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Curiosity Matters

An Exploration of Branding, Design and Cultural Trends

Tête-à-Tête Tuesdays with Molly

Margaux Zion is a Social Media Consultant, specializing in interactive customer experience. She works with retailers in the Fashion, Cosmetics, and Home Products industries to make shopping as easy and FUN for people who don’t love shopping as much as she does.
When not glued to her Tweetdeck feed or Tumblr dashboard, she works as a makeup artist, painting some of fashion’s freshest faces. Follow her on Twitter @margauxz or catch the occasional blog update at margauxzion.tumblr.com for a little insight into the world of all things Margaux!
To introduce you to my readers - we met last year at my birthday party via a mutual friend but then didn't have a quality introduction until a few months ago. And it was all uphill from there.
Can you give me a brief introduction of what you do for MAC?
I am on the Online Product Team- a position that is synonymous with “mystical psychic wizard.” I use social media to assist customers with cosmetic product selection that they cannot touch or see in a physical store. I cannot see them, and they cannot see me, [hence] the mystical psychic wizardry. I worked as a freelance makeup artist and in a MAC retail store for years previous to this promotion- the product knowledge I’ve amassed in combination with my loquacious personality and savvy for social media was logical next step.
This is only what I do for MAC, though not at all what I do in my secret alter ego as a Social Media Consultant.
Talk to me about your background. You were a costumer for a Soap Opera. How in the world did that happen?
That was my wildcard career. When I was in college for Textile Science before I worked for MAC, I volunteered my services as a dresser at New York Fashion Week. My uncle, who is a Broadway Producer, caught wind, and decided I needed to be in the Theatrical Wardrobe Union. He literally walked me directly into the President’s office where I registered on the spot. The President, a well-poised, elegant woman, phoned the supervisor at the now defunct Guiding Light soap opera, and in her best showbiz voice:
“Heeeeeeey! I have a GREAT new girl here, MARGAUX! She is so ENTHUSIASTIC, and has a GREAT SMILE; you’ll just LOVE her! She just registered; she’d be GREAT for the show! I can’t talk now, but let’s do lunch! Bye babe!”
I went to work on the show the very next week, and the rest is history. This is where I decided I needed to embrace Social Media for my livelihood. I used to sit in hair and makeup in between shooting and sign the actors up on Twitter and made Facebook groups for our adventures making the television show. Then soap fans started to follow ME, and I knew I had something.
The show was very dear to me. We were cancelled last year, (ON APRIL FOOL’S DAY!) and I miss it very much. It was a privilege to work with such an outstanding group of people.
Switching gears here -what are your three favorite MAC products at the moment?
Three products I wear no matter WHAT the look, are Mineralize Skinfinish Natural, (Buffed with the #182 brush) Opulash Mascara, and Fast Response Eye Cream. I have over 1,500 individual MAC Cosmetics products in my “stock" so choosing color would be a very hard decision to make.
Over the last few weeks, we've attended a TON of techie networking events and I've noticed that you're the social media, networking, friend-making queen. When did you enter the Twittersphere? What are some tips for quality networking? And how do you keep track of all your contacts?
I just really like meeting new people. I’m a really talkative person and this reflects both in the real world, and online. Twitter is actually a very evolved form of social media for me- I used to regularly post and moderate on Ezboard communities and LiveJournals as early as 1999, and still keep in touch with friends I made then, today.
Quality networking doesn’t mean you have to reach the widest audience by talking to a million people. It means that you have to meet the right audience by talking to people who want to know more about what you already know a lot about. It's also helpful to be somewhat interesting, friendly, and approachable. This attracts people’s interest in your character, and lets them know that you’d be a super awesome/knowledgeable/hardworking member of the team. I naturally smile a lot both online and off- it's a lot like dating.
As for keeping track- I have Oompa Loompas. That was a joke. I have FIT interns. Also a joke. (I’D LOVE TO HAVE ONE, THOUGH!!!) I have a special cheat sheet and a little black book, nothing too fancy. I also have a bookmarks folder titled: “REALLY AWESOME WEBSITES” for all the new utilities I liked at NYTech Meetup, etc.
Interns... not a bad idea. Inquiring minds want to know - i.e. ME. While at the last Tech Meetup, I noticed that you often managed to add someone via Twitter, Tweet, and reference a presenters comments within the Tweet before they were finished talking. What Twitter program do you use? And how do you do this?
Haha! I did do that, didn’t I? As I said before, I am a very chatty person- tweeting instead of talking keeps me from interrupting people who are supposed to be talking!
I like Tweetdeck for personal use- it's a very easy dashboard to control my two Twitter accounts, Facebook profile, two Facebook Pages, and Foursquare account. (C’mon Tweetdeck! Integrate Tumblr and Wordpress next!) I also monitor updates with MAC related hashtags; MAC fans are pretty much really nice people, with a lot of artistic insight and brand enthusiasm. Social Media is exactly how to find conversations about things you really like and want to discuss with others.
For my professional clients, I am currently discovering Postling, a web-based social media management tool for brand management. It allows me to keep track of all my blog posts, tweets, status updates, comments, and all return correspondence. I met the Co-Founders through NY Tech Meetup and they are really smart guys with a great product.
You interact with people from all over the country. How do you think the soccer mom from the middle of Wisconsin will benefit from the technological revolution?
I think she has it better than us New Yorkers. Media consumes our space like none other. She can sit in her nice quiet SUV, waiting for the kids to come out of practice, and choose what types of media she wishes to take. She may use her shiny new tablet device to coordinate recipes and prepare dinner later in the evening, read her Cosmo mag in a digital reader, or order groceries from her local market to be assembled for pickup or delivery…. The possibilities are endless! I wouldn’t be surprised if a new wave of tech startups are designed and marketed as productivity apps by and for busy moms!
Hmm. I think you're on to something. Any developers out there DM me @missmolls. Tell me more about using technology and social media in retail. How do you think our retail experience will evolve over the next few years?
I think that phase one is over now and that most companies integrated e-commerce in the late 90’s. Many e-tailers now provide Live Chat services- a great service for shoppers who cannot experience products using their 5 senses and must rely on an expert.
With the explosion of social media, the virtual shopping experience is going to be huge; filled with rich content, more useful, personalized services. Even advertising will be smarter and less annoying because it will be properly targeted and more interactive in nature. I don’t want to reveal too much, because building the e-commerce experience is one of my current projects. My specialty is landscaping the customer experience for virtual retailers. There is so much work to be done, but most retailers understand that this dynamic shopping experience is essential to keeping loyal customers.
As far as physical stores and retail events are concerned, Diesel had an amazing promotion a few weeks ago, inviting traffic into the store with a free t-shirt for the first X number of foursquare checkins. Heavy store traffic is what makes a store seem cooler so this was a brilliant idea. Also, aside from the brands that users may follow on Twitter or Foursquare for great tips and shopping guides, there are great networking apps like FoodSpotting and Fareshare. There are even apps for retailers to use geo-tagging apps to drive customers into stores.
And finally, dream big. What's your next upcoming project?
Ah! I can’t talk about it! I’m always working on my dreams, I’ll be sure to let you know when they come true.