the brand by fitting in with the larger peer group. This is why brands can’t be everything to everyone all the time, since people gravitate toward those who are “like them.” There’s also aspirational brands, which seek to help customers fit in with a peer group they would like to be in. It’s the reason that celebrity and athlete endorsements are used in advertising; to make the customer feel like they are peers with that person, since they use the same brands. Entire store concepts and industries flourish around the power of the peer, with elaborate dressing rooms and lunch spots, to take a quick trip to the store from mundane to shopping excursion with the girls!

I’ve seen the power of the peer in my own life, and I know it works! What are you doing to encourage the power of the peer as they interact with your brand or retail location? How are you shaping the collective peer group that your brand represents? By getting the attention of the peer, you’ll up your chances for getting the attention of the customer! Like the outfit? See more details here!

Go Live!

I just had a thrilling first in my career… managing a website go live! I’ve been on this project for almost 4 months now, working with a third party programmer and an internal team to get the final product, a brand new website, pushed out. It’s been a long time coming, and I was excited to push the “go live” button. So, a few things I’ve learned from my first go live…

Glitch-free? Yeah, right! Things will go wrong, no matter how much testing and editing you do prior to the release. There’s a few things you just can’t know until you release the site out into the world. Being married to a software development engineer, I know this logically in my head, and I know that problems on the live site do not indicate total failure. However, it’s hard to combat the failure feeling when links are breaking on a site that’s out in the real world.

Your on-site programmer is your best friend. Due to the afore-mentioned glitch problems you are sure to encounter, your on-site programmer is your best friend! My IT guy helped me work out problems as I encountered them on the fly, which was tremendously helpful and comforting. He was just a chat window or quick walk away, meaning that any issues we faced could be fixed in real-time. I highly recommend maintaining a strong working relationship with your IT personnel, as they are invaluable in today’s technology-driven world.

Your highest priority is not everyone’s highest priority. I’ve been heads down on this project for several months, and I was just sure that my mass email about the new live site would result in an onslaught of feedback. Simply untrue, as my highest priority is not everyone’s highest priority. Again, I know this logically in my head, but it’s a little deflating when only a handful of people share my enthusiasm about the culmination of this HUGE endeavor. This is also important to remember when thinking about your on-site IT/programmer… his schedule doesn’t automatically prioritize my website go live! I made sure that he was going to be available to make on-the-fly edits, and that for the few hours immediately following go live, my priority became his priority. Again, I highly recommend planning for second or third place, and making sure that you inform the key personnel about when you’ll need them at the drop of a hat!

It’s been a crazy week, and it’s only Tuesday! I’m still soliciting feedback from my team and other external users (a big thanks to my husband, for instance!), but I’m proud of the work I’ve done on this project. It’s been a great learning experience in project management, software and technology, and cross-functional teamwork, and I’m excited to turn my attention to the next website overhaul on the docket.

Finally Friday!

Welcome to Friday, it’s a good day! I’m on pins and needles to make a huge transition to a new website for work, and I can’t wait for the light and free feeling I’ll have once the site goes live. How am I coping with my pent-up anticipation? Internet articles of course! Here’s a few that have helped take my mind off the pending insanity:


For the marketer, via Forbes: Disney and GM Genius

For the social media fiend, via The New Professional: How-To Guide: Facebook Friend Lists

For the techie: Microsoft Buys Skype

For the MBA student, via US News: 2012 Graduate Business School Rankings


Like the links? Follow me on twitter for links and blog posts all week long!

Comparative Pricing

Jersey dress with knit blazer for the office


Great length and neckline


A little sassy for non-work events!


Dress: Ross

Pumps: Alfani Step-N-Flex

Knit blazer: don’t remember, but they’re everywhere these days!

Earrings: Silpada

Bracelet: NY & Co.

Like the outfit? Click here to see more details! (We went a little picture crazy on this shoot, check out some random poses/facial expressions!)



This is another dress from Ross, and it fits the breezy, jersey dress that I’m loving for the summer. For those unfamiliar with Ross, it’s a discount store that offers name-brand styles at a lower price than the department stores. Competitors include Marshall’s and TJ Maxx, and I’m sure most regions have their own version of these types of stores. It’s always hit or miss in terms of selection and store atmosphere, but I’ve had great success in the past few months at the Ross just across the street from my office. One thing that Ross does on ALL items, is show the “Compare At” price, just above the substantially lower “Our Price”. As I’ve just completed my Buyer Behavior class, I’ve had comparative pricing on the brain, and this dress gave me a little push to write a post on it!

Comparative pricing is often ambiguous, as it generally doesn’t say where the “compare at” price comes from. Is it the suggested MSRP, the retail price at another store, or just some random dollar amount to make the “our price” look better? Part of me falls into the trap that the comparative amount is completely founded, and it does make me feel better about buying the item. But let’s be real here…. there’s a little marketing hype in this, as it’s highly unlikely that this EXACT item is currently selling elsewhere for triple the price. Granted, sometimes things go on sale because they have limited quantities, or they’re out of season. For Ross, it seems like it’s usually the former, as there’s only one dress in one size. Thus, a department store doesn’t want to carry a single piece in a single size at a single location, since it can hurt customer expectations of variety and availability. However, for stores like Ross, customers expect that they can’t find it at another Ross, and that there’s only one size.

All the pondering about why an item is priced one way at Ross and another way elsewhere is less important than what the comparative pricing does to a customer subconsciously. At first glance, in spite of the most logical argument to the contrary, our brains see the lower price and categorize the item differently. By giving you a benchmark, no matter how off-base or unfounded, the marketer for that retailer has effectively made the customer question their initial price point and evaluation of the product. It’s just like marking something for “sale” or calling something a “good deal”. Sure, most people will investigate it, but at least you’ve given them cause to further consider the product. Sometimes, the extra minute that someone thinks about the product is all that is needed to convince them of a sale.

I try to be wary of my fellow marketers’ mind tricks with “compare at” pricing, but sometimes, a piece really is a good deal! My recent jersey dress purchases from Ross have proved versatile, easy, and functional, and I don’t feel bad about the price tag either! Like the outfit? Click here for more details!