Somebody's Lying.
Expect the Unexpected: Surviving the Social Media Tsunami

An Open Letter to Rhonda Shasteen: CMO of Mary Kay

Eyes on the world Dear Ms. Shasteen,

First let me say that I love Mary Kay cosmetics. And, I am a big fan of Mary Kay, herself. What a superb role model and inspirational figure she was, in her day. And, in keeping with the honesty of this blog, I should let readers know I once was a Mary Kay consultant -- which I don't want to talk about. This letter is about the future of Mary Kay on the web.

After reading the interview by Beth Negus Viveiros in the January issue of Direct Magazine, I knew I had to write this letter. Here's the thing, Ms. Shasteen - the article says, "Top priority this year? Creating an online social network for the sales force, Shasteen says. When that's done, the company will focus on building one for its customers."

This is exciting news. I've been wondering for three years now when Mary Kay was going to make that positive leap into social media. I know that today's women (especially the Mary Kay market) are online more than offline, and if you don't have a way for them to connect to you - no, really connect, NOT just email an "info@" message - they get frustrated and even annoyed. A social media network for consultants is a big plus, and thinking about one for customers is okay...but...I wonder if jumping on the social media networking band wagon should be your focus right now. Mary Kay Ash

Because the Mary Kay brand is so powerful, and so well respected (despite some of the naysayers - the brand is enduring and the products are exceptional), you would do well, IMHO, to consider a blog. Yes, beyond the social networks you're need a blog.

Why a blog? Because we want to talk to the folks in charge  (we being ME and the hundreds of thousands of other women like me)- to hear from YOU and the other executive staff. We want some information on what it's really like to work at Mary Kay headquarters, and how you decide on new products, and what you believe the latest trends in skin care are. We want a personal relationship with YOU, not just with each other and our consultants. When you consider that women are the majority of online shoppers, and we are eager to connect with brands, it just makes sense for Mary Kay to have its own blog.  

Yes, I know it's a bit of a leap for the executives of such a powerful brand to actually talk to their customers online but it's happening now, and CMOs need to get on board instead of dragging their feet. Blogs are not like the Wild Wild West, despite what you may have heard. Blogs are conversations - and bloggers build connections with and for brands, every day. In a myriad of ways. From the young women of the SAHM group (stay-at-home Moms) to the WAHM (work-at-home Moms) to the Savvy Aunties and baby boomers, the opportunity to create exciting and positive relationships via a blog - is staring you in the face - now. Social networks are a good idea, but a blog is a great idea.

Really. We want you to blog.

Most sincerely yours,
Yvonne DiVita


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Rhonda Shasteen

Yvonne --

Just wanted you to know that today my executive colleagues at Mary Kay agreed I should be blogging. I've already put the wheels in motion, and should be in the blogosphere very soon. Stay tuned!


Great post! Social networking is SO important and it's important that businesses learn to incorporate it into their marketing. I think that a direct selling concept like Mary Kay's would thrive by incorporating some form of social networking.

Lena L. West

I'm not a fan of Mary Kay products, but I respect the HELL out of Mary Kay Ashe and what she built. I agree that they need to start with a blog rather than a social network (for any constituency) - and I think it's awesome that they're already listening! Rock on, Yvonne!

Yvonne DiVita

@marianne - we can see if Rhonda is open to talking to a professional blogger - there is a comment here from her (at least, it appears to be from her; I'm accepting it at face value).

@Mary - glad to hear you agree. Mary Kay, as a brand with such historical presence, should be open and authentic and approachable online, as they are offline.

@Rhonda: WOW! If that's really you, I would LOVE to talk with you about your blog. As a blog consultant, and someone intimately connected to the women's market online, it would be such a delight to work with you on creating a truly successful blog - within the corporate requirements at Mary Kay.

Thank you all for stopping by. Lip-sticking is here to help you. Tap into me, and my guest authors, any time.

Rhonda Shasteen

Enjoyed reading your letter to me. I have been talking about a blog for about a year now, and think that it will come to pass very soon. I thank you for the encouragement and I will share your letter with the other execs here at Mary Kay who will be a part of the decision. Glad to hear you're a fan of our company, we appreciate you!

Mary Gallagher


What a great idea! I love Mary Kay Ashe, was once a consultant, (that I also will not speak about) and have lost touch with my contacts to purchase Mary Kay cosmetics. So, that would be a lovely solution. A way to connect again, online, at my own convenience. Thank you for speaking for one customer who'd like to see this happen.
best for now,

marianne richmond

They should give serious consideration to your great points...and then call you immediately to ensure that they execute the highest quality effort.

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