Jane reporting from home, once again. Our trip to Michigan was a great success! We will share stories and quips as the weeks go on…but we must make one comment, before introducing our illustrious Smart Woman Online interview of the week – the comment is that there is growing interest in business blogging…one which we plan to take full advantage of in the weeks to come.
Now, on to Michele Miller’s Smart Woman Online Interview. Michele became one of our fondest friends shortly after our book was published. We wrote to her to let her know that we had quoted from her marvelous audiobook, The Natural Advantages of Women, and she not only wrote back—she complimented us! We feel privileged to count Michele as a good friend, an inspiration, and a true girlie-girl; she loves everybody, male and female, and she doesn’t let work keep her from frivolity…we invite you to visit her blog, WonderBranding, and watch her video to see what we mean.
Lip-sticking: You’re such a busy lady these days, Michele, what with traveling, blogging, and keeping up with work at the Wizard of Ads, we wonder how you do it all. Experts who write on the busy-ness of women’s lives these days (we think women have always been busy) call what we do multi-tasking and say we are better at it than men. Do you agree?
Michele: Yes, busy would be the word for my life these days. This is one of those periods when I feel as though I've been shot out of a cannon and am doing my best to aim for the net! It's a fantastic time and I love each and every minute of what I am doing.
As for multi-tasking, yes… I agree that women are better at than men. There's a scientific reason for this in that the left and right hemispheres of the female brain have four times as many connections as the brain of an average male. With four times as many connections, it's a given that women are just able to take in enormous amounts of information and process them faster than men. This isn't always a plus for women…. what I wouldn't give for the ability to focus on one thing at a time like men can!
Lip-sticking: Your audio book, The Natural Advantages of Women-How We Are “Hard Wired” for Personal Greatness is one of my favorite books on how women fit into the world. What led to the writing of this groundbreaking book?
Michele: The concept for this book originally stemmed from my belief that female characteristics such as emotion, intuition and nurturing were often overlooked (not to mention stifled) in the workplace. When I began my research, timing was on my side with the advent of MRI technology and new studies being conducted that showed absolute gender difference in the brain. Finally, there was hard scientific proof that the female brain was "hard-wired" very differently from that of a man’s brain… conclusive evidence that eliminated much of the "mystery" surrounding the traits of intuition and emotion. Finally, we can truly say that, "Woman does not live by hormones alone."
In addition to the brain, the eyes of men and women are shaped very differently. The retinas of each gender are constructed so that men have greater depth perception and the ability to focus on one thing at a time; women have greater peripheral vision and the ability to see "the big picture."
Now do you see why "Mommies have eyes in the back of their head?" What a wonderful scientific element to have connected to intuition!
Lip-sticking: A great deal of text is being devoted to building relationships with women before you try to sell to them (Lip-sticking has often given that advice to our readers). In your book, you report on a study done at Emory University on “real time” social interaction, where women’s brain activity was monitored as they played a game. You described the surprising result of this research as, “…it was the perception of bonding with other humans, not the money, these women responded to. When participants played the same game against a computer, the reward behavior regions were significantly less responsive.” We realize we’ve taken this somewhat out of context, but perhaps you could elaborate on the need women have to bond and build relationships, with advice on how business owners can accomplish that online.
Michele: MRI studies are showing that because of the wiring in the female brain, women tap deeply into emotional memory and experience when dealing with everyday life - even when reading a book! With four times as many connections in the brain, the average woman is deeply immersed in absorbing as much of the "big picture" as possible. The stronger the connection, the more likely she is to take action. When a woman bonds with other human beings or businesses that represent a human quality, the "reward behavior" area of the brain lights up -- that is the same area that responds to chocolate, sex, and money among other things.
Businesses have to work harder to connect with women and maintain that connection, but once done right, it's long-lasting. Don't mistake "relationships" with warm and cuddly… when shopping online, a major part of a relationship for women is to have as much information as possible -- women are big researchers and the more you give them, the stronger the connection. In order to have a top-notch online presence, businesses also have to realize that they can't just generically market to "a woman;" there are a number of personas that businesses have to be aware of. Different women (personas) are looking for different things. Perhaps the best company out there right now that is teaching businesses how to construct websites that speak to all personas is Future Now -- their website is FutureNowInc.
Lip-sticking: Tell us a little bit about your blog, WonderBranding. What do you like most about writing it? What frustrates you about writing it? Do you consider it an important way to get your message across? BTW, what is your message?
Michele: WonderBranding has become, for me, a natural extension of my business thinking process. It's my "living business journal," and allows me to share news, views, and parts of my life with readers. Since my focus is on the small business owner, I like to think of it as a safe, fun place for learning tidbits of information that can be applied to any individual's situation. I love writing (it's a nice break from all of the ad copywriting that I do) and sharing. The most frustrating part for me is just not enough time to write as much as I'd like… I've been on the road so much this year.
Lip-sticking: Do you shop online? Tell us what you like to buy online. In fact, will you be doing much of your holiday shopping online this year? Did you do any last year?
Michele: I do MOST of my shopping online! All of my business supplies, equipment, travel arrangements, books, gifts… I rarely visit a mall or store anymore. I would say that 80% of my holiday shopping will be done online this year, which is about the same as last year. Time and money are interchangeable… these days my time is so tight that I often don't mind spending a little more for the convenience of online shopping.
Lip-sticking: We think the blogging universe is going to continue to grow and support the little guy - bringing useful, educational and informative information to him or her - despite the pundits naysaying. Where do you think the blogging universe is headed for 2005?
Michele: In my estimation, business blogging is only going to grow exponentially in the next few years; maybe not at the corporate level but definitely for small business. And with more than 50 million small businesses in the U.S., it's a wide-open door of opportunity. I think that its power comes from leveling the playing field on expertise -- virtually anyone with knowledge and writing skills can become an expert… or opinion-maker… on a topic of their choice. If you have the guts to say what you believe, provide knowledge, and share with the world, you'd be silly not to take advantage of this ground-floor opportunity.
This has been one of our most informative interviews to date. We hope you can see now, dear reader, why we consider Michele not only a good friend, but also a reliable source of information regarding the women's market. We encourage all readers to visit the Wizard of Ads' Wizard Academy and check out Michele's Marketing to Women workshop. Perhaps we will see you there, some time soon...