Friday Fun: Virtual Book Tour With Mary Clare Hunt

08/25/2006

Friday Fun is Diva Marketing's virtual happy hour from cosmos to Jack to lemonade. A waiting for the weekend 'playground' time to be sophisticated-silly. Or sometimes just plain silly.

Today's Friday Fun is the Second Stop On A Virtual Book Tour With Mary Clare Hunt author of In Women We Trust

When my dear friend Yvonne DiVita, of Lip-sticking blog fame and WMEBooks, asked if I would like to review a new business book that one of her authors had recently published, my first reaction was, of course Yvonne - anything for you. After I hit send my second reaction was .. yuk a boring biz book to read when all I want to do on a hot summer afternoon is veg with a dirty martini (triple olives!) and a silly chick lit book.

In_women_we_trust Mary Clare Hunt has written an insightful book that is subtitled - A cultural shift to the softer side of business. While In Women We Trust is not a sassy summer read, it is a smart look at how women are changing the culture of the workplace, as well as, impacting how business and marketing are being conducted.

This week I had the distinct honor to interview Mary about her thoughts on how women are competing in business, changing the business landscape and about the grumblings of guys who feel left out of this new game. Mary even gives a famous quote from the Godfather a Godmother spin.

Toby: In Women We Trust, the title of your new book, to me, is an in-your-face reminder that other than the lame Susan B Anthony coin there are no women represented as a part of any US currency design.  Can you tell us how you chose the title and its significance for you?

Mary: It didn’t start with the money connection, it came after I did an informal survey of my gal pals. I asked, “If you replaced the professionals in your life, (CPAs, doctors, etc.), who would you go with, men or women?” Only a few said men, all the rest said “women.”

But it was the reasons they gave that were the most telling. They weren’t doing it to support women, or because they didn’t trust men, it was because they trusted women more. In marketing terms, that would be considered a competitive edge, which of course brings us back to money... 

Toby: One of the interesting elements of In Women We Trust is your exploration into and conclusions about the impact that  "the culture of women" has on consumer behavior and the business environment.  " .. that's why women are choosing their own culture first, before selecting a product with a heavy service component." (p32)

You also discuss what we might call the "new women-to-women competition."  "For the majority of them, the choice is between professional women." (p7).  Taking the "culture of women" into consideration, do you think that women compete differently than men and how do you see it influencing business practices?

Mary: Yes. I see it now when I’m inside an all women’s group as women try to out-network each other. Some do it by meeting everyone they can during a meeting; others will focus on a few and give away useful bits of information.

I receive many “Nice to meet you” emails or written cards after a meeting. In that light, I see business practices becoming more civilized and social. In some countries it would be considered very bad manners to talk business without first breaking a little bread and getting to know one another. I think the same will become true when it comes to working with women as consumers. Most women want to feel like they are more than just another sale to someone. 

Toby: You pose several thought provoking questions in your book. In an early chapter you ask, "What are the women able to get from female-based groups that they can't get in the mixed gender group?"  Recently I wrote a post on Diva Marketing about the layout of a print ad for Advertising Age's Women To Watch awards program and received the following comment:

Now I feel as if men are discriminated against. There you have "women networks" but nothing for men. :-)

I think that if men would create such groups women might feel discriminated. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for the "women groups, religious groups, etc" that help their own, but there is bias present when we talk about men's communities.

Do you feel that with the focus on marketing to women and the attention regarding women in business that men will try to grab back the piece of the pie that women have fought so hard to gain? How would you respond to this commenter?

Mary: Of course they will want it back. Who likes to be ignored? We didn’t like it when it happened to us for, well, centuries, and now neither do they. Go figure.

Unfortunately, the market is shifting to follow its majority buyer. Men can grab all they like but unless their group as a whole takes over the lead consumer position, then the path is set and business will follow it.

Honoring women that are making a difference or drawing attention to women’s groups or highlighting their blogs isn’t happening because business wants to be socially correct, it’s happening because that is where the dollars live. It’s not discrimination at work, its capitalism.

Fear not, there are plenty of other pies besides consumerism that men do dominate still. This one is just the most visual.

Dear Discriminated Man… yes, you are right there is a bias, but give it about 10 years and it will settle out. Everyone is just a bit freaked out over what to do in a really open society. Women don’t want to take over the world, just have their say in it. 

Toby: One of the great quotes in the book is - ".. advertising can buy awareness but it can't buy trust." (p159)  What is your favorite strategy that an organization used to gain a women's trust regarding a specific brand .. and why is it a tops on your list?

Mary: Trust isn’t a strategy; it’s a way of being. Tops on my mental list is Best Buy - not the one you see now, but the one that it’s becoming. I interviewed Julie Gilbert, at Best Buy for my blog this week.

Two years ago, she started an internal networking group for women employees called the Women’s Leadership Forum. Her philosophy is, to be a great place to shop, first Best Buy has to be a great place to work. Anyway…after I posted the interview, I sent out an email to friends and asked, “After reading this, would you buy or sell Best Buy stock”?

About 10 responded. All said that they would either buy stock, or wanted to work there. One complained about Best Buy’s service, but in the same sentence said that she would still “buy.” That says it all, doesn’t it? For her, just knowing that women are playing a bigger role at Best Buy was enough to trust that the stock was a safe pick. It wasn’t a marketing strategy when Julie introduced internal networking, but it may become one for other retailers to copy. Trust starts at the core.

Toby: I agree with you your concept of going back to the "good old days when people did business face to face."  Social media offers us the opportunity to create what I call corner grocery store relationships.'

One of the most quoted (and misquoted) lines in the Godfather is from  Michael Corleone - "It's not personal, Sonny. It's strictly business."  If you were to recast and produce Francis Ford Coppola's famous film, and call it "Godmother", what would Michele Corleone say about business? 

Mary:

“Keep it personal, Sonny or you’ll lose your business – I only protect those I like.”

Toby: Love it and a wonderful ending to a great summer biz interview! Thank you Mary. Mary Clare Hunt tells her personal story about being a 21st century cultural anthropologiston on Blogger Stories.

Next Stop On A Virtual Book Tour With Mary Clare Hunt In Women We Trust is Monday 8/28 with Kirsten Osolind at re:invention inc. Followed on 8/30 at Marketing Roadmaps with Susan Getgood. Anita Campbell of Small Business Trends talks to Mary on 9/5, then Mary goes to visit  Elizabeth Albrycht date TDB.


Astrology_14 business astrology for fun -
from The
Astro Divas
Paula Dare & Donna Page
 
If you have any projects that are tedious or detailed oriented, Mercury
enters Virgo so now is a good time to tackle them. The mind is sharp,
analytical and practical.

Then take a step back from the facts and allow the Jupiter trine Neptune-8/29/06-energy to jumpstart your creative juices to add the finishing touch. If sales are down, try a fresh new
approach. The breakthrough you’ve been waiting for maybe around the corner.

In case you're away from your computer during the Labor Day weekend, the Astro Divas have kindly given us their advice for the week of August 31!

Then Fri. 8/31/06 rolls around and you run into Saturn opposes Neptune. After all the work you’ve done, you may now feel confused and doubt whether your creation will hold water. Not to worry. Wait until the confusion disappears before you make any major decision.

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Comments

Toby - Thanks for "view" and continuing the conversation. You sure made my Friday more fun!

Posted by: Mary on Aug 25, 2006 4:31:26 PM

Thank you good content.

Posted by: Make Many on Aug 25, 2006 9:42:55 PM

Great interview, Toby and Mary!

I especially loved the quote about what you would tell Sonny Corleone.

Best,
Anita

Posted by: Anita Campbella on Aug 29, 2006 9:13:10 AM

Quite interesting interview!

I'd like to know what Mary think about the trend of 'desperate working girls' we can see in 'Devil wears Prada' and 'Ugly Betty' ?

Posted by: christelle on Sep 6, 2006 6:51:28 AM

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