Wednesday, October 25, 2017

5 DIY Gifts You Can Make in a Blender

With gift-giving season upon us, we’re passing along some great ideas from our customer’s playbook: The following DIY gift blog is from Vitamix. While Shamrock has been working with Vitamix for years, we’re also product devotees (we have a Vitamix in our breakroom), so you can bet we’ll be testing some of these creative recipes soon.

By: Shanna Mallon | 06/03/2016

Why not treat the ones you love to do-it-yourself (DIY) gifts they'll be sure to treasure? You can use your blender to whip up thoughtful, creative presents that cater to the recipient's specific tastes. To help get you inspired, here are five great examples of DIY gifts you can make in your blender:

1. Signature Spice Blends
For the cooks in your life, there are few gifts more thoughtful—or useful—than homemade spice blends. There are endless possibilities, ranging from curry mixes to Italian herb blends, so you can customize them as you like. Gather ingredients, place them in your blender, and pulse them together. When you're happy with the texture of your mixture, pour it into attractive three-ounce glass jars, and consider adding decorative details. Attractive labels are the perfect finishing touch and will help you further personalize your gift.

2. Customized Condiments
Nut butters, ketchup, and other DIY condiments offer all the flavor and enjoyment of your favorite foods—without any of the weird preservatives. Even better, homemade condiments open the door to all kinds of personalized touches. Have a friend who loves cardamom? Make her a cardamom-spiked almond butter. Know that your family member can't get enough heat? Blend up a barbecue sauce with a cayenne kick. Custom condiments make great gifts for people who love to barbecue or entertain. You could even take them to the next party as a host/hostess gift.

3. Spa-Treatment Beauty Products
Give the gift of luxury by creating a custom body scrub, body butter, face mask, or even healing hair mask for someone you love. Your DIY beauty product will show that you took the time to make a homemade gift, and it will provide the recipient with a four-star spa treatment. Enhance each gift by using fragrances and oils that your loved one might enjoy, such as lavender for a busy mom.

4. Homemade Playdough
Natural, simple, and endlessly entertaining, homemade playdough is a wonderful gift. It provides hours of fun, and it's safe to play with because it's totally toxin-free when you use natural dyes. Whether you're making playdough for your kids, grandkids, neighbors, or kids' school friends, you can't go wrong with this entertaining gift.

5. Delectable Desserts
Who can resist a freshly baked treat? When you need gifts for your kids' teachers or your favorite coworkers, you can easily use your blender to make baked goods. Try whipping up gluten-free macaroons or cranberry coconut squares for an upcoming birthday celebration or holiday. Desserts are a crowd-pleasing DIY gift, so consider putting your own creative twist on whatever you make.

The next time you're looking for a thoughtful gift, let your creativity flow and put your blender to work. Consider making one of these five DIY gift ideas to show your loved ones you care. They'll end up with a personal gift that's just as unique as it is useful.

Do you have any gift-worthy treats that you whip up in your blender, or mixer, or crockpot? Please share your ideas with us on Facebook.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Make Print Part of Your Marketing Strategy In 2017

With so much emphasis today on digital marketing, businesses might write off print as a viable channel for making solid brand connections with customers—but new statistics suggest otherwise: According to recent data, the tangible power of print still resonates:

• 92% of 18 to 23-year-olds find it easier to read printed content than digital. (Oxford University Press, 2015)
• The response rate to direct-mail marketing was 37% higher than for email.
(Direct Marketing Association, 2015)
• Consumers trust print ads 34% more than search engine ads for making purchasing decisions.
(Marketing Sherpa, 2016)

Times have changed—and so has our connection with print media: Technology has changed the way that print marketing is consumed. To be effective, print must be used as part of a broader, more inclusive integrated marketing effort. People will have a stronger connection to printed media when a campaign is layered with other channels, including social media, mobile marketing, video and others.

The rule of thumb is that marketing content must be relevant and brand-centered. But it also must be trackable. As marketers we need to collect and track the data that helps us define our message and our delivery so that we can redeploy and create connections—and ongoing dialogue—with our audience. Consider using print ads or direct mail to funnel people back to your digital sites using coupon codes or special offers.

There’s also something to be said for changing things up: With all the clamor surrounding the next big digital innovation, print offers a refreshing changeup. According to “The Household Diary” from the United States Postal Service, the USPS saw a 2% decrease in direct mail in 2016. Yet, there is a 3.9% year-to-year increase in the number if postcards read by consumers. Why not consider seizing the opportunity to stand out from the competition by including direct mail in your next campaign?
click to view

Click below to link to an infographic that shows how print can re-energize your marketing strategy.

As with anything, it’s all about balance: Print will continue to be both essential and relevant—but as part of a comprehensive and measurable marketing program. What are your thoughts? Do you use print as part of your marketing effort? We’re always interested in feedback.

All the best,
Tim Connor

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Kill It on Social Media with Video Marketing

The engaging power of video is captivating the social media stage. Live video (Facebook Live) and ephemeral (disappearing) content via Instagram Stories are two trends that are pushing video as an essential element of social media marketing. And with good reason—video makes powerful connections and starts a brand-centered conversation with your customers.

When it comes to quickly and effectively delivering a brand message, there is power in video marketing. According to data from Brightcove, social video generates 1,200% more shares than text and images combined; and video drives 157% increase in organic traffic from search engines.

Why is video important?
At Shamrock, we see video as an absolute essential for helping our clients tell their stories: Video provides instant brand gratification. And regardless of industry or budget, it’s a channel easily incorporated into your marketing program.

Above all, video is the trend in marketing: It is estimated that 80% of all internet traffic will be video by 2019. (Cisco)

How can you put video to work for your brand?
Creating original, compelling, relevant content that makes a brand connection with your audience—that’s the goal of video marketing. For a great example, click on the link below to watch the short video we posted on our Shamrock YouTube channel about the difference between Vector vs Raster files:

 Click to view
Click to view

There’s a lot of great ideas for videos: Roundup The Team—take a camera around the office and have people briefly speak about the latest product introduction or community service activity; focus on Live Customer Service—create a montage that captures customer service and support in action; develop a simple How-To video that shows a process or innovation; or answer customers’ FAQs.

If you’re at a loss for creative direction, click below to access a list of Video Marketing Ideas from MarketingProfs: 21 Video Marketing Ideas for Small-Business Budgets.

A recent study from Ascend2 found that the most effective video for converting sales leads include these topics:

  • customer testimonials 
  • demo videos
  • explainer/tutorial videos 

What’s great about these video themes is that the scripts practically write themselves: Capturing a testimonial or demonstrating a product or service are stories that authentically speak to your brand and its benefit to your customers. In other words: You know your brand best, so use that information to tell your story through video.

And then share your best videos with us on Facebook—we’ll help continue the brand conversation.

All the best,
Tim Connor

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Make Tangible Brand Connections

Harnessing the power of promotional products

We just got our hands on the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) 2017 Consumer Study. The results speak to the pervasive power of promotional products: The study found that 89% of consumers had received a promotional product within the past six months—and 8 in 10 of them researched the brand; with 83% of those consumers noting they are more likely to do business with the brand. Those statistics reinforce the messages in this Shamrock blog post from 2015. So, we’re bringing it back in its entirety, with an updated graphic that summarizes the 2017 PPAI study.

In this digital age, so much of our everyday business is managed online. But as with any other aspect of our lives, balance is essential to success. Promotional products are the ideal source for equilibrium in your marketing program because they make a brand impression offline. Think about it: How many logoed t-shirts do you have in your closet? I’ve got a stack of them—and I’m not alone: The latest statistics show that, on average, Americans keep t-shirts for 6.3 months, tallying 2,450 impressions. It’s a great example of how a promotional item makes a tangible, lasting brand statement.

click to view
At Shamrock, we provide the transactional piece (quality product at a good price) as one component of a strategic approach (integrated marketing) to using promotional products to protect and promote your brand: We see the big picture. Our value is that we understand how online and offline channels can complement each other and work together to perpetuate the message in the most powerful and effective way. The result of that integrated and balanced marketing effort is a memorable brand impression.

With so many new, innovative products on the market and the phenomenal reach that we are seeing with brand awareness, it’s an exciting time to be a part of this industry. 

Are you using promotional products as part of your marketing program? Which premium items will provide you the best return on your investment? Chime in on our Facebook page. Check out the graphic below to see some the latest statistics.

All the best,
Tim Connor