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The Dog Usually Wins
Working Moms
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March 2010
ADM logoIt's Almost Spring! 
While the winter has been, well, wintery, I am consoled by the realization that Spring is a mere three weeks away. Not that I haven't witnessed snow storms in April (no kinehuras, please!), but the chances are small.
This month, we are trying something new: a guest contributor. It's not that I'm lazy. Last month, Carol Greenwald, President of Marketing Partners, spoke at IABC-Long Island about emotions and decision making. Her presentation resonated with me, and I thought she could express one of her key points better than I could. My thanks to Carol for taking the time to trim a one-hour presentation to a couple of hundred words--a talent in and of itself.
Additional thanks to Carol Simas of Pinpoint Sage, Inc., for providing the secondary research for the article on Working Moms.
Happy St. Patrick's Day to my friends of the Irish persuasion, and to those who become Irish on the 17th!
The Dog Usually Wins
Decision-Making Is Not Simple 

What dog? Wins what? This dog is an avatar for the parts of the human brain that control emotion. Traditionally we have thought that these parts of the brain are really only important when choosing a girlfriend or crying at a movie. Turns out that the dog is an important component of all decision-making because strong emotions boost attention and memory.

The two-brain solution.

When we make decisions, the dog [i.e., the amygdale, hippocampus, thalamus] confers back and forth with the prefrontal cortex where rational decisions are made. For example, the cortex - seat of willpower - may want to wait to make a key financial decision in order to get a better financial return, while the dog wants to act immediately. Much of the traffic between the two brains is devoted to this kind of tug of war. And very often, the dog wins that war; the emotional tug could be a desire for status, youth, comfort, beauty, sex, love, or meeting some unfilled perceived need.

WIIFM - what's in it for me?

What this means for communicators is that we need to talk to the heart so the mind will follow. Leaders inspire people to succeed. To communicate successfully, paint pictures of what the decision under discussion looks and feels like. Focus on emotions (benefits) - what your audience can achieve or aspire to - rather than on features and capabilities.


Carol Schiro Greenwald, PhD., MarketingPartners,, is a marketing and business development consultant who helps clients increase their profitability through targeted communications to the right people. Her skill set includes strategic planning and coaching.

Working Moms
The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same 
I recently finished Mika Brzezinski's book "All Things At Once," which focuses on her struggles to "have it all." Brzezinski is a working mom--one of approximately 21.6 million in the US. Unlike most, Mika has a high-profile career as co-host of "Morning Joe" on MSNBC. However, like many other working moms, she worries, almost obsessively, about whether she is doing right by her children [and in spite of having, by her own description, one of THE MOST supportive spouses imaginable]. In fact, a recent study by the American Psychological Association shows that women are more likely than men to experience stress over money, family responsibilities, and family health but [here's the AHA moment] LESS LIKELY to experience stress about work demands.
Hence, my subtitle. In spite of the fact that working mothers have lifted the standards of living of their families to unprecedented levels, they continue to be the "psychological parents," the proverbial Atlas [albeit in drag], carrying the emotional weight of their families on their shoulders. Here are some illuminating facts about how working moms benefit their families:
  • Household incomes of working moms are nearly 12% higher than the national average: $81,900 compared with $73,400.
  • They spend 16% more on groceries than the national average: $140 per week, compared with $121. This, in spite of being 46% more likely than the average adult to use coupons!
  • They spend more on all clothing categories, including 14% more on childrens' clothing, 10% more on infant clothing, and 4% more on men's casual clothing.
  • Nevertheless, they are value shoppers, showing a preference for Old Navy, Target, Kohl's, Wal-mart, and other value-priced retail outlets.
Working moms are better-educated, as well, being 15% more likely than the average adult to have post-graduate degrees. This is very important for marketers to know. Don't "dis" or dismiss working moms! You insult or misrepresent them at your peril. They are savvy consumers who are the true multi-taskers. 
So, what else is new?? Another book I recently finished is "We Two," by Gillian Gill, about Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Victoria was a working mom well before it was fashionable. In fact, it was quite UNFASHIONABLE in the mid-19th century, especially for women of her class. She had nine children [without the benefit of epidurals], and although the government was mostly run by her ministers and Parliament, she still had a major part in running an EMPIRE! And her children turned out [mostly] quite well--even one son who was a hemophiliac and lived to the age of 31, married, and fathered 2 children! Yet she struggled with her dual roles and the many demands placed on her. Just like Mika and millions of other women in America.
Upcoming Events
March 18, 5:30pm-7:30pm
The International Association of Business Communicators kicks off the Spring with a networking event at 300 Long Island, a really fun venue with bowling alleys, good food, and of course, great company!  Visit for more information; you can also register at
March 10, 8:00-10:00am   
SMPS-LI features "LEED for Healthcare--Rx For Success" at its monthly meeting. This informative program focuses on "green" building trends in hospitals, presented by Neil Rosen, Project Directory for North Shore LIJ Healthcare System. The meeting will be held at Milleridge Inn, Broadway and Jericho Turnpike, Jericho. Go to for more information and to register.
March 10, 6:00-8:00pm
If you are in Manhattan, or care to travel there, The New York American Marketing Association is offering "Best Practices in Multicultural Research & Marketing," with a panel of experts moderated by Adriana Waterston of Horowitz & Associates. This event is being held at the NY AMA offices at 116 E. 27th St., 6th Floor. Go to for more info.
March 16
The Small Business Summit 2010, featuring Seth Godin, Adrian Miller, Ellen DePasquale, and others, is an all-day affair which offers great presentations and even better networking opportunities. Go to for more information and to register.
This practice is dedicated to helping companies become knowledge-driven, rather than assumption driven about strategic and tactical decisions concerning lines of business, branding, communications, and various marketing activities. For more information about how we do this, case studies, frequently asked questions about marketing research, and testimonials, please visit our web site:

Ann Middleman