Marketing 101

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Big Dicks

Players: Mark McLuhan, (Cindy Sue) first year college student and marketing intern at Little Miss Muffin, Inc.; Ms. Helen Pennyworth, owner and president of Little Miss Muffin Inc.; Carol Winters Vice President of Marking for LLM; Susan Evans, Product Manager of LLM; Julie Pennyworth, sister to Helen and professional dominatrix and practicing nurse. Tracy Manchester, Mark’s School Advisor; Hazel Worthington, dress designer for LLM. Terry Weathers and Barbie Sinclair of Flash Bang Studio.

Synopsis: Little Miss Muffin has been selling upscale dresses for little girls since 1958. Sales were nearly flat last year. Ms. Pennyworth, owner and president of LMM has discovered, thanks to her sister, a new market she believes can raise those numbers again. What Ms. Pennyworth needs now is someone to help her tap into that marketing. Of course, if you’re going to start selling little girl dresses to guys, you’re going to need a guy to promote those sales? Mark, Ms. Pennyworth believes, is just that guy.

Helen Pennyworth’s introduction to business101 began in a meeting one day with her staff as she said: “If you put up a sign telling people you sell dresses, that’s called advertising! If you walk down the street wearing one of those dresses with a sign, that’s called promotions. If, as it happens, you’re a guy in that dress and walking down the street, that’s called publicity.

“If you get to explain why you are a guy wearing a dress that’s called public relations. If you can convince another guy that it’s something he should be doing, that’s called marketing. If that guy buys one of your dresses, that’s a sale.

“Lastly, if you can get a bunch of guys to buy a lot of your dresses and do so at a profit, that’s called a new business.”

Mark wasn’t there when Ms. Pennyworth gave that overview to her staff.

The story behind those words began on a Saturday just past the first few days of Spring. Mark had been asked, by Ms. Helen Pennyworth herself, to attend a meeting she was holding. The thought of attending a meeting with the owner of the company left him giddy.

“Mark! First of all thank you for coming in on such short notice and thank you as well for giving up part of your Saturday,” Ms. Pennyworth said after inviting Mark to a Danish, coffee and finally a chair.

Mark took up a Danish nervously, fixed his coffee and sat at the other end of the large conference table not quite sure why he was there. However, knowing Ms. Pennyworth and this only by reputation, he knew he’d find out soon enough. Given that Carol and Susan were there hinted that it obviously had something to do with him.

“Not a problem ma’am,” Mark said smiling cordially, if not a little nervously. He added good morning coming in and a nod to the his boss and bosses boss. He sat and waited quietly for Ms. Pennyworth. Carol Winters, his bosses boss smiled warmly as did Susan Evans his boss. Whatever it was that brought him here it was clearly important.

Mark was an intern in the marketing department starting with LMM just a month ago. A great opportunity coming after an interview that had been orchestrated by the school. Although learning to market little girl dresses and accessories wouldn’t have been Mark’s first choice it was still marketing. Fortunately, marketing, the basics of marketing at least, was generally the same no matter what the product. And, most important of all it was a pretty fair job.

“Mark! Just over a month ago, about the time you were hired as it happens, I commissioned Carol to do a study on a small but growing segment of a new market that I believe can benefit from our product line. If I am right, this market could provide us with some fairly substantial sales in the coming months. The numbers, to put it mildly, are significant or so we believe. Significant enough for consideration at least,” Ms. Pennyworth said as she buttered her own Danish.

“Yes ma’am,” Mark said curiously, reaching carefully for a pat of butter resting on a bed of ice in a stainless steel bowl. There was a hint of him participating in something important floating within Ms. Pennyworth’s words, or perhaps just a hope. An exciting kind of hope if this meant him getting in on the ground floor of something new. To do something like that would be nothing short of spectacular. Ms. Pennyworth definitely had his attention.

“Mark, up to now our dress line and accessories… it’s successes, if you will, have been the result of our focus on a very upscale little girl Sugar and Spice approach. The extremes of that concept just for the record, and for some number of years now we’ve had few competitors. In fact, since 1958 we’ve been targeting mothers of little girls who, to put this into a little context, quite literally get a lot of their thrills from our frills,” Ms. Pennyworth noted with a smile.

“Yes ma’am, I’m beginning to realize that,” Mark said smiling over Ms. Pennyworths’ slogan ‘We sell thrills with our frills’, when Ms. Pennyworth paused. Mark couldn’t help maltepe escort bayan but notice that Carol and Susan were mostly passive with only a causal, almost imperceptible series of nods as Ms. Pennyworth talked. Obviously this was Ms. Pennyworth’s meeting.

“I’m glad that you understand that Mark. Frankly, at first at least, we were a bit hesitant taking a male into our business development group. Then again, it’s been working out for both of us I hope,” Ms. Pennyworth noted.

“It is for me ma’am. I mean it’s a lot of basic marketing and business development for the most part and I’m learning a lot. I’m very glad to have this opportunity,” Mark noted.

“It’s been our pleasure so far Mark. Remarkably and, as it also happens, this new market we’re looking at is nearly identical with regards to this very same concept or ours. That is to say that this market favors the thrills and frills as well. Perhaps more so which is most of the reason it has gotten my attention.

“Unfortunately Mark, traditional marketing is not going to be applicable for this market. However, we do believe that there are very specific marketing channels already in place that may work for us,” Ms. Pennyworth noted as she cut deftly, daintily into her Danish. She took a small bite and patted at the corners of her mouth with a cloth napkin.

There was another pause as Ms. Pennyworth chewed her Danish. Mark, this time, only nodded as he took that opportunity and began to butter his own Danish. They were sitting on a tray over a warmer and his butter melted quickly over the fresh pastry. It made his mouth water as he took up his fork.

“Mark, our biggest issue is that this is not a traditional outlet for us. Not an outlet at all as a matter of fact, not by a long shot, so I’ve had concerns. Actually make that did have concerns till Carol provided me with a kind of overview and an idea. Frankly she’s explained a lot so far that makes this viable.

“This new market or those channels are intriguing to say the least. Intriguing and, with some amount of confidence in what Carol’s has been able to come up with, I’m prepared to push this forward to the next step and that’s where you can help,” Ms. Pennyworth said smiling.

“Me? Seriously? I mean, I’m honored ma’am! I really am! Thank you,” Mark said with enthusiasm. He’d been right! He was going to be a part of this ‘whatever this was’ and he truly was honored. He was a freshman in collage and even to be interning with a company this early on was almost unheard of. To help market a new product line or market would be nothing short of spectacular.

“I appreciate that Mark, I really do. However, don’t thank me just yet, at least not till you’ve heard it all. Frankly it could very well be more than you’re willing to take on,” Ms. Pennyworth cautioned.

Mark saw the slight frown and sensed Ms. Pennyworth’s apprehension, concern even. It could be she worried over his youth. His youth and perhaps believing his lack of experience might be a hindrance. He was desperate to get her past that. Mark felt she was on the edge of possibly deciding on a ‘no’ as easily as she might a ‘yes’.

Mark had to say something and did, “Ma’am, Ms. Pennyworth, I know I don’t have a lot of experience and I’m younger by a couple of years for most anyone in my position… ma’am, believe me when I say that if you give me the chance, I really can rise to the occation,” Mark said with as much confidence as he could muster.

“Of that I have no doubt Mark. Actually, Susan, in fact, has already convinced me of that. She’s very impressed with your work so far. However, it’s not so much you being capable of doing this as much as you’re willingness to do this,” Ms. Pennyworth said and added, “I actually believe you’re capable and only wish, right now, that I had as much confidence on that willingness.”

“Then allow me to say that I’m more than willing to do whatever is necessary to make this project a success. Whatever it takes! I mean that as well,” Mark said with conviction. If she was going to say no to him participating in this, whatever this was, it wasn’t going to be his lack of willingness.

“Great! Tell you what, hold that thought for a moment and I’ll finish the rest of this before turning it over to Carol,” Ms. Pennyworth said.

“Yes ma’am,” Mark said feeling good that he’d been able to at least convince Ms. Pennyworth to still consider him. Obviously Ms. Pennyworth wanted him specifically, but clearly she harbored doubts. Mark was not going to let this opportunity slip by.

“Mark, this is all going to sound somewhat odd so I’ll ask you first to simply trust me my reasons for asking. I will explain all of this in due time. So, first things first. Mark, have you ever heard the term: ‘Adult little girls’ or ‘adult baby girls’?” Ms. Pennyworth asked.

Mark mulled the words over trying to remember if he’d heard those terms and not sure he had. He didn’t want to sound naive, but mamak escort bayan he also wasn’t sure if he understood the context either. Adult and little girl or adult and baby girl, at first blush at least, sounded like contradictions in terms, but obviously not. Mark decided to be safe and said to her question, “No ma’am, I don’t think so, or if I’ve had, I don’t remember.”

“Well, that’s OK, because up until about eight weeks ago neither had I. To put this bluntly, there are adults, both men and women actually, who enjoy dressing up as little girls and some, to a lessor degree even as Baby Girls. A few like to dress as both and surprising as it may seem gender doesn’t seem to matter,” Ms. Pennyworth noted.

Mark sat there a little surprised and most of that over those terms being associated with males given that those terms were Little Girls and Baby Girls. Obviously, it was fetish orientated or seemed to be. If that was true then it meant clothing and that, given what had already been said, gave a little context to Ms. Pennyworth’s mention of a new market.

Given those terms and market issues, Mark was sure that his company was considering those people as a potential market. Mark, thinking about marketing and product issues, realized immediately what some of those issues could or might be. Mark hoping to score points nodded with a great deal of interest on his face.

“Your thoughts on this so far?” Ms. Pennyworth asked.

“Interesting. So the only real difference, I mean for us to sell our product into that market at least, would be mostly changing to larger sizes? I mean if these are adults and they like the styles that is,” Mark said and added, “and obviously it would mean moving away from our traditional marketing strategies.”

“That’s a very good point. Excellent! Very astute of you Mark and yes, sizes will definitely and obviously change. Remarkable, our styles do not need to. Actually, if what I’ve read so far is accurate, we shouldn’t change anything at all in regards to our styles. Those styles would, as they are now, be our greatest product strength,” Ms. Pennyworth noted happily.

Mark was thrilled that he’d caught on so quickly and that Ms. Pennyworth had noticed. He now had a context for this meeting and perhaps his role in this. Clearly Susan was going to head up or be part of this project and he, as her intern, would obviously be helping her.

Mark’s heart pounded in his chest at the thought of actually getting on the ground floor of launching a new product into a whole new market. Mark’s resume flashed across his mind. He would be miles ahead of his class mates.

Given that market or that it would be adults made it just as clear that there were manufacturing, distribution and promotional issues as Mark thought about it. Mark realized that launching a product in this market place would have significant issues for that launch to be successful. He considered some of those in silence given the nature of an adult customer base.

Mark understood just as quickly why Ms. Pennyworth didn’t want to mix that part of the business with the other part. His mind was spinning over the difficulties of such a business, but the thrill of participating had taken hold of him. He simply had to be part of this, he mused, as he worked on his Danish.

“Covert,” Mark said out loud but actually not meaning to. Mark had been thinking about the adults as a market and what difficulties might manifest themselves. One of those issues would clearly be sales and distribution. Obviously men did not shop for little girl or baby girl dresses openly. Not if they were already meant for adults. He was thinking out loud. Clearly the men and most likely women as well would need to shop discretely, covertly.

“What?” Ms. Pennyworth asked when Mark spoke that word but not adding anything else.

“Sorry! I was just thinking about what you said,” Mark answered and added, “about the uniqueness that is. Uniqueness, in this case I suppose, would really translate to some amount of secrecy… as in covertness…”

Mark paused realizing he wasn’t sure his comment worthy of the meeting at this point added, “I’m sorry, I was just thinking out loud.”

“No, please, go ahead and finish that thought,” Ms. Pennyworth said.

“Well, I’m guessing those people that do this are doing so covertly, you know, hidden? I mean they most likely are very secretive or even closeted perhaps. Like I said, I’m just thinking out loud,” Mark said cautiously, not wanting to overstep his place in this meeting.

“Excellent Mark. Mark, you’ve got a good grasp on some of the problems we might face in taking this on,” Ms. Pennyworth said and added, “As you might imagine, it would no doubt require some relatively new marketing strategies…

…obviously a lot of new channels of advertising, sales and even some new methods of distribution given that men definitely, and women most likely, are not going to want to be too public ofise gelen escort buying from us.”

“Definitely,” Mark said as he mused over the issues of a guy dressing as a little girl or baby girl. Mark was beginning to catch on. He was a guy! As he thought about it he thought about how odd it would be trying to buy clothes not meant for a guy let alone something so juvenile. Just trying to understand girl’s sizes had confused him for a time here when he first started.

Mark was the only guy in their marketing department and when he started he had no idea what most of the terms or words meant. He had to learn a lot of new stuff working here like bodice, gore, self slipped and so on. Given what he had to know he could just imagine what it might be like trying to buy just a regular dress in his size while not letting anyone know it was for him.

Mark’s forehead gave him away, wrinkling some showing that he was thinking of some of the ramifications of this as he added, “It would be a very difficult market I would imagine.”

“Yes, it would be. As you can see, there are clearly challenges here and we’re not sure of all the challenges, so yes there are some difficulties to face. Clearly, we need more research! More marketing data… Lots more and it has to be relative to both males and females but mostly those males. The reasons seem obvious, but even in this area we’re just not sure,” Ms. Pennyworth said.

“I’m not sure I follow you,” Mark said about Ms. Pennyworth comments on those reasons being obvious.

“Girls to a greater extent could buy our dresses in their sizes. A girl getting a dress, even a little girl’s dress or baby dress in the mail isn’t going to be as odd as a guy doing the same,” Ms. Pennyworth noted.

“I would say that was a given. I mean there are all sorts of difficulties. Even about how they might purchase such things let alone wear them. Sizes too since I myself had so much trouble at first,” Mark said again and of that he had no doubt. Only another guy could gather that information from a guy but then again even that might not be true. He wasn’t sure yet how he’d do that but he was now sure why he was there. He was a guy and they wanted him to do the research.

“Then, as you have obviously guessed, it’s clear… very clear that we need that information. Information we believe can only be gathered by a guy. Mark, it’s abundantly clear it’s not your typical information gathering either. Truth is we’re going to need some very unique information that goes well beyond those basic marketing questions.

“Yet, as you’ve come to know in the short time you’ve been here, we also need those basic questions answered as well. Obviously there are some odd notions and, most likely, some deeply rooted psychological forces at work here, but as customers they are going to have the same issues as any customer,” Ms. Pennyworth said.

“That’s for sure! I mean no doubt of that ma’am,” Mark said feeling more confident that he was contributing to this at last as he added, “The complexities of this could almost be daunting.”

“Exactly! That’s exactly right Mark, and I can see now why Susan likes you,” Ms. Pennyworth said and added, “so you can realize now why that research itself is going to require some extraordinary methods and, for the most part why I’ve brought this up with only a little context so far.”

“Of that I have no doubt,” Mark said becoming more at ease with this conversation and glowing over the complement. It made him want to say more as he added, “you can’t ignore how odd it would be for adults to do this sort of thing in the first place. It’s pretty apparent that to understand some of the reasons behind this would be key to marketing to those people. On the other hand, it would also be Marketing 101 at some point.”

“You are right again Mark. Mark, what we really need is someone capable of first understanding those marketing basics, which you do, but more importantly we need someone willing to place themselves into these people’s lives or perhaps life style as it were. At least this part of their life style. Frankly I don’t think we can even begin to understanding those drives if we don’t know basically what it is that drive them,” Ms. Pennyworth said.

“I would say that too is also a given,” Mark said echoing Ms. Pennyworth’s comments. He was sure the information could be gathered but not sure yet how to go about it. He was getting excited over the challenges this posed and more so that he was actually being considered for part of the team. A large part of the team as he thought about it.

“I’m glad you believe that. I glad you’ve gotten a grasp of this, but from what I’ve gathered from you’re managers here so far that is pretty typical of you. Since that is the case then allow me to note the most importantly part of this and why I’ve been a little vague on some of it….”

Ms. Pennyworth paused for a time and the room went silent. She was looking at Mark but she wasn’t seeing him as if she was formulating the next part. Mark sat silently.

“Mark, it is my belief, and the consensus of both Carol and Susan, that the only way we are going to reach these people, and get data we can trust, is if we make this attempt with someone actually posing as one of them,” Ms. Pennyworth noted.

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