Groupon: The Good, The Bad, And The Risky

After describing how Groupon ruined her group-ohm, Just Ask a Woman CEO and Founder Mary Lou Quinlan continued the discussion with radio host Jim Blasingame on his show, The Small Business Advocate, where she dissected the whole truth about social networking, word of mouth, and Groupon: the good, the bad, and the risky.

Didn’t get a chance to tune in? Check out the segment below.
(And don’t miss the first part of the segment HERE!)

Want more insight? Catch up with Mary Lou’s previous interviews HERE.

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Whose Word Of Mouth Can You Trust?

Just Ask a Woman CEO and Founder Mary Lou Quinlan joined radio host Jim Blasingame on his show, The Small Business Advocate, where she dissected the whole truth about word of mouth, social networking, and transparency in marketing.

Didn’t get a chance to tune in? Check out the first part of the segment below.

Want more insight? Catch up with Mary Lou’s previous interviews HERE.

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Facebook, LinkedIn, And Little White Secrets

Half Truth: Women divulge details of their lives via ubiquitous social media outlets and opportunities to share.

Whole Truth: Women divulge only the details that that portray them in a chosen light.

Do women really keep secrets anymore? In this culture of confession, with Oprah as high priestess, why would anyone keep a secret when telling them is so easy? In a real-time, digital, Twitter world, where every private thought can be broadcast in a split second, are today’s women just more calculating about what they reveal and what they conceal? How many women post their most flattering (if out of date) pictures on Facebook? Ever read someone’s supposedly accurate profile on Match.com?

The Whole Truth is that women share those secrets, online and off, that portray them the way they like to be perceived and support the personalities they aspire to. Conversely, they safeguard the secrets that damage that image.

Secrets don’t have to be damaging. They can be ‘little white secrets.’ Ask a beauty marketer how many women play down their sins of self-inflicted sun damage while bragging that they wear SPFs all the time. Ask a pharmaceutical marketer how many female consumers promise compliance, yet double down on dosage based on their own doctoring. Ask a furniture marketer how many women claim to have modern, simple taste, yet actually fill their houses with overstuffed furniture and knickknack collections?

You say you don’t keep secrets? Is there a small blip on your resume that seems to have been deleted? Was there an event in your life you’ve never confessed to your spouse? Ever eat a cookie in the bathroom? Keeping secrets is something we learn to do when we are as young as three or four years old. Holding some things inside is part of human nature.

So if you think women don’t keep secrets from you, you’re in for an awakening. We’ve certainly exposed more than our share of them.

Want to learn more about half and whole truths? This post is straight from our book, What She’s Not Telling You: Why Women Hide the Whole Truth and What Marketers Can Do About It. Read the first chapter online HERE, and grab a copy for yourself from Amazon.

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It’s Not About Anger… It’s About Ego

Half Truth: Women are demanding customers.

Whole Truth: Women don’t like retailers who take advantage of their perceived reticence.

Women, who may be mild or diplomatic under most circumstances, will whip out their evil twin when it’s time to duel with errant sales and service people. When we’ve asked women to describe their identities as shoppers, they are proud to claim their power. As one woman told us, ‘I’m a ‘you’ve got one chance to screw up’ shopper.’

Another woman we interviewed demonstrated her revenge technique on a salesman who made her feel he was too busy to take her call. In what was clearly an oft-repeated performance, she mimicked her best imperious voice, as she raved at the hapless receptionist, ‘You tell your boss, this is an escalated phone call, use that word and tell him I want service right now!’ As the other women in the group applauded, I could see her relax into the knowledge that this story only got better with the telling, securing her place as queen of customer

Marketers of services faced with an irate customer like this can figure out whether her anger is real or manufactured by starting with the magic words, ‘You’re right. Now, how can I make this better for you?’ Play to her ego; all she’s really wanting is the respect she deserves and to not be seen as the cowering, customer chump.

Want to learn more about half and whole truths? This post is straight from our book, What She’s Not Telling You: Why Women Hide the Whole Truth and What Marketers Can Do About It. Read the first chapter online HERE, and grab a copy for yourself from Amazon.

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Going Green Is Great, But Will It Lead To Sales?

Half Truth: “Green-ness” is a crucial factor when women consider purchasing products.

Whole Truth: “Green-ness” is secondary–it’s more important that a product work well than benefit the environment.

Thanks to the strength of their convictions, women often make marketers think trends are bigger than they are. The green trend, for example, is a case of women being selectively honest. Women will spout their green credentials effortlessly because it presents them as more conscientious consumers. ‘I only buy organic.’ ‘My home is healthier because of green products.’ Saying you’re exclusively green or that you are scrupulously earth conscious is accurate for some, but we have found it’s claimed more often than it’s true. Women know that green is good and waste is bad, so after adopting a green behavior or two, they will start to talk as if they’re actually growing their dinner and recycling the plates, even if their only green gesture is a bottle of Method tile spray in the shower.

We don’t mean to underestimate the power of the green movement and the growing number of consumers who try to make choices that sustain the planet. Niche, squeaky green brands like Seventh Generation have penetrated the cleaning aisles of the biggest chains. But mass brands like Clorox Greenworks cleaned up by offering a dose of feel-good green clean with the silent but mighty hero name of Clorox to assure germ killing. By securing the imprimatur of the Sierra Club and others, the brand has managed to tread the narrow line between green and effective. And we’ve heard that many women are displaying their Greenworks products on their countertops, a giveaway to their badge value.

Green, organic, natural, locally grown, no matter what the language, intent to purchase is often overturned when pricing comes up. Our take on the Whole Truth? She’s ‘green-ish’ and can be more practical than purist. Women are still figuring out their green ground rules. Be careful that you don’t assume that the green game she talks will end up as cash in the register at the end of the day.

Want to learn more about half and whole truths? This post is straight from our book, What She’s Not Telling You: Why Women Hide the Whole Truth and What Marketers Can Do About It. Read the first chapter online HERE, and grab a copy for yourself from Amazon.

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“Marketing Extraordinaire” Jen On Green Living, Whole Truths, And Winning

The internet is full of tips to make going green the easiest, most enjoyable, most socially responsible thing you’ll ever do. So why hasn’t everyone done it already? Jen has been all over the news lately, shedding light on the new consumer pattern of “greenish,” a more manageable version of the decidedly virtuous and increasingly attainable green lifestyle.

In an interview for Green Prophet, Jen notes that the pattern of “greenish” behavior on part of the consumer is a result of perception, availability, and cost. From her interview:

You note that one of the solutions is to become “greenish.” Can you explain this to our readers?

I wouldn’t say being Green-ish is a solution but rather that it is an inevitable truth for real women living in a real world.  Women want to do the right thing by their families and their environment but have to make daily compromises because of their financial resources.  Green products generally cost more so women will prioritize the areas in her life where they are the most important.

What, in your opinion, is so hard about going “green”? Is this a marketing failure? A government failure to provide adequate resources to make smarter choices, or is this good ol’ fashioned laziness?

I think it comes down to cost and quality.  Do organic cleansers work as well as the ones filled with chemicals? Not usually.  And even if they did Americans have been trained to associate the smell of products like bleach with cleanliness and with the absence of that sensory signal they doubt the efficacy of their green cleaners.

To read the rest of Jen’s interview at Green Prophet, CLICK HERE.

To read about why being greenish is a worthy goal, CLICK HERE.

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Why Are Insults A Side Effect Of Aging?

Half Truth: Women are resistant to aging.

Whole Truth: Women are engaging in ego protection, to build thick skins against the many insults and disrespect that come hand-in-hand with aging.

A few months ago I was shopping for sexy evening shoes, a Rorschach test for any woman’s mojo. Ballet flats are practical for everyday, but stilettos keep a woman in the game.

All around me, 20-something shoppers were picking out the most gorgeous and painful-looking styles, while I kept looking for the perfect pair of great but not too high sandals. But suddenly I spotted them. I picked up a pair of superhigh, sparkly Stuart Weitzman pumps and asked the balding salesman for them in my size. (I only mention ‘balding’ to give you a heads up where this is headed.)

He brought them out and I slipped them on (or rather tried to stuff my toes inside) and gingerly stepped to the mirror, feeling not quite like a Vegas showgirl but darn close. I asked casually if he had the next bigger size and he said no. But I was smitten, and I couldn’t take them off. I said to him, ‘Maybe I can make these work.’ And he looked at me, shook his head, and whispered, ‘When you get to be our age, you don’t do dumb things the second time around. You need to order a bigger size.’

Our age? Second time around? But I’m only . . . ! Somehow the shoes had lost their shine. Ego-shattering moments lurk just around the bend for women of every age and at every stage of life, like being asked when you’re due when you’re not even pregnant, or being called ‘ma’am’ for the first time (yes, we know it’s a courtesy, but not when you’re only 32).

In everyday life, women dodge the slings and arrows hurled their way in the form of left-handed compliments or unintended disrespect. It’s bad enough when a teen son rejects his mom’s friend request on Facebook; it’s unforgiveable when women feel dissed or underestimated by the products they buy and the people they buy from. So it’s not surprising that women adopt the coping mechanism of Ego Protection, the fourth Half Truth, to shore up their best beliefs about who they are.

Want to learn more about half and whole truths? This post is straight from our book, What She’s Not Telling You: Why Women Hide the Whole Truth and What Marketers Can Do About It. Read the first chapter online HERE, and grab a copy for yourself from Amazon.

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Mary Lou At Letters To My Younger Self, Hosted By NYWICI

Photo courtesy of maryannerussell.com

Mary Lou, you are not in charge of everyone else’s happiness. Here’s what I’ve learned. When you speak your heart and make changes and choices that are right for you, people understand.

-Mary Lou Quinlan, What I Know Now About Success

What would you write in a letter to your younger self? Author and speaker Ellyn Spragins asked that question in her newest book, What I Know Now About Success: Letters From Extraordinary Women To Their Younger Selves, and one of the women she asked was our very own CEO and founder Mary Lou Quinlan. In an event hosted by New York Women in Communications (NYWICI), Ellyn moderated as Mary Lou, along with Linda Kaplan Thaler, CEO & Chief Creative Officer of The Kaplan Thaler Group and President of  NYWICI, and Trish McEvoy, makeup artist and founder of Trish McEvoy Ltd, read their letters aloud in a moving presentation, then answered questions from the audience.

What I Know Now About Success includes letters from even more amazing businesswomen and dynamic personalities such as Barbara Corcoran, Cynthia Rowley, Bobbi Brown, Suze Orman, and Diane von Furstenberg.

To purchase your own copy, CLICK HERE.

For more pictures from the NYWICI event, CLICK HERE.

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Busy Busy: Is She Too Busy, Or Just Too Busy For You?

Half Truth: Women are too busy to spend time on themselves.

Whole Truth: Women are busy, but they’ll make time for the things they really want to do.

Over the last couple of years, we have started to notice a trend. Even the busiest women are finding all kinds of ways to play hooky by either accepting less ambitious goals for themselves or secretly doing fun stuff, like spending hours online under the guise of work.

In research we did for megasite about.com, women, claiming they are doing research for their families, admitted that they quickly drift into shopping, downloading from iTunes, playing games, posting product reviews, and just zoning out on favorite blogs and sites. If women are so pressed for time, you’d think surfing the Internet would be squeezed into the scarce wee hours. But though midnight pops for women’s online usage, the Whole Truth is she’s online all day at her computer in the office, her BlackBerry in the checkout line, checking her cell when she awakes. Interestingly, moms of young kids, likely the most time-squeezed women, are online the most.

Brands that create escapes for women find that they are only too willing to spend their time and money, when the reason is right. Look at the hours spent posting e-pinions and downloading music. How many women get intoxicated with the craft details on etsy or the product descriptions on eBay? Tripadvisor is a delicious way to fantasize about potential vacations, and photo websites such as kodakgallery have women cataloguing memories like professionals. All these activities take time women are willing to give, no matter how crammed their schedules are. Don’t assume that ‘I’m too busy’ means she is. She’s only too busy for what’s boring or unrewarding.

Want to learn more about half and whole truths? This post is straight from our book, What She’s Not Telling You: Why Women Hide the Whole Truth and What Marketers Can Do About It. Read the first chapter online HERE, and grab a copy for yourself from Amazon.

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Stress Is Not A Contest: Marketers And Martyrs

Half Truth: Women are stressed.

Whole Truth: Women are stressed, but they aren’t above playing the pity card.

Marketers recoil when women bemoan how busy they are. To many, women’s Martyrdom conjures the annoying and unappealing image of a whiner. (And that’s not the picture of the customer they want to have.) So often, when we show videos of women mired in Martyrdom, marketers get pulled into their quicksand of complaints. Additionally, this Half Truth of Martyrdom puts marketers, especially male ones on the defensive. We can tell this is happening when male clients start citing all the examples of how in their well-balanced families, men do all the heavy lifting.

As a marketer, beware of competing with women’s stress, especially if she’s your customer. As we love to say, ‘Stress is not a contest.’ Even if it were, you’ve got to let your customer win. Women can be incredibly empathetic, but they love to play the pity card, so successful marketers need to base ideas on solving stress rather than compete with it or amplify it. The first step is getting the facts, not just the feelings.

A business that’s plagued with consumers’ stress management is the airline industry, and some brands have navigated this better than others. While both men and women business travelers will trumpet the very true Martyrdom refrain, ‘I’m so exhausted by business travel,’ women, especially those with kids waiting at home, take the indignities of travel personally. Continental Airlines was the first to roll out the red carpet at check-in (in their case, it was blue) so that all Elite members, even the straggling latecomers, could bypass the long line of nonmembers. The blue carpet practically shouted, ‘We know you travel constantly, so here’s one annoyance you can take off your plate.’ They also seem to be the most aggressive about filling any empty business class seat with worthy upgrade candidates, again a life raft for a woman on the edge.

Listen to the Whole Truth behind her Half Truth of Martyrdom to learn how you can redefine your product in her terms and you may find you can reposition your current offering into a Whole Truth winner.

Want to learn more about half and whole truths? This post is straight from our book, What She’s Not Telling You: Why Women Hide the Whole Truth and What Marketers Can Do About It. Read the first chapter online HERE, and grab a copy for yourself from Amazon.

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January 20, 2019
by Mary Lou Quinlan

A look at an early production of WORK

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The God Box Goes Global!

“The God Box” has grown to include an app, audio book, philanthropic venture and solo show performed by Mary Lou across the US. Now The God Box Project goes global to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
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