Interview with Heather Morgan Shott of Meredith's Mixing Bowl Social Network Community


New social networking communities seem to be on every virtual corner these days. Marketers understand that social media can be a powerful strategy that supports niche or segmentation marketing. However, when brands build out communities it's obviously a business decision that has incurred significant resources - including dollars.

I wondered how do they integrate marketing objectives, while ensuring that the "social" aspects,  the heart and soul of the community, are authentically and transparently developed and nurtured? When Chris Kieff offered the opportunity to interview one of his Ripple6 client's from Meredith Corporation's recently launched Mixing Bowl, a food and recipe community - I said yes!

Mixing bowl About Mixing Bowl

Editors touch every piece of content that exists on our branded sites. We post recipes after they’ve been triple-tested in our kitchens, write how-to articles, and so on. We don’t run Mixing Bowl that way because we want it to be a site created by home cooks for home cooks.

I’m (Heather Morgan Shott) very present on Mixing Bowl (my username is CoolCookie), and my profile page states that I’m a Mixing Bowl editor, but I’d never censor conversation or edit content. I’m there to answer questions as well as contribute to the community just like a typical member would by posting my own recipes, sharing my opinions, and joining groups. From a business point of view, Ripple6 offers advertisers access to a very sophisticated and extensive analytics system.

Heather morgan shott  About Heather Morgan Shott

I'm the Senior Food Group Manager for the Better Homes and Gardens Network, which includes five websites. On Mixing Bowl, I mix it up like any member might--but if there’s a functionality problem I’ll address it.

For example, we had some members who were unhappy with the way in which our contest application worked when we first launched the site. Entries were randomized so members started having problems finding the recipes they wanted to vote for once lots of recipes were entered. They started posting their complaints on the site, and we responded very quickly by tweaking the system so that the entries were static.

Suddenly ‘thank you CoolCookie’ threads started to pop up. Of course lots of people worked to resolve that issue, but I’m the person that the community knows is listening to them, because I’ve established a very visible presence on the site. When I’m not working, I’m cooking, restaurant hopping, drinking wine, shopping, or hanging out with my husband. We live in New York City.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Mixing Bowl is not only a new social media community but a new brand for Meredith. That said, Meredith’s reach with women is wide and established. How did you use those assets to help build membership and promote the site?

We’ve been working with all of our magazines and websites to promote Mixing Bowl. American Baby, Fitness, Family Circle, and Better Homes and Gardens, for example, have all created groups that tie to specific departments in their magazines. Ladies Home Journal features questions and answers from Knowledge Bowl in each issue. We have another magazine that will be sponsoring a contest on Mixing Bowl this summer. Online, we’ve been promoting Mixing Bowl in newsletters. We’ve got lots more to come; this just marks our very early efforts.

Toby/Diva Marketing: There are other social networks that focus on food and recipes. What is Mixing Bowl’s point of difference? Why would I want to join and spend time on Mixing Bowl versus another community?

Heather Morgan Shott: By filling out your profile, Mixing Bowl can deliver a totally customized experience just for you. For example, if you check off quick and easy, desserts, and cooking for kids as your interests, we'll bubble up all the recipes and groups that mesh with those interests. So we’re offering a vastly different experience than you get on other sites where you log in and see everything that everyone else does, and you literally have to wade through hundreds of pages of information to find what’s relevant to your life.

Toby/Diva Marketing: The quality of online peer-to-peer relationships builds over time. How is Mixing Bowl encouraging and nurturing “community” among with its members?

Heather Morgan Shott:I’m dazzled by so many of the people in our community, and I meet new, amazing members every day. When we launched Mixing Bowl, we tried to start things on the right note by inviting some incredible content creators, such as past winners of cooking contests and bloggers, to get in the mix early on. None of them were professional cooks but they all had a certain level of expertise in cooking or baking, so we knew they’d be able to provide high-quality content. We also knew that they had the kind of passion and enthusiasm that we wanted to foster on Mixing Bowl.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Mixing Bowl is a very rich platform, built by Ripple6, that offers multiple ways for people to contribute their favorite recipes and as we love to say, “Join the conversation.” At this early stage in its development which areas or groups are getting the most activity? 

Heather Morgan Shott: There’s no question about it, our community loves to bake. We have an extremely rich Ethnic category, with 16 groups covering a range of different cuisines (Chinese, Colombian, Mexican, French, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Parsi, Persian, Polynesian, Puertorrican, and so on); in this category many of the group leaders are actually based overseas, so they’re posting truly authentic recipes. We’re also seeing tremendous growth in areas that we’d expect—quick and easy, healthy recipes, desserts, and entertaining.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Has that surprised you?

Heather Morgan Shott: So far just what we hoped would happen has happened. Our goal was to engage home cooks who specialized in specific topics. What better way to learn how to cook Indian food than from someone based in Mumbai? Who better to get baking pointers from than an owner of a boutique bakery?  Who knows picky eaters better than moms raising kids who are picky eaters? These are real people with real solutions and inspiring ideas.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Since this is part of Meredith’s business strategy can you tell us what constitutes success?

Heather Morgan Shott: Our goal is to continue to grow membership on We’re extremely pleased with where we are right now, and we will continue to work to develop an even richer and more robust community.

Toby/Diva Marketing: How concerned is Meredith with, let’s call it “traditional website metrics?”

Heather Morgan Shott: Page views and unique visitors are extremely important, but our top goal is bringing in new members.

Toby/Diva Marketing: I was watching a video where Dan Hickey, Vice President, Digital Conten, discussed marketers (advertisers) participating within the community to add value. Can you give us some current examples and tell us how Mixing Bowl ensuring transparency?

Heather Morgan Shott: Toby, we’re still working on this. We haven’t really rolled anything out yet… We're cooking up some great stuff, and I can't wait to tell you about those efforts once we've rolled them out. Check back with me in a month or two.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Understanding that the site has been live only a few months, what are some of the lessons you’ve learned at the start-up of this venture?

Heather Morgan Shott: In a community, it’s extremely important to be involved, to mix it up with your members. It doesn’t work to just build a community and then abandon it. You need to listen to what they’re saying and you need to respond quickly. You need to show you care, or they’ll go somewhere else. It’s also critical to be flexible and be willing to change something that isn’t working.

Toby/Diva Marketing: At its heart, or in your heart, what is your vision for Mixing Bowl on a long-term basis?

Heather Morgan Shott: We want to become the largest community food site out there. We’d love for it to be the number one destination for everyone who loves to swap recipes and join cooking groups. And we’d love to continue to draw in more members from overseas so that we truly become a place for cooks from around the world to connect.

Heather Morgan Shott On Social Media
It’s thrilling, and I can’t imagine life without it. Oftentimes content isn’t all that exciting until people actually start talking about it – and that’s why social media platforms like Mixing Bowl, Twitter, and Facebook have become so central to our lives. They enable us to take one thought or idea and connect about it with hundreds of others, regardless of where those people are in the world. We gain multiple perspectives, oftentimes from people whose views are vastly different from ours, and in turn our own thoughts and ideas become much richer.

More About Social Network Communities From Diva Marketing

Diva Marketing Talks, BlogTalkRadio, with Liz Strauss & Nancy White

Interview with Nancy White

Diva Marketing Talks About Social Media Sponsored Conversations With "Auntie" Melanie Notkin and Scott Monty


Diva Marketing Talks is a live, internet radio show.  30-minutes. 2-guests. 1-topic about social media marketing. Why? To help you understand how to participate in the "new" conversation without getting blown-up. Miss today's show? You can pick it up as a podcast or listen on your computer.

Today's Diva Marketing Talks explores the impact of social media sponsored conversations from both sides of the virtual fence: brand and content creator.  "Auntie" Melanie Notkin, founder of the innovative community for aunts, SavvyAuntie and Scott Monty, Global Digital Communications Ford Motor, discuss the impact accepting money or products/services can have on social credibility. We'll also talk about where blogger relations and pay per click fits into the picture. Question: Are social media content creators the new NASCAR drivers?

Topic for March 19, 2009: Do Sponsored Conversations Make Social Media Content Creators the New NASCAR Drivers?
Time: 7:00p - 7:30p Eastern/ 6:p - 6:30p Central/ 5:00p -5:30p Mountain/ 4:00p - 4:30p Pacific
Call-in Guest Number: 718.508.9924


Auntie_Melanie_Notkin_laptop_2_97061859 Melanie Notkin is the founder and CEO of, the first online community for cool aunts, great aunts, godmothers and all women who love kids. Before launching Savvy Auntie, in July 2008, Melanie was an interactive marketing and communications executive for global Fortune 500 companies, including New York Times Digital and American Express, as well as L'Oréal.

Melanie is a regular panelist on the Strategy Room on and a contributing editor to Toy Wishes Magazine. She and Savvy Auntie have been featured on NBC, CBS, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, The Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, The Charlotte Observer, Huffington Post, Mashable and TechCrunch, among others. was ranked as one of Springwise's Top 10 Entreprenerial Ideas of the Year (2008) and Melanie was recently named a Heeb Magazine HEEB 100.

Find Melanie at Twitter Blog SavvyAuntie and of course on the SavvyAuntie Community

ScottMonty Scott Monty describes himself as a "Renaissance Man."  Although he is a marketer and communications professional focused on the digital industry his career spans a number of industries from healthcare, pharma, biotech, travel, automotive, tech, to communications. Some of Scott’s past clients include American Airlines, Audi, Starwood Hotels, IBM Healthcare & Life Sciences, Boston Scientific, The Coca-Cola Company, Millipore, Motorola and Kraft Foods,

Scott is currently the head of social media for Ford Motor Company, where he holds the title Global Digital & Multimedia Communications Manager.  While his role is based in the Corporate Communications area, he is a strategic advisor on all social media activities across the company. From blogger relations to marketing support to customer service to internal communications and more, social media touches many facets of Ford business, and Scott is there to ensure it is consistent across all of them.

Scott is an active blogger and podcaster. He writes about issues relevant to the intersection of advertising, marketing and PR at The Social Media Marketing Blog and also writes The Baker Street Blog, a literary undertaking. Scott has been featured in numerous news and business publications, on a variety of podcasts, and on national television. Scott is a recognized thought leader in the social media industry and frequently speaks at industry events. Scott received his Master's in Medical Science from Boston University's School of Medicine concurrently with his MBA from BU's Graduate School of Management.

Find Scott at Twitter, The Social Media Marketing Blog  The Baker Street Blog,

Tips From The Diva Bag

Complements of Auntie Melanie Notkin

1. Trust is something you earn. And it's the most valuable asset you have. Deserve it or fail.

2. As a company, you can't wake up one day and decide you are going to be authentic and transparent. It has to be something you were born with. And if you weren't born with it, apologize and be authentic and transparent about your journey to authenticity and transparency.

3. Social media and digital media enable us to be transparent and authentic. The minute you hire an intern to tweet for you is the minute you give the steering wheel to a student driver. From another country. Where they drive on the other side of the road. You'll never make it back home

Complements of Scott Monty

1. You know the phrase from Glengarry Glen Ross , "Always Be Closing"? Forget it. Instead, your mantra should be "Always Be Listening." Thanks to the open nature of the web and the ability for any one of us to create content, we have the ability to track and understand what they're saying about us. Listening is the first step to providing value for your community. If you know what they're saying and what their expectations are, you're well along the way.

2. Give your community a unique experience. Most likely, you work in a market where you're competing for your customers' attention, whether you sell consumer packaged goods, consulting services, or technology. If you can create an opportunity for them to learn or get something from you that no other competitor can offer them, they'll remember you better and come back for more.

3. Be human above all else. Let people know that there are real people working for your company, whether its a small business or a multinational entity. If you can let their personalities shine through and make it easy for people to relate to them, they'll be more likely to trust you with their business.

Ad Age: A Spoof to Mad Men or A Dish To Women?


March has been an exciting month for women. The first  White House Council on Women and Girls was signed, March 8th marked International Women's Day and entire month is National Women's History Month. Helen Reddy's song I Am Women is dancing in my mind

  • I am woman, hear me roar
    In numbers too big to ignore
    And I know too much to go back an' pretend
    'Cause I've heard it all before
    And I've been down there on the floor
    No one's ever gonna keep me down again

And then there is the January 19, 2009 issue of Advertising Age, one of marketing's most respective trade publications. Seems to me that Ad Age has turned the clock back on the position of women in advertising with the cover of it's January 19, 2009 issue.

Ad age_3  

This was the third time Ad Age selected an A-List that recognizes ".. that success in today's agency landscape comes in a lot of different shapes and sizes."

What I find offense is not necessarily that nine out of ten of the A-List agencies are managed by men but the posturing of Linda Sawyer, CEO of Interpublic Group's Deutch.

Take a look at the composition of the illustration. Power house men in dark suites many holding drinks appear very much the good old boys club. While Ms Sawyer sits demurely to the lower left in a sweet sleeveless shift with her hands politely folded in her lap like a good school girl. She seems squeezed out of the frame .. an after thought that off balances the picture.

Or .. did I get it wrong? Was Ad Age just having some fun spoofing one of its most prestigious honors .. the Agency A-List with an illustration based on the TV show Mad Men about advertising set in the 1960's? Did Ms. Sawyer think that her spot in the illustration was no big deal but part of the joke where she seemed more secretary than CEO?

  • Oh, yes, I am wise
    But it's wisdom born of pain
    Yes, I've paid the price
    But look how much I gained
    If I have to
    I can face anything
    I am strong
    I am invincible
    I am woman

Social Media Three For One


Life gets hectic and sometimes little niceties get put aside and then too often forgotten. VirRosestual roses and  heartfelt belated thanks to Shel Israel, C.B. Whittemore and Denise Scammon for their kindness.

On new years eve Shel Israel, Global Neighbourhoods, ended the year for me with virtual fireworks when he posted our interview in the Twitterville Notebook. Shel's notes will form the basis of his second book. The first, Naked Conversations written with Robert Scobel, has become a classic about corporate blogging. I was honored to be included in the chapter Consultants Who Get It.  Here's a question from my Twitterville Notebook interview with Shel.For more visit Twitterville Notebook.

Shel Israel:  Do you still see social media tools as part of the marketing tool arsenal or has your thinking. umm... evolved from that perspective?

Toby: My philosophy is that marketing is the doorway to the customer and, from that perspective, social media plays an important role in reaching and keeping in contact with a brand’s community. However, I’ve seen companies such as Zappos, Comcast and Dell successfully use social media to support customer service so perhaps there are more “homes” where social media can reside than in marketing. I think customer services should be a part of marketing but that’s another topic for another day. In addition, technical support reps have been blogging for many years yet another residence for social media.

One of the lessons that I’ve learned is social media initiatives have the best chance of success if there is a champion who is responsible for the implementation and also understands and believes that social media is a new way of conducting business. Social media not only influences the way we interact with customers but with people within the enterprise. Developing cross silo communication processes are critical to ensuring that information derived from on-going listening and talking with customers reaches the right internal people. Equally important is letting customers know they have been heard and responding appropriately.

What I’d like to see is social media holding a place of its own at the c-suite table. I envision a Chief Social Media Officer who helps orchestrate the initiatives; where the position is structured more as a jazz leader than a classical conductor. If you know of any organization looking for a “social media jazz leader” let me know!

C.B. Whittemore, Flooring The Consumer, included me in her thought provoking New & Old Social Media Series. I join Mack Collier, Ann Handley, Steve Woodruff, Amber Naslund, Lewis Green, Laurence (Lolly) Borel, Susan Abbott (with more to come!) talking the new conversations in blogs, Twitter, social networks and so on. Here is a a preview of one my answers; for the rest click over to Flooring The Consumer.

C.B.: What 5 suggestions do you have for companies to implement so they can more effectively bridge old media with new media and connect with end users?

1. Begin with a plan that includes goals and success measures. Don’t be afraid to include success measures that are outside the box of traditional metrics. As you build that plan consider how you can use social media to support current old media/traditional strategies. For example can you extend an article in an eZine with a blog post to carry on the conversation in greater detail?

2. Develop a budget that includes dollar and people resources. Build your programs to take into consideration human capital to support the implementation. If you don’t, not only will you be frustrated, but you will fail before you hit the publish key.

3. Understand the limitations and the benefits of the tools, or tactics, before you consider implementing. Listen and watch the rhythms of the social elements (blogs, vlogs, social networks, Twitter, etc.) you are considering before you create your social media strategy.

4. Determine if your target audience is involved in that specific platform. Then if they are listen to their conversations within each of the new media avenues that you want to explore. How are your customers using the platforms? The best Facebook strategy will fall flat if your community is not involved.

5. Bring all the people who will be involved in the project around a table for a strategic “red flag” conversation. The up front investment will save you dollars, time and tears.

Sun journal You never know where social media will take you. Denise Scammon's comment on a Diva Marketing post led to an opportunity to contribute to the SunJournal's special section Women's Journal. My article - Expand your business network through social media was written to help people new to social media understand how simple it is to incorporate blogs, social networking, Twitter, etc. into a busy schedule.

A few tips to help you jump-start building your digital relationship network:

1. Explore a few social networks. When you build your profile, to prevent spam, consider using a different e-mail address from your business or personal e-mail. The following Big Three networks have become the core platforms for many business professionals.

LinkedIn is focused on business networking, making it an ideal first step into social media.

Twitter allows only 140 characters per message or "tweet." Organizations are using Twitter for customer service support, public relations conferences and rapid response answers to questions.

Facebook offers the option to create personal pages and group pages for brand "fans."

2. Don't feel obligated to follow/friend everyone who knocks on your virtual door. Sometimes less is more. Take time to read profiles to help you determine who you want to be a part of your community.

3. Participate in discussions in the same way as you would in the off-line world. Be yourself. Let your personality come through in your words, on videos or in a podcast interview.

4. Adding value to the conversation will reward you faster and better than a continuous stream of promotion about your products or company.

The results: you'll develop a global network that you can tap into for resources, information, support, advice in which you can control where and when you meet-up. Don't be surprised if the connections you make turn into real friendships that lead to off-line meetings!

31 Social Media Networking Communities For Women


Social networks .. they're not just MySpace, Facebook or even Twitter. The long tail concept comes to life in the hundreds of thousands of niche communities that are exploding on to the social media scene.

Friends hugging fundraiser blog A soon-to-be-talked about new venture sent me on quest to explore what was happening with women and social networks. I discovered that when it comes to dishn' with your virtual girlfriends the communities are as diverse as well .. women! In addition to communities for moms, the focus ranges from cars to sports to business to age and status to cultural niches.

1.Multi-Tasking Women - Kyle Young created a community that empowers women to embrace and celebrate ALL the facets of their lives as a unique whole.

2. - Heidi Richards Mooney's focus is helping women do business online.

3. Ask Patty - Jody DeVere created the first community to help women learn about cars.

4. Diva Tribe - Jennifer Thompson launched this community to encourage women to work together to better themselves and live to their full potentials through reading, writing, and creativity. - Canadian community celebrating women over 40.

5.Wowowow - site for women founded by a team of celebrity friends Joni Evans, Liz Smith. Mary Wells,Peggy Noonan and Lesley Stahl.

6. AOL Living - AOL's version of community for women.

7.iVillage - A division of NBC Universal iVillage was established in 1995 and is positioned as the #1 online destination for women.

9. Hitched! -  Founded in May 2003, by Jacquelyn Corbett Cyr this community's focus is on the women of Canada.

10. Kirsty - social media "sharing/voting" platform.

11. Savvy Auntie - Auntie Melanie Notkin created the first community for Aunts to exchange ideas, get advice, find gifts and connect with other Savvy Aunties.

12. Alpha Women - The "coffee shop" of the internet is a blogging community launched by Freda Mooncotch.

13. Divapreneur - Supporting women who own small businesses to network and learn together.

14. Boudica - Lorna Harris had an idea of a social news site for women. Community members are encourged to submit news stories,  information and web sites.

15. HerProBlog - Mona Weathers launched her community to help women bloggers from all walks of life, all levels of blog publishing understanding, and desired income earning goals to create and maintain professional blogs.

16. BlogHer - Founders Elisa Camahort, Lisa Stone and Jory Des Jardin focus is to create opportunities for women who blog to pursue exposure, education, community and economic empowerment.

17. Single Minded Women - A community devoted to the needs of single women of all ages; founded by Allison O’Connor.

18. Jane Out of The Box - Michele DeKinder-Smith has developed a community created exclusively for women entrepreneurs.

19. EmpowHER - Michelle King Robson  is the founder of a community where women ask, share and connect to enhance each other's health. 

20. WESeed - Jennifer Openshaw developed this social-networking site to help people get into the stock market.

21. Built On A Woman - A blogging community that positions as a source of practical information; posted by women, for women; founded by Shelle.

22. Solo Lady - Lea Lane launched this community for single women of all ages.

23. Ophra's Oprah's - online community.

24, Divine Caroline - Women are encouraged to publish their posts and articles on this community founded by Kate Everett Thorp.

25. Damsels In Success - A blogging site for professional women founded by Harleen Kahlon.

26. Women in Bloom - Allison Allen created this community to inspire and support women to ‘bloom’ in mid-life.

27. Black Women Connect - Social community for professional Black women developed by Connect Platform.

29. Tango Diva - Teresa Rodriguez Williamson and Patti Mangan built this community for women to share solo travel experiences, ideas and questions.

30. Femme Fan - Ivette Ricco, decided the time was right to provide the female fan a place on the web that covered sports from the female's unique perspective.

31. First Wives World - Debbie Nigro, founder of First Wives World has created a support group for women in different phases of life who are moving "beyond divorce."

11-24 1:15p note: it is an error that this post will not accept comments.comments are open. sent typepad a help request and am waiting for their response. if you have additonal communities you'd like to add to comments please let me know or check back in a few. thanks!

11-24 1:56p note: have not heard frm typepad but comments are working. please ignore the message that says comments are closed and just post. thanks.

11-24 6:35p note: all should be fine. thanks for your patience.

Adding more as I find them.

The Sister Project - network of blogs about the many facets of the word sister, and the concept of sisterhood.

Wellsphere - Women's health community

WomenBloom - inspiring and supporting women to make the most of mid-life

Midlife Bloggers - Women bloggers in midlife

Motrin: A Case Study In Social Media Marketing


Subtitle: Motrin's  We Feel Your Pain Ad Campaign Targeted To Moms: Proof of the Influence of Social Media


Today sipping my morning coffee I clicked into Twitter and was intrigued by a tweet from @chrisbrogan.


What I found was a video that was apparently an element of Motrin's We Feel Your Pain campaign that was targeted to moms. <the link to the page has been taken down>



Script: "Wearing your baby seems to be in fashion. I mean, in theory it’s a great idea. There’s the front baby carrier, sling, schwing, wrap, pouch. And who knows what else they’ve come up with. Wear your baby on your side, your front, go hands free.

Supposedly, it’s a real bonding experience. They say that babies carried close to the body tend to cry less than others. But what about me? Do moms that wear their babies cry more than those who don’t. I sure do! These things put a ton of strain on your back, your neck, your shoulders. Did I mention your back?! I mean, I’ll put up with the pain because it’s a good kind of pain; it’s for my kid."


Surfing over to #MotrinMoms (a summary of tweets tagged with #MotrinMoms) I was overwhelmed. At that time there were 65 pages, with 15 tweets per page, or 975 posts. I can only imagine what the team at McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a division of Johnson and Johnson,Tshirt_2 must be feeling.

The majority of tweets were from moms who were Passionately outraged about the video. They felt hey and their babies were being disrespected. 

So passionate that Mamikaze designed t-shirts, mugs, buttons and bags for sale at CafePress. So passionate that Katja created a video of what she felt was should have been the message. In social media style it was uploaded it to YouTube. Before this post went live there were 2014 views.

People are wondeWarrenwhitlock_real_lesson_2ring ..


So .. I've been thinking .. if McNeil Consumer Healthcare were a social media marketing client how would I advise them?

  • First I'd say, especially to Bonnie Jacobs, VP Communications and  Kathy Widmer, VP of Marketing - McNeil Consumer Healthcare - take a deep breath and be prepared for some long nights.
  • Second I'd say "listen" to the angst of what should be the community of Motrin Moms.

Sadly, you will learn that you have lost some customers.


You will learn what went wrong for these moms and how they felt.



You will learn from women who were so upset that they took online, tweets and blog posts, offline to main stream media, advertisers and friends.















You will also learn from women who generously offered ideas on what McNeil Consumer Healthcare could have done with the campaign that would have added value and increased brand appreciation.


Laura Fitton aka Pistachio wrote a detailed post that includes a few lessons for the Motrin marketing team:

But not tuning in while you launch a new tactic borders on gross negligence, in this day and age. Rolling out a new tactic is THE most important time to lend an ear.


From Sarah Browne, Guru of New, more lessons:

The lesson here for corporate America? This didn’t have to happen. All you have to do is ask and Moms will help — with your creative, your research, your buzz.

  • Third, I'd say join the conversation sooner than later. That is the challenge.

Neither Motrin or McNeil Consumer Healthcare have a presence in social media. However, there is the Johnson & Johnson blog - JNJ BTW and the social networking community Baby Center where they could tell their story. Perhaps Twitter is an option .. if they can put people resources against it

How do you reach out to over a thousand people who have written about you? Do you invite a handful of mommies to corporate headquarters and wine and dine them? How do you determine the "influencers?" No matter who you tap there will be hurt feelings.

How do you give back to a community? Maybe you make amens by identifying moms in need. Maybe you do something Big that is Important. Maybe you ask the community's help in identifying what that should be.

The big lesson that we continue to learn

Not stepping into social media especially when a significant, vocal, powerful segment of your market .. IS stepping into social media.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change."  Charles Darwin

Update: McNeil Consumer Healthcare Responds to Amy Gates, Crunchy Domestic Goddess. Amy posted the email:

   Dear Amy -

    I am the Vice President of Marketing for McNeil Consumer Healthcare. I have responsibility for the Motrin Brand, and am responding to concerns about recent advertising on our website. I am, myself, a mom of 3 daughters.

    We certainly did not mean to offend moms through our advertising. Instead, we had intended to demonstrate genuine sympathy and appreciation for all that parents do for their babies. We believe deeply that moms know best and we sincerely apologize for disappointing you. Please know that we take your feedback seriously and will take swift action with regard to this ad. We are in process of removing it from our website. It will take longer, unfortunately, for it to be removed from magazine print as it is currently on newstands and in distribution.


    Kathy Widmer
    VP of Marketing - Pain, Pediatrics, GI, Specialty
    McNeil Consumer Healthcare

Update: 11-18-08; Kathy Widmer, VP of Marketing apologizes on the home page of Motrin. Part 2 of Motirn: A Case Study in Social Media.


A Virtual Home For All Auntie Mames!


Lego's with 15 billion pieces, paint sets with glitter, cell phones for 5-year olds, drinking 553 pots of pretend tea and hours of playing video games, eating ice cream before, during and after meals, trips to the zoo, Disneyland and the aquarium that morph into clothes and make-up shopping trips to the mall, helping write college applications, talks about boys and girl friends and too soon creating resumes and helping to furnish that first apartment. And all the while falling more in love ..

No girlfriend, I'm not talking about parenthood. I'm talking about a world-wide unique relationship with children and their aunts or aunties. Who else would buy a Lego set with 15 billion pieces or give a child a painting kit with glitter and then with a twinkle in her eye wave bye bye telling children and parents to "have fun." Certainly not a grandmama.

In most of life's roles .. one needs a model. My own aunties are/were beyond wonderful but it was my friend "Auntie Polli" who taught me Auntie Lessons 101.  When my favorite niece Jessica Robyn (well okay my only niece Jessica Robyn) was born Auntie Polli had a 3-month head start with aunt-ing her nephew Michael.  It was Auntie Polli who lifted all limitations off Auntie-hood for me.

Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death. Hands down it was Auntie Mame, with her zest for life and her passion for her nephew Patrick, who we gave the Auntie Tiara.  We knew we were loved, we knew we had an important role to play, we knew we made a difference in the lives of our nieces and nephews. But I'll let you in a on little secret .. sometimes even with all the joy - we felt something was missing in Auntieville.

Savvy_auntie Melanie Notkin knew that too. She saw more than a group of random women, young and old, married and not, with their own children or not, and understood that there was a fragmented community that could benefit from a social networking world.  SavvyAuntie was conceived .. the first online community for aunts.

Being a savvy marketer, Melanie knew something else. She had identified an untapped niche. After months of research, careful planning, new media marketing on the Savvy Auntie blog and Twitter - SavvyAuntie opened it's virtual doors yesterday.

The site is built around four channels: Expertise, Activities, Gifts and Community.

Expertise includes dozens of content experts from children's health and nutrition to  financial planning for Aunts who want to make their nieces and nephews their beneficiaries. Activities is where you can find zillions (well a lot!) of ideas for kids on a local level.  In Gifts you can filter/sort in unique ways from your niece's  favorite color to your nephew's must have pop culture character to your own auntie personality. 

What's a social network without a Community? Auntie's can hang out here. Build a profile, write a blog post, participate in groups and forums and read other member's stories about being an aunt in Aunthology.

So now Polli and Chris and Mary and Beth and Diva K and Kaye and Auntie Barbara and whether you call your self Aunt or Auntie or Tante or ...

tante or tatie - French
hindi  - Aunty
thea - Greek.
tia i- Spanish
姑母 - Chinese
nagynéni - Hungarian
tetka - Croatian, Bosnian, Serbian
teze - Albanian
عمة , خالة - Arabic
hala, teyze, yenge -Turkish
makcik - Malay
teta - Slovene, Czech, Slovak, Lithuanian
тётя - Russian
bibi - Indonesian
zia - Italian
tia - Portuguese
леля - Bulgarian
tante - Danish, Dutch, Latvian, Norwegian, German
faster, tant - Swedish
דּוֹדָה - Hebrew
täti - Finnish
ciotka - Polish
mătuşă - Romanian
น้า, ป้า, อาผู้หญิง - Thai
amita - Latin
خاله , عمه - Persian
Modryb i- Welsh.
khal'ti - Arabic
obasan or oba - Japanese
meemeh - Yiddish

.. we now have a community to call our own. In fact, I love what Melanie has done so much with Savvy Aunties that she asked me to be on the Advisory Board.

Want to know more about the back story? Eric Kuhn, The Huffington Post, has a great interview with Melanie. 

A Shout Out To Small Business


A little tribute to small business. I grew up in a world were "the business" was like a family member. Dinner conversations included updates and news about "the business." Trips were planned with "the business" in mind. Small business is not just business .. it's a way of life. As the economy does a shimmy I encourage you to support small.

Did you know that small businesses that are leveraging the internet are doing their fair share to support economic grow? According to Paul Misener’s vice president of global public policy - sales generated by small businesses via e-commerce accounts for as much as one-fourth of all consumer e-commerce in the United States, although surveys, including the U.S. Census, tend to greatly underestimate that number. eWeek

We_directory_2 Heidi Richards Mooney, publisher and founder of the Women’s eCommerce Association, International, just released Who’s Who Directory of Women in eCommerce. Heidi says the 57-page ebook recognizes women who promote their businesses to a global marketplace via the Internet.

In addition to using the directory as resource, (the eBook includes links to women owned business from accounting to women travel) Heidi hopes it will be a catalyst for networking and creating strategic alliances.

Country_bob_2It's only fair to tip the hat to a small biz owned by three guys. Part of Country Bob's strategy is sampling. How do you sample a product on the web? Offer coupons for a Free bottle of BBQ sauce. Added benefit: a little demo information about your customers. This one may be too late for your Memorial Day cook out but try it for the Fourth of July.

Read More About Small Business
Kiplinger Small Business Advice
Small Business Trends

Friday Fun: Sex In The City & Shoes Shoes Shoes!


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.

Sitc_film Today's Friday Fun is for the Divas. The girlfriends - Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda - are back in a Sex In The City film. For me SITC means shoes shoes and more shoes. Well okay throw in Mr. Big, some great fashion, cosmos, friendship and fun in NYC too.

Meghan Cleary, aka Miss Meghan, The Shoe Therapist, is running a Sex In The City Designer Shoe Contest. Once a week, from now until the SITC opening (May 30th), Miss Megan will be giving away a pair of designer shoes. Very special is that all are women-owned luxury shoe designer brands who are taking the footwear industry by stormTashkent, Diana BroussardGoldenbleu and Eileen Shields.

"Things don't always turn out to be your fantasy that's why you need  friendships that are real to get you through it all." - Carrie Bradshaw. Divas, life can find a way of getting in the way of life. So take out your calendars or blackberries and schedule a GNO with your best girlfriends. Shoe__lainey_b_marbleMaybe, as suggested by Mary one of my dear GNO friends, a SITC movie and beverage night. Perhaps you'll even be wearing designer shoes ;-)

The official Sex In The City movie site complete with a lame blog.

Bloggy disclaimer: Meghan Cleary is a client .. and as you can imagine a very fun one!

wowOwow! with CEO Joni Evans


Wowowow_logo It's always a delight, and sometimes a surprise, where blogging can take you and who you might meet along the way.

This week's adventures in social media led me to interviewing (The Real Women of WowOWow Tell Their Stories) four amazing women - Mugsy Peabody, Iris Odonata, Suzanne de Cornelia and Suzanne Conti - who reached out to me about a post (Girlfriends Just Want To Have Fun .. Social Media Style!) I wrote about several new communities targeting women. By the way the comments are worth a click.

I felt the vintage vixens' feedback was valuable, in-depth, research for wowOwow and I wanted to help these women reach the founders. So .. I dropped an email, via the site's contact us form, with hope that it would make its way and wowOwow might benefit from their community members' insights. Joni_evans

Joni Evans, CEO of wowOwow, responded to me. Athough she declined an interview for Diva Marketing she graciously agreed to let me post our email volley where she tells a bit about her vision of for wowOwow and how she is listening to the convo. Thanks Joni .. next step is to encourage your peeps to really engage with the wow women. Btw .. still don't get why they don't oh well ..

Sidebar: Click to expand the graphics



Read more in the NYT interview with Joni Evans, Liz Smith, Lesley Stahl and Whoopi Goldberg conducted by Joan Juliet Buck who is a contributor of wowOwow.