My husband and I attended an Explosions in the Sky concert this past weekend, and it turns out that there was an installation art exhibit downtown as well. We walked through the exhibit, and it was pretty obvious that it was the first show for some of these artists. They were so excited when we walked under their arbor, or took a second look at their sculpture, and it was pretty cool to be part of making their dream come true. They were just happy to see someone finally considering their concept!

Then we went into the concert hall, and for an hour and a half, we watched the band pour their souls into their music. They put their whole bodies into their instruments and the music, and their love for the sounds just radiated from the stage to the audience. That’s part of the appeal of a live concert: seeing and feeling the passion and energy from performers, and the audience giving back the appreciation. It’s a cycle, where the performers and the audience feed off each other, such that neither one runs out of fuel for the evening.

So I’m back at work on this Monday morning, thinking about passion. Do I just LOVE marketing? Am I excited about my projects, thrilled that someone wants to hear my ideas, look at my ad campaigns, or experience my trade show? Do I think about it on my lunch break, or driving down the road, allowing random ideas to pop into my head, in hopes of finding brilliance? I think sometimes I get in the mind set that only “creative” endeavors warrant passion, and that surely, business doesn’t require or inspire the same level of passion that art does. But that’s a lie. If you love what you do, and you love making an impact in your own way, you’ve got just as much passion as the performers on-stage. And, if you bring that passion into the workplace, you can be unstoppable. I know people who truly love their jobs, who are passionate about their industries, and who truly get excited about making an impact in the corporate world. I’d like to think I’ve got that same level of passion for my job, my craft, and my industry. How are you using your passion today?

Happy Friday!

It turned cold here in Texas, so I’m looking forward a fall-feeling weekend! I’m also looking forward to a music-filled weekend, as my husband and I are attending an “Explosions in the Sky” concert tonight, I’ve got a 2 hour rehearsal for my show, and I’m singing on Sunday. Amid all that performing, I should probably study for statistics… but here’s what I’m reading to post-pone the studying as long as possible:


For those feeling stuck in a rut, via Study Hacks: Beyond Passion: The Science of Loving What You Do

For the retailers and forecasters, via Forbes: It’s Beginning to Look  a lot Like Christmas

For anyone doing a presentation, via Seth’s Blog: Really Bad PowerPoint (great post and applicable to everyone!)

For the marketers, via TIME: McRib Fanatics and the Amazing Power of Limited Availability


Like the links? Follow me on Twitter for links and blog posts every day!

Retail Marketing


A feisty outfit after a long absence!

Dress: JC Penney

Shoes: Alfani

Earrings: NY & Co.

Like the outfit? See more details here!

After a long absence, the outfits are making an appearance on the blog again! As I’m not a fashion blogger, the outfits may come and go in spurts, but a recent comment on Corporette sparked my interest in doing another outfit post. I read Corporette regularly, more for the comments than the actual posts. Occasionally, a “what are you wearing today” comment thread pops up, and the women will describe their outfit, shoes, and accessories for the day. During one of these threads, a commenter noted that she felt like it was a prompt from a retail marketer to get insight. While this is definitely not the case for that thread, it’s not unusual for retailers to target influential bloggers for partnerships, features, and information. It’s a great strategy that combines thought leadership, “real” marketing, and the bright (not so) new toy, social media.

First, this strategy is effective because you’re reaching a targeted audience through a credible source. The blogger is already a thought leader with strong influence over their readers, so a recommendation from this blogger is almost like a recommendation from a close friend. And, who do we believe more? The greedy advertisers with a profit motive, or the friendly blogger who just wants to help us look great? Retailers know that reaching an audience through a blogger offers mass-media effects, with much less skepticism from customers.

Second, people love to see “real” marketing, and a blogger wearing an outfit makes a bigger impact than an airbrushed model or a mannequin. How many people honestly have a model’s figure? Many people, especially women, think that they must have a model’s body to pull off an outfit, so seeing it on a real woman (or man, though the prevalence of fashion blogging is higher among women) makes them feel like they, too, could wear the outfit featured in the post. On Corporette, for example, “The Skirt” is a closet staple, regularly reported on by commenters and blog owner alike. “The Skirt” is a Halogen skirt at Nordstrom’s, with rave reviews from an influential blogger, and a backing from the whole community.

The concept of “community” leads me to the third reason this strategy is effective: social media. The ability to really connect to a brand is higher now than it has ever been. Blogs allow people to connect with not only the owner, but the wider community on the web. Thus, as a retailer, you want to plug into that community, and partnering with the blogger at the head of the community is a great place to deliver your message. Once the community embraces your brand message, it’s no longer about a corporation “selling” an item, but a community championing an item.

This post details the “why” of retailers working with bloggers, and I plan to take a look at the “how” over several posts in the coming weeks. Like the outfit? See more details here!

My Corporate Life

I’m excited to announce a new series on the blog, My Corporate Life. My goal is to bring in some other corporate perspectives and career paths, so that we can all learn from some other corporate areas and environments. If you would like to be featured in the “My Corporate Life” series, please contact me for the details. I’ll be featuring the guest posts as time permits in my regular posting schedule, and I would love to hear from you!

So, without further delay, I’d like to introduce Joe Kiszka’s Corporate Life. In addition to his day job, you’ll find Joe sharing some culinary insights on his quirky blog Dine @ Joe’s, and pursuing his MBA at UT Dallas.


What’s your title and industry?

My title is “Business Development Manager.”  I work for a global manufacturing company, specializing in electrical components.  I work most closely with three of our brands, though our “Commercial Data Communications” side:  Ortronics, Cablofil, and Wiremold.


Describe the top 3-5 skills that are most necessary in your position

-Problem Solving and foresight.  (Being able to think ten steps ahead through problems, a goal, or a plan and then execute those ten steps.)

-Communication honesty and transparency.  (Being up front a and clear about expectations and commitment, and being able to deliver that commitment.)

-Resourcefulness. (Could be a lot of things–including being able to answer any question thrown at you, or how to find and contact a person at a new target customer.)


What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?

My job isn’t that closely “defined,” so it changes very rapidly.  For example, two weeks ago, it was consistency of marketing message and working with customers.  Last week, it was communication with partners.  This week, it could be something totally different.


What’s the most rewarding aspect of your job?

This is directly tied to the most challenging aspect, actually.  The fact that my job isn’t strictly “defined.”  Every day brings a new challenge, and it can be very rewarding.


What does career advancement look like for your type of position and skill set?

I’d like to be a manager someday, though I’m not certain what kind of manager. I would imagine my current career path would go from Business Development Manager, to a Global Account Manager, to a Director of Sales for one of the business units within my company,  to VP of Sales.  As for the timeline,  it’s largely based upon success and  personal capabilities to relative other employees. As you move up the ladder, you are responsible for a larger territory and direct reports, and ultimately, the division. I used to think I wanted to be CEO of a huge company, but the more I learn professionally (and the more I learn about life), I’m not quite as sure about that.  I may still want that, but perhaps on my own terms.

What’s the best aspect of your company culture?

The general lack of politics at my current company.  There’s still some, but it seems like management has been very open, honest, and approachable about everything.


Thanks, Joe, for writing about your corporate life!

Pricing and “Deals”


A great deal on the surface, but dig a little deeper!


A bigger deal is a better deal right? I say, WRONG! I subscribe to Living Social, the daily deal site that offers nice discounts for local activities, direct to my inbox! However, a recent daily deal had me baffled on the pricing and “deal” nature of the coupon.

The deal advertises $80 to spend at Mi Piaci Italian Restaurant, on sale for $40. It does not include alcoholic beverages, so I was pretty curious to see the menu prices at this Italian restaurant. Upon clicking over to the menu, the appetizers, entrees, and desserts seemed pretty low-priced for a $40 coupon for $80 worth of food. In fact, my husband and I could both order the most expensive entree and just barely over-spend our coupon! Essentially, the coupon is over-priced for the restaurant. Why would I pay $40 for a coupon for $80 worth of food, when I could go to the restaurant outright and spend about $40 without the coupon? The goal of a coupon is to get a person to either return in the future, or spend beyond the coupon amount when they redeem the coupon. Thus, with this pricing scheme, it’s going to be hard for me to do either one! Instead, I would suggest pricing this Living Social deal at $20 for $40 worth of food, as it would encourage diners to splurge on higher-margin items like alcohol or dessert. Currently, the coupon amount allows me to order an appetizer, semi-expensive entree, and dessert, meaning that I probably won’t feel the need to order other “extras” to increase my total ticket. If, however, I had less to spend from the coupon, but still a significant reduction in my total check, I might be inclined to order a glass of wine or dessert.

“Deals” are actually a pretty complex mind-game. You want people to feel like they’re getting something great for the price of something good, but you don’t want to stifle their “need” to spend a little more. If you make the deal too sweet, you kill the desire to over-spend the coupon, which decreases your profit margin on the coupon. You also alter the anchor number for the customer’s next purchase experience, making it more difficult for you to recoup your promotion costs. I’ve seen this happen with pizza, where coupons have significantly lowered my anchor number for the cost of pizza. I never pay full-price for pizza, as there’s always some kind of promotion at any of the major pizza chains. After years of receiving $10 large, 5-topping pizza deals, I’m not willing to pay more than $10 for a pizza! In this case, my anchor number will probably be set higher. I’ll remember that my check from the restaurant came to $80, but I doubt I’d see $80 worth of value from that meal (since the prices are low), reducing the chances that I’d return to Mi Piaci when I’m in the mood to spend either $40 or $80 on a dinner date.

By mis-pricing this coupon, Mi Piaci and Living Social have effectively changed my price-point expectations, and lowered the profit-margin, as I have no need to over-spend my coupon. And, as I’m concerned that I’d be able to meet the $80 limit in one dinner, I’m inclined not to buy the coupon at all! Everyone loses in this situation, and I think a reduced coupon price for a reduced redemption value would actually better serve this whole transaction!

Friday For All!

It’s been a start-and-stop week, going from fast-pace to sluggish-pace every few days. I’ve got some Stats studying to do, and rehearsals start for “A Christmas Carol” this Saturday! I’m so excited to get back to the stage… it’s been too long 🙂 So, let’s kick off the weekend with a few good reads:


For the entrepreneurs, via Business Insider: Why Do We Praise Start-Up Fundraisers?

For those considering more education, via TIME: The Myth of the Millionaire College Dropout

For the social media maven, via The Daily Muse: Own It! What Facebook Timeline Means for Your Identity

For the less senior, via Business Women’s Finishing School: Managing Up


Like the links? Follow me on Twitter for links and blog posts every day!

Breaking the Illusion

Las Vegas is a place of illusions, but as the city never sleeps, sometimes you get to peek behind the scenes.

First, Nevada is a desert, but you’d never know it when you’re walking down the strip. It’s in the middle of nowhere, but it’s a city with literally EVERYTHING you could need or want. When you start thinking about the amount of money spent on electricity, water, shipping, and shows, it’s staggering. Entertainment like that shouldn’t be available in the middle of nowhere… and yet, it is!

Second, everything is pretty clean and well-maintained, considering the amount of people that trample on the grass, sit in the seats, and lean against the walls. Most hotels and theme parks have a “down” period, where regular maintenance occurs. There’s no “down” period in Vegas, so the maintenance occurs out in the open. I came down one morning to see a worker re-painting the columns white, lawn men pulling weeds daily, and people spraying down the sidewalks. It’s just odd, because most bigger-than-life places try to keep up the magic by doing maintenance in secret. Not seeing the maintenance makes it feel like grass and shrubs just magically stay beautiful in a place like this. It contributes to the feeling that everything is a vacation in that place. See, the sand is just ALWAYS white! See, the grass is just ALWAYS green! If only I could live in a place where no work takes place! Aside from the fact that I was on a business trip, seeing all the maintenance and work going on in Vegas was actually pretty stressful (not to mention the crowds everywhere!)

Finally, you can just see the people on the street in morning after a looooong night. Vegas gives you the sense that it’s a party all the time, but the tired eyes and looks of nausea show that it does come to an end. Yes, I did see a guy lean out the window of a limo and throw up all over the street… clearly he partied a little too hard. I’m all for a good time, and Vegas certainly delivers a party atmosphere, but at some point, real life sets in. The body can’t handle excessive amounts of alcohol, rich food, walking, sex, and over-stimulation of the sense. Even good things should be experienced in moderation! The illusion of the high life comes crashing down in the bright light of the morning sun, and I think Vegas gives people a warped sense of their limits on partying.

Overall, it was a good trip, but I was definitely ready to come home after a few days. I think I’ve had enough Vegas to last me for several years! If you do take a trip out there, I highly recommend Blue Man Group and any of the Cirque du Soleil shows. My parents mentioned that Elton John was amazing, so maybe I’ll check out “The Million Dollar Piano” when I visit next time.

Sex Sells

I’m still waffling about the title of this post, as I know the spam-catcher is going to have a hayday. However, there’s no way around this overwhelmingly obvious truth in Vegas: sex sells. And, quite frankly, that bothers me. Aside from my moral quandary about using sex as a selling tool, I feel like it’s bad marketing.

First, the moral issues. It’s disconcerting to walk down a street in broad daylight, and see people in t-shirts with a phone number and the slogan, “Girls Direct to YOU…… 24/7!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” They stand on the corners slapping trading cards of provocative pictures on their hands, and thrust them at you as you walk by. There’s trucks that drive down the street, with the sole purpose of carrying a giant billboard to advertise these women, and huge signs on every hotel boast some kind of topless review or burlesque show. I’m sorry, but I don’t think our society needs any more encouragement to have promiscuous sex, and I find it disgusting that in 2011, we still degrade women to nothing more than sex objects. I literally heard a man and a woman negotiating for women on the street. NEGOTIATING for women! Being from a conservative, Christian family in the South, I haven’t been exposed to such blatant, overt, sexual advertising. Sure, we see it in everyday innuendo and less-than-clothed advertisements, but open price discussions are unheard of where I’m from. People may disagree that promiscuous sex is immoral, but I would wager most would agree that negotiating the sale of another human’s most private possession is morally deplorable. We see stories about rape, abuse, and trafficking all over the world, but we’ve got a thriving market right here at home. We send aid and workers and police to fight the problem abroad, but pour money into billboards to advertise it in Vegas. Does anyone else find this to be a contradiction?

Second, I think it’s bad marketing to use sex to sell. What do sushi and sex have to do with each other? Why would you need to go topless to sing songs from the 1950s? Are your food and voice sub-par without that extra little umph of a naked woman? There’s plenty of places that serve great food, and put on a great show, without resorting to catering to man’s (well, humans’, but particularly man’s) basest instinct. The argument that people like good scenery while they dine or listen to music rings true… and there’s plenty of marble, paint, gold, fountains, and greenery to enhance your experience. It’s a cheap shot to make everything about sex, since it’s a strong biological imperative. People get up-in-arms about marketing to children, as they’re susceptible to all manner of suggestion. But, where’s the outrage at using sex to sell? And don’t tell me it’s because adults “know better”. Look at Axe, the company that sells men’s body products on the premise that you’ll have women throwing themselves at you after incorporating Axe into your daily routine. One story talks about a lawsuit from a disgruntled customer, who claims that he’s seen no “effect” after using the products. Cars, phones, shoes, and the list goes on, tell you that you’ll get more sex if you buy their product. We all know we’re not going to get rich quick, we’re not going to lose weight fast, and we’re not going to stay young forever, but for some reason, we all think we’ll be sexier or get more sex! These claims are equally ridiculous, but people are less likely to dismiss them. Again, let your product stand on its own merit. Am I the only one that questions the quality of the ACTUAL product when they feel they must use sex to sell?

Las Vegas knows how to sell sex. In fact, part of me wonders if they ONLY know how to sell sex, as food, shows, and other attractions are all paired with random sexy images.  The advertisement for Celine Dion features a picture of her back, in an extremely low-cut gown, with the slogan “Celine’s back”. Clever turn of a phrase, I suppose, but what does her bare back have to do with her ability to sing? Vegas has some great attractions, but I, for one, can do without the sale of sex.

Beauty and Detail

I’ve just returned from my trip to Las Vegas, and I was struck by the level of beauty and detail in each of the many hotels and shows! I’d say Vegas has one of the most successful marketing strategies in the world, and I’m going to give you a look at my trip over the next few posts.

I’m starting out with my surprise at the beauty and detail shown in the hotels. I’ve been to Trevi Fountain and the Arc de Triumph, and the Vegas replicas rival the real thing to a T. Further, the painting on the ceilings, marble-like statues, and gilt columns really give the tourist a sense of the old cathedrals and museums on the other side of the world. It’s amazing what we can do with technology today. You can literally walk down a street and see Italy, France, and New York in an hour!

As a marketer, giving people the “real thing” is a cornerstone for many campaigns… it’s one of Coke’s taglines! People return to Vegas again and again to try to find the new details that they missed on countless other trips. Many car companies, clothing retailers, and restaurants sell entire concepts and product lines based solely on their ability to provide beauty and detail to their customers.

In addition to the beauty in the hotels, many of the tradeshow booths featured gorgeous art and sleek marketing collateral. Aviation is often perceived as boring, technical, and ugly, which many companies proved wrong at the show. You can find artistic shots of engines, wings, and aircraft parts, all woven perfectly with the company tagline and benefits. I’ve been inspired to work on a new booth for one of our companies, insisting that there’s no reason to do things the ugly way when a beautiful way exists! Artistic shots of the details of an engine draw attendees in, and can make the difference between an empty booth and a busy booth.

Once again, I saw how beauty and detail bring people in by the thousands, literally! Part of the Vegas appeal is the ability to experience so many forms of beauty and detail in one small space. The desire for beauty extends beyond our entertainment, and straight into the corporate world, as the booths and marketing pieces demonstrate. Have you ever longed for a car just because it’s a work of art? Purchased a pair of shoes because they looked beautiful in the window? Marveled at the presentation of your food at an expensive steakhouse?

Happy Friday!

I’m ready to get to this weekend. After my time in Vegas last weekend, and the tradeshow that followed, I’m beat! I’ll be finishing up a paper, studying for a final, and HOPEFULLY finding time to relax. Here’s what I’m reading until I head to boot camp tonight:


For the marketers, via Seth’s Blog: “What Really Blew Me Away”

For the capitalists, via ERE Blog: 99 Percent, Capitalists, and Natural Slaves

For those looking to update their office, via The Office Stylist: Live Well at Work

For the chance meeting, via The Daily Muse: Perfect Your Elevator Pitch


Like the links? Follow me on Twitter for links and blog posts every day!