Mommy Dearest

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MotherhoodGrowing up, I never played with baby dolls or had that need to nurture. I didn’t enjoy babysitting and actually didn’t really like kids! Never thought I would have kids. In 2004, Husband #2 and I decided to have one and to everyone’s shock and awe, Fertile Myrtle was blessed with twins! We hot-tailed it out of the City and moved 50 miles West to Oswego, where I felt very isolated. We were blessed with a third boy in 2007. I can’t say being a mom was easy or always enjoyable. I changed jobs and sitters and nannies and even stayed at home for several stints trying to find my happy place. My isolation worsened and so did my drinking. The kids were a trigger. My husband was a trigger. I needed to escape.

In 2011, our twins were diagnosed with Autism (Asperger’s). We needed to get them into Naperville Schools, but instead of me escaping the opposite happened. My husband and our boys moved to Naperville…without me. I saw them every week on Fridays and Saturdays. We would “camp out in my bedroom”.

On April 29, 2013 I made the decision to get sober. That was the BEST decision I have ever made. Now four years later I have an incredible relationship with my kids. They are thriving. They want to spend time with me just as much as I want to with them. I see them almost every day. Ex husband #2 and I have an amicable relationship which truly benefits our boys. They stay with me and Mr. Steve every Friday and Saturday. The Dining Room table is now where we “camp out” for meals, games, and love. And I couldn’t be happier. I am truly blessed.

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The Changing Face of Customer Value and Segmentation

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@mayhemstudios

 Meet my friend Calvin.  He’s a simple guy.  Quiet.  Reserved.  Works for his local government designing and managing websites for the Mayor’s Office, City Council, and City Departments.  He’s a graphic designer at heart and an avid twitter user (You can follow him @mayhemstudios) .  He tweets so much that he has amassed a lot of friends.  62,740 to be exact.  This following, coupled with Calvin’s kind and transparent online personality, has earned him a Klout score of 75 and a lot of perks.  Suddenly he’s a marketer’s dream.  Brands such as Audi, HP, LG, Toyota, Virgin America, and many others have been sending Calvin to conferences (both domestic and abroad),  providing test drives of cars and tech gadgets, all in the hopes that his followers will be influenced by his tweets and pictures. He was even featured on Forbes.com as a “Twitter Marketing Phenomenon”.

What is happening here?  Why Calvin?  Sure he’s popular on Twitter and a nice guy in real life too but he’s not in a luxury buying demographic.  He’s not the CEO of a sexy start-up in San Francisco either.  He can’t even afford most the products he’s been asked to test. Why all this focus on consumers who may never be a customer? What is it about having a large Twitter following that creates a feeding frenzy for marketers? … It’s their voice.

Back in September of 2010, I had the pleasure of attending Alterian’s Engaging Times Summit in Chicago.  Barry Peppers, of Peppers & Rogers Group ( @BarryPeppers) gave the closing Keynote.  He shared with the crowd a story about how for one of their clients they studied the differences between customers who had the highest Total Customer Value and those customers who talked the most about the brand positively.  They discovered that these two groups of customers were mutually exclusive.  Allow me to repeat this for full effect: The customers who evangelized the brand and the customers who spent the most with the brand were mutually exclusive. Once that surprise marinated and they looked closer they concluded that the customers with the biggest voices were actually MORE valuable than those who spent the most money with the brand over a lifetime.  Yes, your predictive models and traditional definitions for Most Valuable Customer have just been turned upside down and inside out.

Social Media has not only caused a collision between Public Relations, Marketing, and Customer Service it has redefined how and to whom we market.  What are you doing about this shift?  Have you thought about how this impacts your customer segmentation and lifetime value scores?  Will you treat online socialgraphics differently than offline demographics? Have you begun to consider updating your models to include these elements?  Have you even begun to market to online voices and evangelists?

I’m looking forward to seeing my friend Calvin next month at SXSWi.  

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This post was originally published on 2/25/11 on fifthgearanaytics.com

All photos courtesy of Calvin Lee.

Reflections On 2010: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Reflections on 2010: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

First Day of Kindergarten

Much like the first day of school the new year provides a fresh start and an opportunity to build upon what we learned during the previous year.   I learned A LOT  in 2010, both about myself,  and the world around me.  2010 was a crazy-fun-busy-scary-amazing-tumultuous year for me.  Below are the events of 2010 that were most impactful.

  • FEBRUARY: After 10 months without a paycheck, I found my dream job at San Francisco start-up Rapleaf!  By far the most brilliant and dedicated group of professionals with whom I have ever had the pleasure of working.
  • MARCH:  Attended SXSW Interactive in Austin Texas.  This is one incredible conference.  Best part for me was meeting  many of my Twitter friends face-to-face.  There is something inexplicably precious and rare about these friendships.
  • MARCH:  Turned 40. 40 is the new 20.  I don’t look or act my age, but some mornings my knees feel like I’m 90.  Finally, I’m the age of a “grown-up”.
  • AUGUST:  Terror strikes.  Diagnosed with Cancer.  WTF?!?!  No one wants or even expects to hear the words “Malignant Melanoma”.   Frightening stuff.   I was extremely lucky.  Early stages. No radiation or chemo necessary.  Surgery was a complete success.  I’m proud of my 5-inch scar.  I am eternally grateful for the outpouring of love and support from my friends near and far.   The experience would have been much scarier without you.
  • AUGUST:  My twins entered Kindergarten.  How is it possible that my babies are old enough to attend school already?  And who knew there would be this much homework already?   My little men make me proud every day.
  • DECEMBER:  Resigned from my “dream job”.  Though I will miss my friends and colleagues at Rapleaf, both the job and the dream changed.  Time for a new chapter.

Looking forward to the new challenges, opportunites,  faces, and places of 2011!

What were your big moments of 2010?

How To CRUSH Your Next Sales Call!

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How To CRUSH Your Next Sales Call: Part One Via Phone

It’s hard to believe I’ve been in sales for over 20 years ( and no I am not including lemonade stands!).  I have sold everything from men’s shoes, campground timeshares, and legal secretaries  to  custom trade-show booths, million-dollar databases, and now social media data solutions.  No matter the product or industry there are certain rules that I follow and steps that I take to ensure success.  Here are a few nuggets:

1)  Prepare the night before: Have your questions ready, your homework done, and the phone number handy.  Leave nothing to chance.

2)  Do your homework: Hoover’s, Yahoo Finance, Wikipedia, their web-site, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and of course Google.  Leave no stone unturned.  Find out everything you can about your prospect.  Know their stock price before you dial.  This should prevent you from asking stupid questions.

3)  Confirm the meeting time/phone number: Make sure everyone has the correct time zone,  dial-in instructions, etc.

4)  Smile: Keep a mirror handy so you can see yourself smiling.  Folks on the other end of the line can hear it.  I don’t care if you sat in Poison Ivy AND your dog died this morning, you will put on a happy face or you will sell nothing!

5)  Don’t Vomit on your shoes – There’s nothing worse than an obnoxious sales person droning on and and on about their latests and greatest features.

6)  Ask open-ended questions: For example, “What happens if you don’t fix this issue in 2010?”

7) Take notes: You don’t want to forget any important changes, tasks, or names.

8 )  Give THEM homework too: Make sure both sides have homework at the end of the call – Whether it’s an MNDA or a visit to your site, make sure both partis have follow-up items.

9)  Have a goal for the call: It can be as simple as a “Schedule another meeting”.

10)  Be yourself: ” Be yourself.  Everyone else is taken.” – Oscar Wilde  Most important factor in your success is to be yourself and have fun.  This is the only way to build relationships successfully over the phone.

Break a leg!

This is post #12 of the 28 Day Blogging Challenge

Photo courtesy of  chuckthewriter and Flickr

Oh My Wordle!

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Wordle: Blue Chill

Oh my Wordle! I love typography!

Do you?  Have you played with Wordle yet?  If you’re asking “WTF is Wordle?”, it’s a fun little site that arranges your word clouds  in a variety of colors/shapes/fonts.  It’s free and easy to use.

Where can I find Wordle? You can find Wordle at   http://www.wordle.net

Why do I need/want a Wordle? There are several applications for using a Wordle.

  • Blogging: Once you save your Wordle to the Gallery it provides HTML code for you to insert into your blog.  The image is small so bear that in mind (see above).  When creating your Wordle you can insert the text from a single blog  post, or type in your blog URL to pull text from all your posts.  You can dedicate an entire page to Wordles!
  • Logos: By typing in your name, title, company name, and what you do, you can create a fun logo.  You can change the colors, background and font or keep selecting Random.
  • Birthday Cards/Holiday Cards: Type in the person’s name and words that describe them or how you want them to feel.  You can weight certain words in the Advanced Functions to ensure they appear larger in the finalimage .  You can print right from Wordle too.
  • Brainstorming: Need a fresh take on a BORING brochure.  Cut and paste the text into Wordle and see what jumps out at you as far as ideas.

The sky is the limit as far as applications for Wordle use.  Let me know how you use it!

This is post #11 of The 28 Day Blogging Challenge

Flowers or Tweets? The Dichotomy Of Valentine’s Day

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The Dichotomy of Valentine’s Day

My apologies for the blurry picture but I took this myself with my Blackberry this morning.  Can you believe that Necco hearts have a Twitter reference now??!?!?!?!?!

Valentine’s Day has never been a very important holiday in my house, both growing up and now.    I’m a little  torn because it can be so commercial.  1 billion cards mailed each year. That’s second to only Christmas!   I made handmade valentine’s for my kids .  Not sure if they liked them better or not than the Hallmark cards they received in the mail.   I don’t expect or want a box of chocolates (Have you SEEN my ass?!?!  LOL!) and flowers are stupidly expensive on this day.  Make no mistake I LOVE getting flowers (Especially pink roses!  Hint Hint…) but not on Valentine’s Day.

My take on Valentine;s Day is this: Tell the people that you care about that you do and how much.  You  don’t even need to spend a fortune on cards ($4-$10 each! Ouch!).  Now you can Tweet, Facebook, or Text Message the people you love and adore and spread Valentine cheer at virtually no cost!  I found myself posting Valentine tweets and Facebook messages and feeling like this was “normal”.  It felt great to spread cheer to those of whom I could not be present.  So perhaps like the Necco hearts, Valentine’s Day is embracing social media.  Chocolates and flowers may cease to exist IRL as V-Day gifts.  The new “generous” is spreading the love over bandwidth.

This is Day 10 of The 28 Day Bogging Challlenge

Oops! I F*%$#d Up: How To Deal With Setbacks

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So here I am on day 11 of the 28 Day Blogging Challenge and I’ve already missed two deadlines.  Zoinkers!  Time to throw in the towel?  Quit while I’m ahead?  Hell no!

When you experience setbacks you need to do 3 things:

1)  Re-evaluate the situation: Why did the setback happen?  Was it an anomaly or is it likely to happen again?  How will you succeed next time?  In my case, I started a new job, was working 12+ hour days, and traveling thousands of miles.  When choosing between working, sleeping, and blogging, it was the latter that usually lost.  Aret hese anomalies? No, this pave will continue

2)  Create a plan to move forward: Make the necessary adjustments and plunge ahead.  Anticipate future setbacks and roll with it.

3)  Move forward: Don’t get discouraged.  Keep your chin up and think about why you are on this path.   The fruit of your journey will be even sweeter if there were obstacles you had to overcome.

So am I continuing the 28 Day Blogging Challenge?  Absolutely!  Am I making adjustments to ensure my success?  Damn straight!

This is Post # 9 of the 28 Day Blogging Challenge

Photo courtesy of A U D E and Flickr