Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The benefits of nurturing a philanthropic corporate culture

Summertime is non-stop busy. Barbeques, vacations, reunions—this is the time of year to enjoy and make memories. It’s also a great time to do good for those in need. At Shamrock, our team organizes charitable giving and volunteer opportunities year-round. And we don’t take the summer off.

The recent and tragic losses of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain have made us all pay closer attention to our family, friends and colleagues—to how they’re feeling, to how their words or actions might be a call for help. It’s an awareness that we all ought to bring into our everyday focus.
https://afsp.org/
Each quarter, Shamrock chooses an organization to benefit from our fundraising and volunteer effort. Fittingly, our benefactor this quarter is The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (www.afsp.org), the nation's largest non-profit dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide.
https://www.fisherhouse.org/
Last quarter, we raised funds for Fisher House Foundation (www.fisherhouse.org.) which builds comfort homes where military and veterans’ families can stay free of charge, while a loved one is in the hospital.

While I feel blessed to be able to help and lend support to these organizations, I’m even more proud that this philanthropic effort wasn’t my idea.

We have a dedicated team of people at Shamrock who spearhead community involvement efforts, providing all of us here with opportunities to serve. They meet monthly and discuss ways that we, as a company, can help in our community and even beyond. Having the discipline—and the desire—is what has helped to make philanthropy a core element of our corporate culture at Shamrock.
https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-xktMKUaIP8U/Wyq9kC5ptaI/AAAAAAAAA58/GhJQxb_jQrQhfjItLkl8hFsI1_v1D5WSACLcBGAs/s1600/Culture%2BClub-%2BBlog.jpg

What’s important to our employees’ hearts is what’s important to us as a company: That’s always been who we are and how we operate. But being philanthropic is very personal. I think what has made our efforts at Shamrock so successful is that we take everyone’s input and ideas and passions—and then we provide opportunities for our employees to plug in and join in where they feel most compelled to help. 

As with any effort, there must be leadership by example for it to really succeed. And we have that here. All of us at Shamrock—and at every level—take pride in being part of our community efforts. It’s a source of camaraderie. The result is that, as a group, Shamrock has been able to make a big difference in the lives of many people who are in need. It’s a satisfying feeling—and it’s also motivating.

If you’re looking for ideas to help get your own community involvement program off the ground, send me an email and I’ll connect you with some of the people here who do it best. tconnor@shamrockcompanies.net

Tim Connor
https://www.fisherhouse.org/

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Tips for running effective meetings

How productive was your last team meeting? Workplace studies show that most of us aren’t fully engaged during work meetings. On average, 91% of us daydream during meetings and 39% admit to falling asleep. Maybe that’s because we have too many meetings on our calendars: Americans attend an average of 60+ meetings each month; and with half of every meeting flagged as wasted time, that equals 31 unproductive hours per month. That’s a lot of lost time—and money.

But, the fact is that internal business meetings are essential for gathering people together to share ideas, garner input and solve problems. So, how we do we make meetings more productive?

This graphic from Entrepreneur magazine is a great resource, so I’m posting it in its entirety:

https://assets.entrepreneur.com/images/misc/1526568667_meetin-agenda-infographic.png?_ga=2.252188175.747874899.1528732464-261276741.1501521901
Click here to view
Work meetings aren’t going anywhere—they are a necessary part of everyday operations for many of our businesses. Implementing these simple, practical ideas can help you make those sessions more productive, and even, enjoyable.

Are there any tips you’d add to that list? Join the discussion on Facebook.

Good luck,
Tim Connor  

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Grow your customer base: Tips for marketing to new movers

If you market your products or services to consumers, there’s a viable opportunity for expanding your customer base right in your own backyard. The target: New movers. With more than 35.1 million Americans moving annually—that’s 15.3 million households—this consumer demographic offers great potential, as they’re eager to establish relationships with businesses in their new neighborhoods.

Consider that 65% of moves are interstate (MyMovingReviews Data Report 2017). So, it’s likely these consumers are new to the area—thus, are not familiar with local businesses and services—making them prime new-customer prospects for a variety of businesses:
  • Home services contractors: Landscapers, pest control, painters, plumbers, interior decorators
  • Retailers, restaurants, food delivery services
  • Banks/financial institutions
  • Physicians, dentists, emergency-care clinics, fitness centers/gyms
  • Salons/barbers, dry cleaners, tailors
  • Schools, daycare centers, kids’ camps and enrichment programs
Click here to view

New mover campaigns bring a higher return on investment than any other customer acquisition method. If you can capture the business of a new mover, you have a higher chance of keeping that business for as long as the consumer stays in the home.

So, how do you make that initial contact count? At Shamrock, we help businesses make powerful connections with consumers through integrated branded marketing campaigns. Here’s a few new mover campaign tips:

Start with solid data. Using data analytics, gather information about these potential customers—details that will help to shape focused, targeted messaging and delivery methods that resonate with new movers and bring them to your business.

Maintain brand consistency across all channels. Integrated campaigns include multiple touches: Direct mail postcards, emails, social media, event-based marketing and signage. It’s important to not only identify the channels that best connect with your demographic, but also to create content/messaging that speaks to that audience, while being true to your brand. 

Test and redeploy. An essential part of comprehensive program management is post-campaign reporting—and then redeploying in segment areas, as appropriate (i.e. follow-up email or social media touches).

If you’re interested in learning more, I’d like to share with you some of our new mover marketing success stories. Connect with me at tconnor@shamrockcompanies.net or call me direct at 440-250-2155.

Tim Connor

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

B2B Marketing 2018: 4 Hot Trends

Digital technology has changed the way we communicate. Whether scheduling a meeting or participating in a video conference, we can now manage those tasks using our digital devices—functionality that makes the everyday a lot easier. It follows then, that to be effective in B2B marketing, digital must be a central part of your approach.
  
A recent article in Entrepreneur magazine explains the shift to digital:
 
“While the traditional B2B model was about targeting the B2B buyers and purchasing managers, the reality is that today any B2B prospect employs younger managers who research online. Typically, millennials, they are digital savvy and they look up the vendor’s digital assets to develop a clear picture of the vendor’s offering.”
 
The article concludes that if you’re talking the researcher’s digital language—and making it easier for them to search and find your value proposition upfront—then you’ll rank higher on the consideration list of the B2B buyer, thus increasing your likelihood of making the sale.
 
For best results, take the time to ensure that your B2B marketing program is aligned with these digital trends:
  
Mobile. To demonstrate your value to potential customers, go to where the millennial researcher is always present: Mobile. (More than 42% of B2B prospects use a mobile device at some point during their mobile journey; and 57 percent of all internet traffic now comes from smartphones and tablets.) To provide a seamless user experience, your website must be responsive to digital: How quickly do your pages load? Are your videos in vertical format? Do they have subtitles? Test drive your site and adjust accordingly.
  
Social Media. Traditionally, social media was considered a lead generation tool for B2C marketing, but more B2B marketers are using these channels to target and communicate with potential prospects. 
 
  • 53% of B2B prospects say that social media played a role in their buying decision.
  • LinkedIn, with its exploding use of video, is the emerging channel for B2B marketers.

Review your social media plan and identify opportunities for new customer interaction. 
 
Content Marketing & Personalization. As part of a smart content marketing strategy fueled by data, you can ensure you’re delivering the right message at the right time to the right audience. After segmenting your email list, further segment your contacts with demographic data, customer lifecycle positioning, lead nurturing and trigger-based messaging.
 
 
Video. Interactive formats, like video, account for half of all mobile traffic—be sure to incorporate video into your digital presence—on your website, in blogs, on your LinkedIn page, etc. These statistics from Hubspot (April 2018) reinforce the power of video in marketing:
 
  • 97% of marketers say video has helped increase user understanding of their product or service.
  • 76% say it helped them increase sales.
  • 80% of marketers say video has increased dwell time on their website.

At Shamrock, we continue to review our B2B marketing practices and recalibrate based on new trends—and digital is one of them. Our big push is in incorporating more video. What’s yours?
 
Ellen Moriarty

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

New College Grads: Tips for Landing Your First Job

College graduation season is upon us. According to The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 1,830,000 students at the bachelor's degree level will graduate as part of the Class of 2018. That’s a lot of job seekers, which translates to a lot of competition for available job openings.

So as a new graduate, how do you stand out?
 
I’ve recently interviewed—and later, hired—a new grad for a sales position, and thought I’d share some of the attributes I ranked as most important during the interview process:  
I appreciate young professionals who...
  • Are prepared for a meaningful discussion.
  • Try to get me talking and sharing information with them, rather than trying to impress me with a resume.
  • Then use this information to position themselves as a good fit.
  • Understand that they don’t know everything and are excited about the journey to learn and become a contributor.
    • The ideal candidate takes the time to learn about and understand our “story” – what makes us unique and valuable to our clients – and then uses this information to tell why he/she wants to be a part of our company.
  • Take notes, review the notes, and can effectively repeat back the content we reviewed in our first meeting/interview.
  • Are interested in, and value, the immediate and long-term value they can provide our company—and what our company can provide for them.
  • Are genuinely excited about the opportunity and really want to work for our company!
    • There is nothing like someone who looks you in the eye and says, “I really want this job!”
  • Ask good questions about what they need to do to be successful, how they will be trained, what a typical day looks like, etc.
  • Never leave a meeting without asking about next steps.
Hiring young (sales) professionals can be risky—and they should understand this. It’s important to take a step back to see things from the employers’ perspective. New grads can gain an advantage over the others vying for a job by interviewing smart (be prepared!) and selling themselves by offering real value.
 
If you’ve got questions about your preparedness as you embark on your job search, connect with me directly at bdegarmo@shamrockcompanies.net.
 
Best of luck!
Bob De Garmo
  

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Words Are Powerful. Choose Them Carefully.

Last week I was watching a video from author and personal development coach Mel Robbins and was struck by a very simple lesson: The words we use make an impact on the people around us. They also have the power to change outcomes, influence moods, alter perspectives—the list goes on.

In her video Robbins shares that she recently became aware of the number of times she says, “I’m sorry” in situations in which she doesn’t really need to apologize for her actions. She gives an example that most of us can relate to: You walk into a meeting 30 seconds late and instead of saying, “I’m sorry I’m running late” she suggests saying, “Thank you for your patience.”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unRDUhNTbsc&feature=youtu.be&__s=uzmkrnuwvfms1i5omzww

Robbins explains that when we say “I’m sorry” we are affirming that we are wrong; and by leading with “Thank you…” we acknowledge the people around us—and change the trajectory of the interaction or discussion.

In this video, she also discusses the qualifying language that we often use in our everyday conversations—words such as “actually” and “I think.” Robbins says these words take away from the power and command of our language and we should make the effort to be more direct and assertive in our speech by leaving these “fluff” words out of the conversation.

These lessons on clean, concise language can be applied to marketing, too. Think about it: What do the words you use say about your brand?

At Shamrock, we’re in the marketing business—and we understand that it’s not only important what you say, but also how you say it. It’s our job to choose the words that perfectly paint a brand picture, define services, amplify benefits, etc.

In many instances lately, I’m seeing the less-is-more approach is working. Maybe that’s because in today’s digital age, we all want a quick overview? A concise pitch? Brevity, combined with intentional language, are parameters we can all apply.

What do the words you use, say about you? And how about your brand writing: Does it paint the picture you want your customers to see?

Let’s continue the discussion on LinkedIn.

Tim Connor

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Let’s Get Personal: 13 Places To Research Your Potential Customer.

There’s no such thing as TMI when it comes to doing business research. Today, we’ve got access to data at our fingertips, and even on our wrists, about everything from market trends and industry performance, to products and services.

When you’re looking at research from the sales perspective, it becomes a uniquely personal search. A successful salesperson gathers that critical business data, and also works to make a personal connection with his/her customer by finding what makes that customer tick.
 
While I’m not suggesting you creep on your prospect’s Instagram, I am saying that a little effort to get personal goes a long way. Finding out more about your prospect on both a business and personal level can help you align your products or services to better provide value. By leading with that targeted, personalized value proposition, your communication instantly becomes more approachable and authentic. And when accompanied with diligent industry and product/service research, it gives you the advantage that can help close the sale.
 
To help you get started, I’ll paraphrase a HubSpot article that provides a list of resources for conducting comprehensive customer research:
  1. LinkedIn. Find details about your prospect’s job responsibilities or duties, past employment history, and learn of any shared connections. Also click through to their groups to see what’s being talked about; and review what content they’ve shared recently.
  2. Twitter. Use his/her personal page to get a sense of interests or to identify trends. Also check on the company’s page to understand how they present their brand.
  3. The Company’s Website: Press Page. Scroll through recent news and do the same for that of their competitors.
  4. Blogs. Read what your buyer reads and read what your buyer writes.
  5. Facebook. Pick up personal information or identify shared friends or organizations.
  6. Your Marketing Automation System. Search the prospect's name in your system to turn up existing contact records. Maybe they’ve contacted you? If this buyer is already familiar with your product/service, tailor your approach to their current stage in the buying process.
  7. Your CRM in case another team member has reached out in the past—use the existing data profile to your benefit.
  8. Google the prospect and the company to uncover additional details that might not have turned up in other searches.
  9. Quora. Use Quora to understand what your prospect is hoping to learn or if there are any issues he/she is currently facing.
  10. Glassdoor. Find out about the company’s culture; if they're hiring new employees in a division related to your product, that's a good sign.
  11. Datanyze offers a free Chrome Extension that you can click while on the prospect's website to see which technology tools they're currently using.
  12. Crunchbase gives you information on acquisition history, investors, customers, and more. 
  13. Yelp. If your prospect works directly with consumers browsing their Yelp page is a great way to learn more about their strengths and weaknesses.
Is there any tool that you use that’s not on my list? Please share with me on LinkedIn.
 
Tim Connor