Thursday, February 23, 2017

Top Five Life Lessons

I was driving home from a business meeting when I received a random text from my son, who at the
time, was a sophomore at the University of Arizona. He asked, “Dad, what are the top 5 life lessons you have learned?” With the help of voice to text technology, I responded immediately:

  1. YOU GET WHAT YOU GIVE - I can’t explain it, but this one is just a law of nature. People generally get back what they give. In other words, people usually get what they deserve in life. Or, as ye sow, so shall ye reap. Forget about “win-win,” and try to always give more than you expect in return. The funny thing about this approach is that it finds a way to pay you back…
  2. YOU BECOME WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT - If you think in positive terms, you get positive
    results; and if you think in negative terms, you get negative results. Set goals and think about them in a relaxed, positive way. You must CONTROL YOUR THINKING. It is much easier and more natural for people to think negatively, which is why only about 5% of us achieves “success.” This comes from an insightful book that I have on tape, called The Strangest Secret in the World by Earl Nightengale. Buy it and listen to it often!
  3. STEADY WINS THE RACE - Try to avoid getting too high, or too low. Life can and will change very quickly—so expect change. Try to see the big picture. Simply said, keep your chin up when things don’t go your way. Fight through it – there will be better days ahead. AND, when things are awesome, try not to get to cocky or comfortable. Stay focused, enjoy the ride, but make sure you are prepared if things turn.
  4. FORGIVE OTHERS – Everyone make mistakes, including you. If you want (or need) others to forgive you, then you need to be willing to forgive others. We are all so different, and that is a good thing! Accept it…embrace it. Look for the good in people, and be willing to overlook what you perceive as their weaknesses.
  5. TAKE CARE OF YOUR MIND AND BODY – Eat healthy, exercise – both physically and mentally (think about that). Don’t pollute your mind or your body with things that are unhealthy.
And Honorable Mention – My Mom passed a few years back, but she left me with so many gifts of wisdom. She used to say, “Everything in moderation”, and she encouraged me to have a “healthy balance to your life”.

What "words of wisdom" would you like to share with your children or coworkers?  Let us know!
And if you'd like to discuss any of the ones I've mentioned here, you can email me BDeGarmo@shamrockcompanies.net or tweet me @BobDeGarmo.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Power of TED Talks


The steady decline in print newspaper circulation and the increase in digital media ad sales, confirm that more of us are turning to TV, online, and social media channels for everyday news and information. I know I do. And because of the speed of digital delivery, I often find myself shoveling in data and information almost at a faster rate than I can digest it.

Therein lies the beauty and value of TED talks: These short presentations provide insight into a specific topic in a compelling and engaging way that makes us think. So often in today’s fast-paced world, we don’t take the time to stop and really think.

Whether you’re interested in neuroscience, cybercrime or self-improvement, there’s a TED talk for you. One of my favorite talks to date is by researcher BrenĂ© Brown—it’s called The Power of Vulnerability. It also happens to be on the list of the Top 20 TED talks of all time:





In her 20-minute talk, Brown delves into the value of allowing yourself to be vulnerable—to admit that you don’t have all the answers. From a business perspective, that vulnerability is what ultimately strengthens the team. This talk prompted me to focus on the way that I manage my communications and interact with my colleagues. It made me think—and then gave me the framework that I needed to formulate a plan for action and self-improvement.

If you’re looking for satisfy your thirst for knowledge or even to broaden your perspective, TED is a great place to start, www.ted.com.

I’m interested to hear which talks speak to you: tconnor@shamrockcompanies.net

Good luck,

Tim Connor

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The 2017 Super Bowl Commercials - Which Were the Best?


From 84 Lumber's "The Entire Journey"
In as much as the Super Bowl has become an American tradition, so has the sport
of watching and rating the commercials.  Today, consumers are more savvy and aware of the money spent to produce the spots and the cost to run them ($5 million for a 30-second spot this year) and so, have become an active part of the conversation.

Our Northeast Ohio American Marketing Association chapter holds an “Ad Review” luncheon the day after the Super Bowl to select the best commercial. Like a Sweet 16 bracket, similar ads are pitted against each other; the winning spot advances to the next round until we have the final two, and then, the winner.  Here’s how this year’s match-ups fared:


From AMA NEO luncheon



Round One
Sprint (Fake Your Death) vs. TurboTax (Humpty Hospital) – Winner: TurboTax
Buick (Cam Newton) vs. Mr. Clean (Cleaner of Your Dreams) – Winner: Buick
Tide (Bradshaw’s Stain) vs. Bai (#BaiBaiBai) – Winner: Bai
Skittles (Romance) vs. Snickers (Live??) – Winner: Snickers
Budweiser (Born the Hard Way) vs. Bud Light (Spuds Ghost) – Winner: Budweiser
Michelin (I Need You) vs. Kia (Melissa McCarthy) – Winner: Kia
Honda (Yearbooks) vs. T-Mobile (NSFWireless) – Winner: T-Mobile
Audi (#DriveProgress – Daughter) vs. 84Lumber (The Journey Begins) – Winner: Audi

Round Two
TurboTax vs. Buick – Winner: Buick
Bai vs. Snickers – Winner: Bai
Budweiser vs. Kia – Winner: Kia
T-Mobile vs. Audi – Winner: Audi

Semi-Finals
Buick vs. Bai – Winner: Bai
Kia vs. Audi – Winner: Audi

Final Round:
BAI VS. AUDI


My vote between the final two was for Bai. I felt it did the best job of communicating the product, a healthy drink alternative, to its target audience in a commercial which could be used beyond just the Super Bowl.  It was also the #1 Super Bowl commercial selection of our AMA group of close to 100 marketers.

Which commercials do you think were the best during the Super Bowl?  What are your thoughts about so many commercials having political overtones?  Do you think it is good for a company to speak up, or do you think they should stay out of the political arena?

Please let me know your thoughts.  Feel free to comment here, or respond to me on twitter, @KaseyCrabtree.

An early adopter of social media, Kasey Crabtree has been with Shamrock for over 5 years as an Account Manager and Social Media Specialist.  She has been on the board of the Cleveland chapter of the AMA for the past four years and is currently the VP of Culture and Community, until she steps into the role of President-Elect in July 2017. In her free time she enjoys concerts, visiting her home town of Chicago and collecting cowboy boots.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A Culture of Creating Raving Fans

“Your customers are only satisfied because their expectations are so low and because no one else is doing better...

Just having satisfied customers isn't good enough anymore. If you really want a booming business, you have to create Raving Fans." 

That’s the premise behind Ken Blanchard’s revolutionary approach to customer service.

Customer feedback is gold. But if you don’t have processes in place to collect that input, then you’re coming up short. In his book Raving Fans, Blanchard identifies three steps to creating raving-fan customer service:
  1. Decide what you want. What kind of customers are you looking for? What type of relationship do you want to build with them?
  2. Understand what your customers want.
  3. Deliver plus-one. Whatever it is that you do—perfect that—and then add 1% more: It’s the extra push that will set you apart. 
At Shamrock, Raving Fans isn’t a theme—it’s part of our culture. It has helped establish a framework for our customer-service directive. We use an internal auditing system that tracks how we exceed client expectations, and identifies areas where we can improve, and address and prevent problems before they impact our customers.

Shamrock is feedback fearless: While our team asks customers to tell us what we can do to improve, it is equally important that we share that same raw feedback with our customers. For Shamrock, feedback is a two-way street; if our customers aren’t open to that exchange, then it’s not the right match for us. In 2016, Shamrock’s fulfillment operations had a 99.95% accuracy rate—that stems from continuously tweaking and refining our processes based on customer feedback.

In order to deliver world-class customer service, you have to put systems in place to receive constant feedback. Further, you have to have people on our team who welcome and embrace that input. It ties back to culture: Can that open exchange work for you? Can you operate in a feedback-fearless mode? The results will blow you away. Feel free to contact me directly at dfechter@shamrockcompanies.net or 440.250.2157.

Good luck,

Dave Fechter


Dave Fechter will celebrate his 20 year service anniversary with Shamrock in May 2017.  He started as Plant Manager and worked his way up to his current role as COO. Dave is a devoted Notre Dame fan and proud alumnus. He is a huge sports fan in general because he loves competition of any kind, including the intellectual - he aspires to be a contestant on Jeopardy! When he's not absorbing every new bit of information he can, he's absorbing music. He does more than listen - he enjoys the history, technology, coordination and execution.  He even plays a little guitar. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Incentivize Your Workforce!


We all want to feel valued and appreciated by our employers. Studies show that employees who are recognized for a job well done are more motivated and satisfied at work than those who don’t receive affirmation. The proof: Employers with an incentive program in place for at least 12 months see an average 44% increase in performance.

It’s no surprise then, that employee incentive/performance programs in the United States are a booming $90 billion industry. These programs take on a variety of forms and are implemented on dramatically different scales: Whether companies are celebrating a service milestone or sales contest, and giving away gift cards or travel packages, more employers today are using merchandise incentives to invest in employee satisfaction and drive performance.


What’s appealing about these programs is that they are easily implemented; customers can launch turnkey websites that tally employee points, allow employees to “shop” online for available merchandise or simply purchase specific premium items based on their budget.

Regardless of incentive program format, the majority of employees are cashing in their incentive earnings for intermediate- to high-end products—those that don’t bear the company logo: The most-desired gift items are still electronics. Among my customers, the top redemption for 2016 merchandise included flat screen TVs, the Echo, Bose headsets/speakers, and Apple iPads to name a few.

If you don’t have a formal incentive program in place, there’s no time like the present to get started. If you’re interested in learning more about options, connect with me at tberry@shamrockcompanies.net.

Best of luck,
Tim Berry
Promotional & Premium Products Director   

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Trending Technology: Artificial Intelligence In Marketing

It used to be that artificial intelligence was the stuff of sci-fi movies. But with the advent of everyday applications like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, and even the Pokemon Go craze, most of us are
now familiar with the power and the influence of AI technology.

While some fear that AI and bots will replace humans in the workplace, I’m seeing quite the opposite, considering how AI is already starting to impact marketing—for the better. AI in digital marketing lets marketers better create truly personal, relevant connections with engaged customers.

When you consider that the key to successful marketing lies in the ability to deliver the right message, to the right audience, at the right time, using the right channels—then you’ve got to recognize the value of using AI to drive that process. AI, or intuitive computer software, can work to give us smarter searches, more targeted touches, and refined content delivery.

As AI technology becomes more mainstream, it will be used to make sense of data, which is the key to creating customer engagement, fostering sales, driving growth and building a brand. AI will sort through data to answer the questions that we need to better manage our campaigns: Which customers buy a particular product? Which make purchases on their mobile devices? Which customers delete emails? Which click through?

Down the road, many industry experts believe that AI will manage the rote mechanics of marketing, making sense of big data and providing the analytics that we need to make more meaningful customer connections, while leaving the creative content work for us humans.

This is only the beginning. It will be exciting to see where AI takes us.

All the best,
Tim Connor

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Meet Bob DeGarmo!

It’s funny how life can take an unexpected turn that brings you back to a place that’s exactly where you belong. That’s been my story—and my journey—with Shamrock. I spent almost 10 years building a successful sales career at Shamrock. When the opportunity arose in 2011, I left to start my own marketing company in the Bay area. And now, five years later, I’m back at Shamrock in a role that connects me with what I love most in this business: helping people.

I’ve spent more than 30 years in frontline sales. It’s what I’m passionate about: being the best sales person that I can be by meeting and exceeding my customers’ needs. For me, that dedicated client service is my “why.” It’s why I do what I do.

And now as President of Shamrock, I’m able to share the knowledge and perspective that comes from my sales experience. While that is a great benefit to our sales reps, it also translates to a big win for Shamrock customers.

A few years ago I read the book, Start with Why, by Simon Sinek. The book challenged me to rethink my purpose, or my “why”. Once you find that inspiration in your own workplace, you’re perfectly positioned to go on to inspire your colleagues and customers.

I’ve found my “why” with Shamrock and am incredibly energized and motivated to help others discover their own path. My reward is helping sales reps realize their potential and then giving them the tools to drive their success, and that of their customers.

I challenge you to start with why. Here is a link to Sinek’s TED talk to get the wheels moving. 
https://youtu.be/sioZd3AxmnE   

Wishing you luck & success in the coming year!

Bob DeGarmo    

@BobDeGarmo (Twitter)