This week I was asked by my 9-year-old daughter's Girl Scout troop to come and speak to them on the topic of "The Many Roles that Women Play in Life." The format was a Q&A with the 13 girls. It could have been the most challenging speaking opportunity I have had. I walked away with some key lessons that have already helped me improve the way I work. I hope they will help you too.
First, the girls asked me to explain what I do in 15 words or less. Words like "chief" and "officer" and "executive" mean nothing to them. Neither do words like "marketing," consumer intent," or even "ROI." The answer I went with was "I help make sure the world can read whatever they want."
Rule 1: If you need to revisit your elevator pitch, test it out with a focus group of 9-year-olds. Seriously.
Next, they asked me why I chose the profession I am in now. And did I choose to do this when I was 9 like them? Wow. Tough question because digital publishing did not exist when I was 9, and who in the fourth grade wakes up and wants to be a marketer? Oddly, I wanted to be a teacher when I was 9 and realized as they asked this question that being a marketer is like being a teacher - focused on engaging people, exciting them with what you have to say, and getting them to trust and build a relationship with you.
Rule 2: Stop reading this for a minute and think about what you wanted to be when you were 9, and why. Then see if those core principles apply to what you are doing today. If not, find a way to introduce them into your work. They are what you are passionate about - and your performance will increase 20-fold when you allow your passions to drive your efforts.
Then came the hard question - the gender question. I was asked if what I do as a woman can be done by a man, and if, "once you are old" you are treated differently if you are a woman than if you are a man. After wanting to cry for being called "old" (joke), I answered the only way I knew how to. By letting them know that what matters is how well you do your job, and that is all that matters.
Rule 3: We only get one shot at life. In life, some things are fair and others are not. There is no sense getting upset over it. Focus on making your effort the best it can be and the rest will take care of itself.
A final question came through. When did you get your dog? What day and time? Weird question, right? I asked the girl why she asked me that. She told me that anyone who is very important has a dog and she was curious to know if you become famous as soon as you get the dog, or if you have to have it for a few years. I must admit, being told I was famous was a nice way to end things.
Rule 4: Get dog and become famous. Or, in adult terms…perception is everything. Take the time to focus on the details in order to ensure your brand identify matches one of success.
There were many other questions throughout the event, but these few really stood out to me. I hope they can also inspire you. A special thanks to the troop for inviting me in.
Know your Ambiguous Customer: Effective Multi-Channel Tracking
Wednesday, June 5 at 1pm ET - Learn why a move from the "batch and blast" email approach enables better conversations with your customers.
Register today - don't miss this free webinar!
Jeanniey Mullen is global executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Zinio, the world's foremost digital publishing products and services company, and home of the largest newsstand. She holds the same roles concurrently for VIVmag, the world's first exclusively digital luxury women's magazine. Renowned as a pioneer in e-mail marketing — the nascent stage of the digital marketing revolution — Mullen has employed her penchant for building active and engaged communities by architecting processes and systems for delivering exceptional customer service and relevant content across multiple media. She is widely credited for her pivotal role in ushering in a new era of digital marketing communications.
Founder and current executive director of the Email Experience Council, Jeanniey has broadened her reach to master the social, mobile, and digital publishing and advertising industries. Today, she brings this extensive experience to bear in her role as the public face of Zinio and VIVmag, defining and implementing strategies to build partnerships with publishers, brands, and consumers. These initiatives command monumental growth for both companies. She is an accomplished author with two books to her credit, as well as a regular columnist for ClickZ. Mullen is a frequent and highly sought-after speaker at digital marketing, e-tail, and publishing events around the world.
June 5, 2013
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT
June 20, 2013
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT