Thursday, September 29, 2011


Creating a business Facebook page is easy. Maintaining it - not so easy. Sort of like raising kids. Producing them - easy. Rearing them - not so easy.

If it were easy, there wouldn't be a new 5 BIG RULES FOR SUCCESSFULLY MARKETING A FACEBOOK PAGE every week or so. I've read dozens of Top 5, here's what I think are the best of the bunch:
  1. Ask any social marketing consultant what the number-one no-no is on Facebook, and he’ll likely tell you it’s “broadcasting” your messages instead of providing fans with relevant content and engaging on a continual basis. (See #2, below.)
  2. Think about your personal page and things you post that get the most attention.  We generally share things we find funny, interesting or useful with our friends. According to social media experts, it's best to punch it up and not to automate everything on your page. It’s nice to ‘set and forget,’ but there's  risk involved. The biggest risk is that Facebook places low-priority on auto-published content.
  3. Unlike traditional advertising, such as a promotional TV ad, businesses can’t  create a Facebook page and just let it run its course. Facebook is a hungry beast and requires feeding 3 or 4 times a day. It needs to be updated and monitored constantly.
  4. Many businesses suffer from Ludditeness (Adverb: the act of not wanting to manage the latest technology). Simply stated, we don't know how to evaluate the effectiveness of our Facebook page. Facebook Insights ( is a powerful analytical tool that can help any business evaluate the effectiveness of its Facebook presence. Try it. You may like it.
  5. Sometimes, in the rush to put up a Facebook page we forget Marketing 101: Be consistent with your message. Information on your Facebook page, your blog post, your email marketing campaign, direct mail, etc., should be geared to helping you build your brand; identifying what your company stands for, so that your friends, fans, business associates, and customers can pick you out from your competitors.
Since we're told, over and over again, what businesses are doing wrong on Facebook, I would guess we're all battling the same dragon. It's not an easy battle, but I think we'll all find the right way to correctly place Facebook  among our essential tools in the marketing toolbox. Like raising our kids, it will take some time and patience, but we'll get there, and mostly, like our kids, it will turn out just fine.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Remember when mission statements and corporate values were the big buzz words on the block? It all started in the late 1990s. Big shot management gurus adopted this theory that if chieftains of the  organization came together and developed a mission that drives a company, the company would flourish, and its people would multiply, and they would be proud.

There are two misconceptions about this theory. One is that it was a new concept. I disagree. Let's go back to school. What made you proud of your school? The school motto. Its colors. Its song. Its history of remembering the motto, the colors and the song, passed down from generation to generation.  I would say that schools -- the teachers, the PTA, the principal, and the students  -- developed the first mission statement and values we've adapted to the business world. And it was these emblems that made you true to your school.

The second misconception is that a good mission statement will make an organization successful. What is that malarkey all about? One of the easiest things to do is bring a group together with the sole purpose of writing an organizational mission statement. One of the hardest things to do is get it right.

Do your mission statement and corporate values hang, yellowing and ragged, on the wall or cubicle of every employee? Never read, never said? If they're just a bunch of words with no action behind them, then, yes, those papers are yellowing like an unused ribbon in a box that's never opened. Doing no one any good. Certainly not making your company bigger, better or stronger, prouder.

Most schools last for many generations. And their colors, their motto, their song, never change. Because, after all, they stand for why the school exists and they create a sense of self in the history of the school. To tamper with them would be sacrilegious. The same should be true for a mission statement. So, a lot of thought should go into it. Your wishes, dreams, business and cultural goals for the organization should be part of your mission and core values. Otherwise, it's just useless wallpaper framing a disillusioned work force.

Several years ago, we, like most organizations, brought a team together to write a mission statement. But, before we cast it in type, we wanted to make sure it had the strength to outlive generations of Shamrock employees. We asked for input from everyone at Shamrock. We made sure it not only served the needs of our customers, but that it also served the needs of everyone who worked at Shamrock.  We plan to have our mission statement and values around a long time. It will remain true to our school of thought. Don't believe me? Check out our mission, values and philosophy for yourself at

Thursday, September 15, 2011


I have a theory that, if you are stripped of everything: your home, your family, your job... your entire legacy... only then will you really know how you are regarded by others (to paraphrase the Beatles, Will you still love me...).  This vision of how I, and Shamrock are perceived, is very important to me.  When I walk around our office, I like to share the importance of this vision with my family of employees.

Often, how we see ourselves may be entirely different from how others see us. For example, we may think our jokes are humorous, but others see them as inappropriate. We may see ourselves as detail- oriented, while to others we seem to be a nitpicker. Or, what we think of as self-confidence, others may see as arrogance.  You get the picture.

Recently, I read this blog post on biospace, and want to share the link with you ( As the post suggests, offer three of your most honest friends and co-workers a list of traits and say, “I need you to mark, in 1-2-3 order (1/most to 3/least), the top three ways I might rub people the wrong way.” Warning: you need to have a thick skin to take the traits test.

Here are a few of the traits you can list (for more traits, check out the above blog post link above, or develop your own list): Arrogant -  Needy - Overly Opinionated -  Rigid - Passive - Indecisive -  Abrupt - Stuffy - Oversensitive. Are you game to try this?

I believe that  if you ask typically honest friends and co-workers to do the evaluation you'll discover recurring themes. If two different people mark “abrupt,” for example, believe them—even if you’re sure you don’t act that way. After you discover how others see you, ask them how much they feel that one or more of these traits negatively impacts how others view you and your success.

If you take this traits test honestly, you'll likely find out how you're perceived by others. I'm curious to know what you learn. You can email me, respond anonymously, if you wish, on our Facebook page, or leave an anonymous note on this post. It may make for an interesting discussion. It may even be a life-changer.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

SEPTEMBER 11, 2001

Each of us remembers where we were on that fateful day, when the sky was so crystalline clear and blue that it almost hurt your eyes to look up. The morning seemed beautiful around the country -- from California, to Washington D.C, to Pennsylvania, to New York. But the gray pall that would capture the day remains with us, always.

I, and my senior management team were at Lakewood Country Club on September 11, 2001, with advisors helping us work through the intricacies of an employee program. We were locked away in a room without any of the electronic devices that tether us to the outside world. At 10:00am we took a break from the meeting and that's when we discovered just the beginning of what we did not yet know as fact. We called all Shamrock offices, and sent everyone home to grieve in their own private way.

Shamrock is a strong, family-oriented business. So on September 12, we resumed our lives, came together as a family, and grieved as a family. As a company, we all became more patriotic. We had prayer sessions once a month. We reached out to one another more often. For a time, business became secondary to our grief.

September 11 not only changed our profile as a family, it also changed how we conduct our business. Today, all documents and information for our customers are backed up electronically -- onsite and offsite -- so that we can protect their business and be even more mindful of customer confidentiality. As a nation, and as a company, we all grew closer together months after September 11.

A year later, I walked New York City and the hallowed ground of the destruction of the World Trade Center on 9/11 with a friend who worked in the Towers. He might have been at work at the World Trade Center, if not for a business meeting. He is among the few lucky ones.

Ten years later, we are a different nation. We still remain among the most giving and trusting countries in the entire world. My concern, however, is that we have lost the national camaraderie that inspired the first few months following the destruction of our nation's belief that we could never be harmed on our own soil.

As a final homage to September 11, 2001, I wish for more unity among us as a proud nation of unique human beings.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


I'm not egotistical enough to think that we do everything right at Shamrock. We always do our best,  but chances are we're not going to be able to please every person, every time. I'll bet pleasing everyone 100 percent of the time is a track record no one can brag about. Even McDonald's, a company that prides itself on always serving perfectly shaped burgers on perfectly shaped buns , has missed a beat now and then.

But, unlike McDonald's, our customers are paying for a lot more than the 99-cent special, and they deserve the best possible service we can provide.
Since we've built our reputation on delivering quality and service to customers, I'm pretty sure we do well in that area.
If we ever lose business over the quality of our work, I take that loss personally, and will personally try to make sure it never happens again.
But, if a customer is looking for us to deliver on price alone, well quite honestly, I've got a beef with that! (I know that on more than one occasion we have turned down an opportunity that may have been wonderful -- but the customer was hell-bent on shaving the price to the bone.)
If we compete on price alone, something's got to give. We'll still deliver on service, but chances are the quality of the product will suffer. It may suffer because we're compelled to use a cheaper quality of paper, or not use  the finest (and more costly) copywriter  for a website project, or we may have to cut back on the technology that best serves the project. It's these things, which may appear to be of little difference to the overall delivery on a project, that can really make the difference between absolute perfection or just so-so, all in the name of saving a couple of bucks.

Fast food will always have a place in practically everyone's budget. It's fast, cheap, convenient, and fills you up -- even though you may wind up paying extra for those fries. But, when you want something that is specially prepared to your taste and done to perfection,  chances are quite good that you're going to a nice restaurant that charges a fair price for excellent food, prepared with care, and delivered in style.

Our world hasn't changed that much over the years. We get what we pay for -- in business, as well as at the table.