Wednesday, October 10, 2018

What You Need To Know About Marketing to Baby Boomers in 2018

The claim that 50 is the new 40 might not be too far-fetched. Medical technology and improved nutrition have extended our lifetimes, with many baby boomers (age 54 to 72) living healthier and more active lives than generations before them.

But, while today’s seniors may be more vital, there is still a misconception that boomers are old and stubborn. The reality is that baby boomers are tech-savvy, enjoy learning and, as the most valuable generation in America, are well worth your marketing dollars. Here are a few facts about boomers to consider as you formulate your brand strategy:

They have money to spend. Americans over age 50 have the highest net worth of any segment of our population (Venture Capital Assoc., Ernst & Young) and 70% of disposable income is held by baby boomers (Nielsen). Over the next 20 years, spending by those age 50+ is slated to increase by 58%, so be sure that if this demographic buys your products/services, that your marketing strategy includes reaching out to them directly.

They are social. About 82 percent of boomers belong to at least one social media site, with Facebook being their most popular choice (DMN3). They use Facebook to catch up with friends and family, and to share information: Baby boomers are 19% more likely to share content than any other generation (Fractl). Align your social media content strategy accordingly, using ads, sharing content and engaging with boomers on your page. Be sure to link to your website or product purchase page on your social media posts.

They check their email. According to a Third Age/JWT study, 96% of boomers use email; 92% of those who receive promotional emails click through on the advertising product or service; and 55% have purchased a product or service based on a promotional email. By using a drip email campaign, you’ll keep your brand and services front-of-mind for this audience.

They watch video. According to a study by Google, boomers and seniors spend more time online than they do watching TV. What’s more, more than 50% of baby boomers watch online video. (YouTube is the preferred site with 82% of video watchers using it). The study also found that 3,600+ baby boomers Google "YouTube" every minute of every day—that’s a 10% higher view rate than millennials. Check your brand’s online video activity and consider incorporating YouTube marketing videos and/or ads.

They value personal service. Boomers value—and reward—authentic interaction and exceptional customer service. According to a Loyalty One study, if boomers felt the sales associates did not appreciate their business, 54% were “very or somewhat unlikely” to return (as opposed to only 33% millennials). Include a hand-written note with your product shipment; send an email when a favorite item is restocked—the extra effort will reap rewards.

They are loyal. With many baby boomers downsizing and adjusting to living on fixed incomes, they are partial to incentives and loyalty programs. Start with focusing on maintaining exceptional product/service quality and ROI, and then consider giving a little brand love back to your customers with a simple loyalty program that makes them feel appreciated.

Do you have a strategy for reaching baby boomers through your marketing effort? Join the conversation on Shamrock’s Facebook page.

Ellen Moriarty

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Why human interaction is good for your business

Do you remember when you got lost on a road trip and had to pull out a map to get yourself back on track? No voice-assist GPS. No recalculating. Even as a Waze user, I’m confident that need be, I could find my way using map-reading skills. Without digital tools, I could still get there.

But is the same true of my business communications? If I didn’t have a mobile device to connect with customers, would I still be able to make meaningful connections with my clients?
 
In this age when digital is our go-to communication channel, it’s important not to lose the human touch. Forcing ourselves to step away from our phones and PCs—and make personal contact a priority—can help us be more successful, and here’s why:

In-person interaction is more effective. There is value in meeting face-to-face. Interpersonal interaction captures peoples’ attention, engages meeting participants and leads to greater collaboration. It also allows you to ask questions with free-flowing dialogue that can help uncover details that might otherwise be overlooked. Looking to drive productivity? Boost sales? In-person meetings might help get you there:    
  • Research shows face-to-face requests are 34 times more effective than those sent by email (Washington Post).
  • Remote meetings generate on average 10.43 ideas, while in-person meetings generate an average of 13.36 (Hubspot)
  • The close rate for in-person meetings is 40% (Hubspot)
  • You are twice as likely to convert prospects into customers with an in-person meeting. (Forbes)
Nonverbal cues help clarify communication. The groundbreaking (and still relevant) 1967 study published by the Journal of Consulting Psychology found 93 percent of communication is nonverbal. Eye contact, gestures, tone and inflection, posture, and body language all affect our understanding of context and meaning.

You can’t read nonverbal cues in an email. So, in addition to digital touches, make the effort to meet customers in person to ensure the intended message or information doesn’t get lost.

Personal connections build relationships. Greeting your client with handshake and getting to know them on a personal level helps build relationships and establish trust. No matter which business or industry we’re in, we all work with people. In-person contact is genuine and real. In conjunction with digital tools, it can help you nurture the authentic, long-term relationships that drive business success.

How often do you meet with your team? Your clients? Chime in our Facebook page.

Tim Connor

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

5 Tips for Selecting Executive Gifts Your Customers Actually Want

It’s the thought that counts: That’s the gift-giving mantra that many of us embrace—and one that rings true when considering executive gifts: Putting thought and effort into the discovery process first is what helps us arrive at the right gift, for the right occasion, and at the right price.

Now is the time to start thinking about executive holiday gifts. Here are my 5 essential steps to gift-giving success:
  1. Vet your client list. Consider there are many organizations that cannot accept gifts from their clients and vendors. It’s important to vet the client/recipient list so that the gift campaign does not work against you.
  2. Identify your demographic. Think about who the gift is going to and then, how will it arrive—wrapped? In original retail packaging? Personalized with your logo? Will it be shipped, hand-delivered or presented at an event?
  3. Consider the occasion. Is the gift commemorating a holiday? An anniversary? A thank-you gift?
  4. Identify how the gift will be used. Do you see your gift sitting on your client’s desk? Is it a lifestyle product that you hope makes it to your client’s home? An impact piece? Something that has a short shelf life, such as food?
  5. Establish a budget. Does that include packaging and shipping?
Shamrock jackets using the subtle 3-ring version of our logo.
These discovery prompts lead to solid gift-giving solutions. For example, one of my customers wanted to spend $50 on a client gift (something that the client would use/keep). He decided on apparel; but then worried that putting a company logo on the chest might prevent the client from wearing it. The solution: We imprinted the customer’s logo on the lining of a jacket, which gave a nod to their brand without making the gift feel too self-promoting. My customer was pleased with the result—his gift was the right product, presented in the right way (with subtle branding), and at the right price.
 
Some customers start the gift-giving process backwards—starting with the item first. But to get it right, it’s more about knowing your audience than picking the right product. Using this discovery process as a guide, you’ll find that you arrive at the ideal gift.

What’s the best executive gift you’ve received? I’d be interested in your feedback tberry@shamrockcompanies.net.

Take care,
Tim Berry

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

6 Reasons to Put Marketing Asset Management on Your Radar

We live in the instant-gratification age. Whether we’re tracking a package or running a meeting, we expect instant status updates. When managing marketing assets and inventory, such real-time updates are not only convenient, they can help you run your business with greater productivity, increased brand control and at a cost savings.

As businesses grow, diversify, merge, expand into new markets, and so on, it can become challenging to manage all marketing processes and assets. This is where marketing asset management comes in. This online platform allows you to control all elements of your marketing program throughout their respective lifecycles, from creative, to acquisition, to delivery.

Marketing asset management is the ultimate convenience tool for business marketing: A real-time digital portal, it allows you to easily manage your marketing assets—ideal for these everyday scenarios:

1. When you need to maintain brand control
In today’s digital world, brand impressions are made quickly and have the capacity for instant and mass distribution on a worldwide scale. Control is a must-have for brand integrity: Marketing asset management gives you that command, with one portal that houses all collateral, campaign materials and online store inventory with real-time inventory reporting.

2. When you need to boost brand compliance
The platform allows you to manage or lock-in overall brand image/consistency while allowing certain marketing elements to be personalized specific to a region or audience, providing brand and message integrity in all markets.

3. When you need to simplify collateral management
Because all pre-approved marketing elements are uploaded and managed by one online program, it helps to reduce production costs and cut administrative time for a boost in productivity It also provides tracking data for greater cost control.

4. When you need to eliminate redundancy and versioning issues
No more obsolete collateral: With one central clearinghouse of all marketing elements, you get less waste, more accurate distribution of assets, greater control of “versions” to ensure messgage integrity and accuracy, and more precise tracking of information dissemination.

5. When you need to generate content fast
Today, information flows at near warp-speed, causing consumer dynamics to change at an ever-evolving pace. Marketing asset mangement technology gives you the tools you need to be proactive, and also to react to market changes in a timely manner. Print-on- demand; and manage distribution channels with 24/7 reporting functions.

6. When you need to launch time-sensititve promotions/campaigns/sales
Empower your local marketers, giving them the freedom to direct their message to make stronger customer connections: They’ll get more timely information, directed expressly to their local/regional audience, while still complying with corporate brand image guidelines.

If you’re looking for a smarter way to manage and maximize your marketing program, marketing asset management might be the solution for you. If you’re interested in learning more about how Shamrock can help, connect with me directly: emoriarty@shamrockcompanies.net.

Ellen Moriarty

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Top 10 Marketing Podcasts

Today, more of us get our news and industry updates from digital channels. So, it’s no surprise that the popularity of podcasts is on the rise: According to Nielsen, 50% of all U.S. homes are podcast fans, with more than 525,000 active podcasts and over 18.5 million episodes (Fast Company 2018).

With all that content out there, how do you know which marketing podcasts are worth your time? This Entrepreneur article https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/293333 outlines the top 28 marketing podcasts for entrepreneurs. The list is comprehensive and, in addition to marketing thought leadership, also includes a host of freelance and business resources.

If you don’t have time to sift through all 28, following is my curated top10 list (with active links and summaries borrowed directly from the article): 

1. Unthinkable Podcast
One of the hottest new marketing podcasts out there, Jay Acunzo sails Unthinkable through the murky waters of content marketing and how entrepreneurs can create truly interesting and valuable content without falling prey to “hacks” and shortcuts.

2. The Marketing Companion
Boldly claiming to be the “world’s most entertaining marketing podcast," The Marketing Companion claims to bring laugh-out-loud comedy, “celebrity” guest appearances and cutting-edge marketing insights each episode. Hosts Mark Schaefer and Tom Webster combine to bring expertise and commentary which has attracted thousands of subscribers.

3. Six Pixels of Separation
Mirum President, Mitch Joel, brings you digital insights and media hacking insights and provocation from his “always on/always” connected world.

4. Social Pros Podcast
Social Pros is one of the most popular marketing podcasts, and was recently named the best podcast at the Content Marketing Awards. Listen for real insight on the real people doing real work in social media. You get the inside stories and behind-the-scenes secrets about how companies like Ford, Dell, IBM, ESPN and dozens more staff, operate and measure their social-media programs.

5. Duct Tape Marketing
Based on the book of the same name, this podcast covers simple, effective and affordable small-business marketing strategies.

6. Content Warfare
Content Warfare help brands and businesses find their audience, tell their story and win the battle for attention online. Host Ryan Hanley helps you create content that converts each episode.

7. Marketing Over Coffee
Marketing Over Coffee is audio on demand that covers both classic and new marketing. Hosts John J. Wall and Christopher S. Penn record the show in a local coffee shop every week and publish the show on Thursday mornings. Each show is about 20 minutes long and covers marketing tips and tricks in a casual conversation format.

8. Social Zoom Factor
SocialZoomFactor is a social media marketing, branding, business and lifestyle podcast created for you – the business and marketing leader at companies ranging from startups to enterprise organizations. Each episode brings you actionable tactics and strategies you can implement today for real business results. Host Pam Moore is CEO and founder of Marketing Nutz and was ranked as a Top 10 Social Media Power Influencer by Forbes.

9. Copyblogger FM
A short-form broadcast hosted by Sonia Simone. Each week, she and a cast of rotating experts analyze the week in content marketing, copywriting, email marketing, conversion optimization, mindset and much more.

10. Web Marketing That Works Podcast
Hosted by real-life marketing experts Adam Franklin and Toby Jenkins who authored a book of the same name, their guests discuss their failures and reveal the truth about what really works on the web.

Like most of you, I’m committed to continuous learning and these podcasts are excellent resources for new perspectives and up-to-date industry and technology trends. Are there any you’d add to the list? Join the conversation on our facebook page.

Ellen Moriarty

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Grow With Who You Know: Marketing to Existing Customers

Do your marketing efforts focus on new customers—or on those who are already loyal to your brand?

The answer should be: both. When you consider that acquiring a new customer is five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one (Harvard Business Review), it makes sense to focus on keeping the customers you have, happy.

According to an article in Marketing Land, marketing to existing customers drives business growth: In addition to recommending you to others, satisfied customers positively impact your bottom line in many ways:

•   They are more open to upsell and cross-sell opportunities, increasing their lifetime customer value.
•   They’re less price-sensitive because they know you’re worth it.
•   They are more resistant to outreach efforts by competitors.

Given these bottom-line benefits, it’s smart to develop concentrated marketing campaigns that connect with and engage existing customers. But where do you start? Consider these four questions:

Are we delivering on our brand promise?
A brand promise is a contract between you and your customers. It sets the stage for the experience they should expect to have. By evaluating your business objectives and comparing them against the customer experience, you’ll get a clear picture of what your customers are experiencing. Is your internal and external messaging consistent? Are you over-delivering in some areas and lacking in others?

By gathering feedback from these prompts, you can fine-tune your messaging and delivery, bringing what you do and what you say you’ll do into closer alignment, which equates to a better customer experience.

Who are our most satisfied customers?
It’s likely that you have a system in place to gather customer feedback. So, use that to you advantage in strengthening your brand story. Consider using customer testimonials, case studies, guest speakers, etc. to build your brand reputation and help you stand out among competitors.

Do we have a strategy for growing ancillary revenue from happy customers?
Are you meeting your customers’ needs? How can you provide greater value? At Shamrock we use Business Reviews: We crunch the data on previous orders/products/categories, etc. and provide these summaries to our customers. Then, we ask for feedback and take the opportunity to share our other products/services to cross sell and upsell. Always, you want those suggestions to be relevant to your customers.

What are our competitors doing?
Understanding the reasons why you win or lose business is an important to keeping customers happy and your company primed for growth.

How does your product or service stack up against the competition? What are they doing that you aren’t? What are your salespeople hearing from customers? Answering these questions will help to shape your view of where
you stand in the marketplace and can help identify areas that require greater attention.

To read the entire article, click on the link below:
https://marketingland.com/rise-retention-marketing-strategic-priority-2017-202503

Focusing creative efforts on customer retention benefits your bottom line. Are there other questions that you use to identify ways to provide a better customer experience?  I’d like to hear from you.

All the Best,
Tim Connor
tconnor@shamrockcompanies.net

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Simplify your marketing supply chain

No one disputes that the velocity of change in modern marketing strategy and tactics is astounding. Just keeping current with the latest trends and thought leadership can be overwhelming—not to mention that quickly shifting gears and changing direction can pose a significant challenge for many organizations.

So how do you keep up? How do you remain nimble? One trend worth exploring is to reverse-engineer the traditional marketing challenge: Rather than looking at bolstering up your staff and vendor base, try testing that pro-growth mentality with a simple question: How are you managing your current supply chain partners?

Maybe you and your team juggle a host of vendors who independently source and manage the elements of your brand marketing program. The truth is, simplifying your supply chain makes sense for modern brand management. I relate it to the evolution of superstores (both online and brick and mortar): It used to be that I’d go to the sporting goods store to buy golf balls, to the mall for dress shoes, and the liquor store for wine. Now, I can get everything I need—at the best quality and price—through one retailer, delivered to my front door.

Successful marketing requires that same progressive, efficiency-driven mindset.

Companies that continue with old-fashioned partnering find themselves having to settle for the status quo. Few companies have the budget to staff-up to manage a stable of vendors. Smart companies are partnering differently for their marketing services: They’re carefully choosing one partner that helps drive growth through streamlined efficiencies and economy-of-scale cost savings.

To maximize results, look for a marketing resource with these types of service advantages:

  • Single-source project management
  • Ongoing and updated status regarding projects, data/feedback, budgets, etc.
  • Strategic oversight—one that can find the right marketing mix for your business
  • Proven tactical plan execution
  • Flexibility to pivot and change up or redeploy plan elements as needed

This type of partnership allows your company to quickly change without overwhelming your infrastructure—enabling you to rethink and refresh your marketing program without depleting your internal resources.

At Shamrock, we serve as that single-source partner for our clients. If you’re interested in talking about how we can help grow your business, connect with me directly at bdegarmo@shamrockcompanies.net.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Tips to Keep Your Marketing Program On Track

In this era of podcasts, YouTube channels and online news sources, it’s easier than ever to continuously build upon your base of knowledge and experience.

In addition to learning new stuff, it’s wise to look at our everyday actions to make sure we’re aligned to reach our goals. This is particularly true of marketing: While new ideas and trends are important to incorporate, it’s also wise to regularly review existing program initiatives and recalibrate to make your marketing effort more productive.

Here’s a checklist of best practices for sizing up your current marketing program to ensure you’re maximizing your potential:   

Think mobile. 51.89% of global web traffic originates from mobile devices (statista)—so, step away from the desktop and make sure your web content is also mobile-friendly.
Brevity rules. Humans have an attention span of 8 seconds. Marketing that cuts through the clutter with attention-grabbing graphics and succinct copy makes memorable brand connections. 

More visuals. The brain processes visuals 60,0000 times faster than the time it takes the brain to decode text. Selling your story with pictures and graphics is a must. Use in case studies, brochures, on your social media feed, etc.

Video. Video. Video. Challenge yourself to find a new way to incorporate video into to your existing channels: A livestream on your Facebook page, a product value video in your blog or email campaign. The statistics say it all:
  • Video content earns 12 times more shares than text and images combined 
  • Viewers retain 95% of a message when they see it in a video, as compared to only 10% when they read text
  • Live streaming video is gaining momentum: 82% of consumers polled preferred live video to static social media posts
Variety. Use an integrated, multi-channel approach to reach your target audience. While digital is essential, don’t discount the power of print media:
  • 70% of Americans consider physical mail "more personal" than email (Experian Data Quality Group)
  • Consumers who receive ad mail spend 28% more than those who don't (USPS)
Get personal. According to Campaign Monitor data, a personalized email subject line boosts open rates by 26%, and increases click-through rates by 14%. What’s more, we’ve seen a greater response rate in emails using a more approachable, conversational tone. If you were sitting across the table from your prospect, what would you say? Use that as your prompt for writing email campaign content that resonates with your target.

Engage your audience. Experiences over possessions—this is the new rule (thus the rise of experiential marketing). According to data from the Event Marketing Institute, 72% of consumers say they view brands that provide quality experiences more positively, and nearly three-quarters said when they can engage with a brand's experience, they're more likely to invest in its products or services.

Follow best practices. Keep up to date on changes that effect brand visibility. For example, for SEO the recommended meta description length (to rank high in Google searches) is 110 – 130 characters. Make a regular practice of updating your online material.

Be authentic. Stay true to you brand. It’s smart to change up your game and try new avenues for reaching your prospects; but do it in a way that reflects and reinforces your brand image.

At Shamrock, we’re committing ourselves to revisit our marketing programs on a quarterly basis to re-position and refresh to make sure our efforts are more efficient and effective. What tip would you add to this list?

Ellen Moriarty

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Practice Self-care for Your Personal Brand: 4 Easy Steps

There’s a lot of buzz surrounding the importance self-care: the self-initiated effort to assess, and then take an active role in preserving or improving, one’s health. And why not? Being aware of what we need or lack, and then identifying how we can improve, can improve our quality of life.

That same self-reflective, recalibration practice can—and should—be implemented for your personal brand.

But where do you begin?  This article www.entrepreneur.com/article/277751

In Entrepreneur magazine cites four ways to tune up your brand (from Karen Tiber Leland’s book The Brand Mapping Strategy.) Here are Leland’s tips (summarized) from the article:

1. Brand Sound Bites. In today’s limited character world, the need for a succinct brand presentation is essential. This “brand at a glance” functions as a cheat sheet to deliver your brand’s bottom line quickly, efficiently and with maximum impact. It should include:

Stats and specifics that demonstrate the competency and results of your brand.
• Trends. Demonstrate your brand’s relevance to what’s happening in the marketplace by sharing knowledge of leading trends in your field—and how you’re at the forefront.
• Hot tips. One or two timely and helpful pieces of advice can help establish the credibility of your brand. The tips don’t have to be world shattering, just useful.
Points of view and informed insights. Brand thought and industry leaders have strong points of view about their areas of expertise and aren’t shy to share them.

2. Branded Biography. While your profile picture, logo or other visuals may make the first impression when a visitor lands on your website or social media, it’s your biography that often inspires them to dig deeper.

Poorly written “About” sections on your website, too-short summaries on LinkedIn, and sketchy bio sections on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest can stop an inquiring employer or potential customer in their tracks. On the other hand, a well-written and branded biography can be a pathway to new opportunities.

3. Social Media Profiles. One advantage to having a well-branded bio is that it can function as the source document for creating social media profiles that give your site visitors an immediate feel for your brand.

Using the space provided to its greatest branding advantage is a factor you need to take advantage of. On LinkedIn, for example, the professional headline space (located just under your name) is prime personal-branding real estate. Too often people write only their job title and miss the opportunity to create a mini-narrative of their personal brand.

4. Content Creation. Your branded bio, social media profiles and brand sound bites may form the foundation for your brand, but the graduate-school level of cerebral connection is the content you create.

Four of the best content-creation tactics include: blogging, podcasting, videocasting and writing a book.

As marketers, we understand that our brand is always evolving, so there’s no time like the present to look at your brand profile and give it a refresh. My next priority is updating my LinkedIn profile. Which brand update will you tackle first? Join the conversation on our Facebook page.

Ellen Moriarty

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Video Marketing: Tips for telling your best brand story

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 a whopping 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 ultimate goal of video marketing. There’s a lot of great ideas for videos that meet that criteria: Roundup The Team—take a camera around the office and have people briefly speak about the latest product introduction or community service project; focus on Live Customer Service—create a montage that captures customer service and value in action; or develop an enticing How We Do It video that shows behind-the-scenes innovation. 

Click below to access social video marketing tips—this MarketingProfs infographic covers it all from video topics and recommended length, to the pros and cons of each channel: 

https://www.marketingprofs.com/chirp/2028/33411/social-video-marketing-tips-for-small-businesses-infographic
Click here to view
A recent study from Ascend2 concurs with MarketingProfs, citing 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. Grab your device and get started.

All The Best,
Tim Connor

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

11 Tips For Successful Event Marketing 2018

A successful special event takes more than an engaging program and an open bar, it requires strategic marketing to drive attendance at, and create a buzz surrounding, the event experience.

Following is an essential event marketing checklist to keep the effort on track:
  1. Why/Who? Consider these questions first: Why and to whom are you marketing your event? Is this an annual meeting? A women in leadership event? The answers will shape messaging and drive marketing decisions.
  2. Invitations. Start with a save-the-date (card or email) 8 weeks out; and 4 weeks prior, follow with an invitation that provides complete event details.
  3. Survey. Send out a survey prior to the event—the responses will help shape content and can be used to generate ideas for session topics, speakers, etc.
  4. Content. Make it relevant to your audience. If it’s not, leave it out.
  5. Email. Take advantage of your regular email campaign schedule and use that as a platform to promote your event.
  6. Blog. Beginning four weeks prior to your event, blog weekly. Add videos to engage your audience: If you have footage from the previous year’s event, use that to drive interest and excitement; or create new video highlighting speakers, entertainment, venue, etc.
  7. Homepage link. In all communication (email, blog, social channels) provide a link back to your event homepage where people can register.
  8. Social media. Take advantage of all social media channels to market your event before, during and after. Facebook is the most popular social media choice leading up to and after an event, while Twitter holds the top spot during events. (Source: FreemanXP, Event Marketing Institute)
  9. Track results. Check to see what’s working from the links in different channels (i.e., email, blog, facebook). Redeploy as applicable.
  10. Promo items. Consider your audience and put thought into choosing a useful and/or unique gift.
    click here to view
  11. Branded convenience. In addition to gifts, make added brand impressions with on-site conveniences: Supply pens, notepads and device charging stations (how can they tweet with low battery?). Watch the video below:
Prior to the event, I always meet with my team to help outline individual charges: During the event, who do you want to meet? What are you hoping to glean? What does that conversation look like? 

This is the event marketing framework that I’ve found to be most useful. Are there other items that you would add? Connect with me
@ msmith@shamrockcompanies.net.

Megan Smith

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Make Timely Brand Connections Using Digital Targeting

We’ve all felt the rush of finding ourselves in the exactly the right place at the right time—like when the front spot in the over-crowded parking lot opens just as you pull up, or when the price of airfare drops the day you’re ready to book a flight.

Digital targeting creates that same sense of instant satisfaction. With your brand.
 
It positions your brand directly in front of your customers, at the right time, in precisely the right place and on the right device. Using this powerful one-to-one digital technology, you’re able to serve targeted content to your prospects, with incredible accuracy: It brings the location-specific accuracy of direct mail to digital advertising.
 
There’s a variety of digital targeting applications that can provide exceptional ROI for your marketing dollars. Here’s a few examples of how digital targeting technology can be used to make smarter, more effective brand connections:
  • send targeted display ads, video ads or trigger-based direct mail to your prospects’ homes (based on linking their postal addresses to their IPs)
  • capture people’s Device IDs at events they attend, where they work, where they study, where they shop—and then map the device back to a household address for targeting
  • take your CRM (or new customer list) and target their neighbors with ads
In so many instances in life, timing is everything. The exciting aspect of digital targeting is that it takes our marketing game to the next level—now we can use both time and place to our advantage. It allows for a stronger, more engaging brand connection.
 
If you’re interested in learning more about digital targeting, I’d love the chance to talk to you. Connect with me directly bdegarmo@shamrockcompanies.net
 
Bob De Garmo
 

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Marketing Tips for Nonprofits

Nonprofit marketing requires a delicate balance. Often strapped with doing a lot more with a lot less, you still have to find a way to stand out among the other nonprofits vying for donors’ attention—and dollars.

As a nonprofit, your advantage is your story. By harnessing the power of that story and communicating with your audience in an effective and authentic way, you’re one step closer to converting those connections into brand advocates or even champions for your cause. Here are 10 marketing tips that can help you get there:
  1. Make your message clear. Let people know who you are and what you stand for. Transparency is important: Donors want to understand exactly how their money being spent and the impact it will have.
  2. Create content. Content marketing is a powerful way to demonstrate to donors what you stand for and to share your passion about your goals. Use a marketing automation platform to manage your outreach with greater efficiency.
  3. Have a solid social media plan. To reach donors, you need to connect with them where they are—and facebook, twitter, Instagram and Snapchat is where they reside. Post regular content and place ads on these channels and take advantage of analytics to ensure the best ROI.
  4. Use hashtags. You can create your own (both brand- and event/campaign-specific) and also use popular nonprofit hashtags to boost your visibility in searches: #charity, #DoGood and #volunteer are great options. 
  5. Take SEO seriously. For donors to give money, they have to be able to find you online—so embed social media feeds, ads, blogs and key words to boost SEO.
  6. Use video. Tools like Adobe Creative Cloud and Canva make it affordable to edit and create great video content. Then post on social platforms that allow you to livestream content; and embed clips in email campaigns, on your website, etc.
  7. Write a blog. This platform gives you the opportunity to share more about your cause and to tell your brand story.
  8. Engage social media influencers. According to TapInfluence, “influencer content on social media earns more than 8X the engagement rate of brand-direct content.” Connect with influencers who align with your cause for added visibility.
  9. Forge partnerships. Reach out to other nonprofits, corporations and organizations that are in sync with your mission and your values for organic cross-promotion opportunities.
  10. Use digital apps. Digital tech apps offer unique functionality ideal for events: push notifications, GPS/map features, schedule of events, social media tags, response polling, video links, program updates—the list goes on.
As with any brand-promoting effort, the key to nonprofit marketing success is to use an integrated strategy that employs multiple channels as part of one seamless campaign.
 
What is the most memorable non-profit marketing campaign that caught your attention? Chime in on our Facebook page.
 
Tim Connor

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

5 Corporate Apparel Trends to Follow

Know your audience. It’s the basic first-step when you’re approaching any marketing task—and making corporate apparel selections is no exception. Whether you’re buying branded items for your own team or purchasing apparel as gifts or giveaways for clients and vendors, start by first considering who you’re targeting.

Millennials have surpassed Gen Xers and Baby Boomers as the largest generation in the U.S. labor force—so, if you’re looking to reach these decision-makers and influencers with your apparel offerings, then speak their language. These top trends should help you make the right choices:

1. Athleisure
Blending activewear with comfortable, street-savvy style is on trend. Athleisure gives people the best of both worlds: casual, stylish apparel they can wear outside the office. This apparel choice offers comfort and adaptability—it can go from the gym to the office or lunch. Look for style as well as performance features such as moisture-wicking fabric, UV protection and/or antimicrobial properties that keep fabrics fresh. Consider subtle branding like tone-on-tone logo for a refined look.

2. Vintage
What’s old is new again: The broken-in, weathered look is in. Super soft-feel vintage t-shirts are very popular; they are as comfortable as they are stylish. Raglan baseball shirts and varsity-inspired jackets are also making a comeback. Check out this video that features one of our Shamrock vendors that offers beautiful quality and great designs in customized vintage apparel:

click here to view

3. Bright color
Bold, bright colors are making a statement. (Pantone named Ultra Violet as its 2018 Color of the Year.) But you don’t have to go with a neon shirt or pullover to be current. We’re seeing splashes of color used in accent stitching, in logo treatments, on reflective stripes and cording, and more.

4. Functionality
When it comes to branded corporate apparel millennials and Xers expect more out of their garments: They want style and quality, but also with extra performance and functionality such as comfort/stretch, lightweight/warmth or wind repellant/slim fit. 

5. Responsibility
The apparel you choose to represent your brand says a lot about your company and the values that are important to your organization. Choosing organic or recycled fabrics, eco-responsibly sourced materials and socially-conscious brands are all opportunities to make a brand statement in a subtle but powerful way.

Connect with me at tberry@shamrockcompanies.net if you’d like to learn more about brand-driven corporate apparel solutions.

Tim Berry

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Make Tangible Brand Connections with Experiential Marketing

More experiences. Less stuff. That pretty much sums up the millennial mindset. Today, more young adults are choosing experiences over possessions…like travel over a new car; or concert tickets instead of designer shoes.

Experiences matter—not only in everyday life, but also in marketing. The rise of experiential marketing gives today’s mobile-driven consumers what they want: A firsthand, engaging and tangible connection with your brand.

Creating these brand experiences is simply smart business: According to data from the Event Marketing Institute, 72% of consumers say they view brands that provide quality experiences more positively, and nearly three-quarters said that when they can engage with a brand's experience, they're more likely to invest in its products or services.

When you consider that 49% of people create mobile video at branded events — 39% of which is shared on Twitter — it makes sense to incorporate subtle branding in a way that can be shared socially to drive recognition beyond the event or experience.

A great example of experiential marketing done right is Google’s Mini Donut Shop experience: To promote the new Google Home Mini automated assistant—which happens to be the size of a donut—Google opened pop-up donut stores in strategic cities. They welcomed visitors inside where they were met by conveyor belts moving donuts and Google Minis throughout the space. When the customer asked the Mini a question, a donut box slid down the conveyor and onto the counter—some boxes contained donuts, and others, the new Google Home Mini. Watch the video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=seJiMKOE6kA
Google Home Mini Donut Shop

The campaign was a success because it was engaging, unexpected and multi-sensory—there was a “sprinkle” booth that showered customers with confetti. Combining Google and irresistible donuts was a genius idea that created a viral celebration surrounding the brand.
If you can’t go as big as Google with a pop-up store experience, consider borrowing a few of the essential elements from the campaign: Create a non-venue venue (in a park, a neighborhood, a lobby, etc.); create/encourage interaction with your product; provide a giveaway; and create a hashtag to drive social media sharing.

Can you think of an experiential marketing campaign that caught your attention? Join the conversation on Facebook.

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
 

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Make Tangible Brand Connections with Direct Mail Postcards

If you’re thinking that in today’s digital age, direct mail marketing is dead, think again: Research shows that printed media resonates with consumers:
  • 70% of Americans consider physical mail "more personal" than email (Experian Data Quality Group)
  • 60% of ad mail recipients will visit the website if it is listed on the ad (Experian Data Quality Group)
  • Consumers who receive ad mail spend 28% more than those who don't (USPS)
To gain a greater understanding of how the brain reacts to physical vs. digital mail, the United States Postal Service partnered with the Center for Neural Decision Making at Temple University’s Fox School of Business to gauge responses to physical and digital advertising pieces. Researchers found that:
  • Physical ads triggered activity in a part of the brain that corresponds with value and desirability.
  • Participants had a stronger emotional response to physical ads and remembered them better.
A physical and tangible media, direct mail is a powerful channel for promoting your brand. Based on
neuro-marketing research in direct mail, the Data and Marketing Association shares these best practices to help guide you in making the most of your next campaign:

Be bold. Humans have an attention span of 8 seconds. Marketing that cuts through the clutter with attention-getting graphics and copy are paramount to success.

Visuals rule. In fact, the brain processes visuals 60,0000 times faster than the time it takes the brain to decode text. Selling your story with pictures and graphics is a must.

Keep it simple. Due to cognitive fluency, the brain craves ease and order. Direct mail that creates a simple decision path with limited copy and explanation always tests better.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ok579symjbY

As you consider folding direct mail into your integrated marketing mix, remember that research also shows that touch can make a stronger impact that sight or sound alone: Touch has the power to shift the brain into a deeper level of engagement, one more conducive to building lasting knowledge.

This short video from Shamrock designer Deb Smith shows how you can put the power of touch to work in your next direct mail campaign: She features a new clear postcard stock that makes a lasting brand impression and delivers your message in a unique and memorable way by using this clear heavyweight paper with its standout look and tactile feel.

If you’re interested in learning more, connect with me directly at emoriarty@shamrockcompanies.net

Ellen Moriarty

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Hue Knew? Choose the Right Color for Brand Success

What’s your favorite color? I have two-Red and Orange. I’ve always gravitated toward red and orange because it’s vibrant, energetic and just fun. Our personal perceptions and experiences play a big part in the feelings that we have about specific colors. Yet, there is science behind color theory: Studies show that color can persuade and affect consumer behavior—something that marketers need to understand as we approach branding.

How do you choose the right colors that resonate with your audience? Which color is likely to convince a customer to buy your product? This is where we turn to the patterns that emerge in color perceptions:

In the study, Impact of Color in Marketing, researchers found that up to 90% of snap judgments made about products were based on color alone. In another study, The Interactive Effects of Colors, researchers found the relationship between brands and color hinges on “the perceived appropriateness of the color being used for the particular brand.” In other words, the color must "fit" the brand personality and product profile.

As you choose colors for your brand, it’s important to consider that brand personality association. Start by first identifying your brand personality. Below is the basic guideline for developing that profile:

 
The next step is to choose color(s) accordingly. While feelings associated with colors are open to personal interpretation, there is generally accepted color theory based on how the majority of people respond to specific colors. For example, red and yellow induce appetite; blue suppresses appetite; green signals serenity and natural, earth-friendly vibes, etc. The chart below captures that general color theory:

https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-2dEmo39tsqU/WuDhoZerdwI/AAAAAAAAA2E/Hy5lmT96O90rQ_Xk4QSeA_zZHNMimJ9yACEwYBhgL/s1600/color-and-emotions.png
Source: Contentmart

Does your brand fall in line with contemporary color theory? Which color best suits your product line?

Good luck!

Ellen Moriarty

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Four Tips for Strengthening Your Supply Chain

To remain relevant in the face of competition, it’s essential to build and strengthen the supply chain. At Shamrock, we’ve been building strategic partnerships with suppliers for more than 35 years. That’s our business model. Because we’ve managed our business this way from day one, building a reliable supply chain has truly become a byproduct of our charge to provide our customers with the marketing solutions that meet their evolving needs.

This model has fueled our charge to diversify our product and service offerings. It’s all about supply and demand: Shamrock’s success lies, in part, in our commitment to respond to the growing needs of our customers by expanding our scope to deliver integrated marketing solutions. Three decades ago, Shamrock was a print broker. Today, we’re a full-service marketing and communications agency with a national footprint and a dedicated supply chain.

That said, we’ve learned a few things over the years about supply chain management. Here’s four tips:

1. Vet & align your suppliers.
Clearly product/service quality and reliability are essential. But go the extra step to make sure that your suppliers are in alignment with your brand’s core values. Environmental sustainability, animal-friendly testing, industry best-practices, etc. Identify the risks and rewards associated with your suppliers and adjust accordingly.

2. Set expectations & establish open communication.
Start by outlining what’s expected—from every angle (vendor to agency and agency to client). At the end of the day, you’re responsible for delivering the product to the client, so make sure that your supplier can deliver on his/her end. Based on that scope-of-work agreement, outline your needs and expectations and provide a clear path for ongoing communication.

3. Maintain accountability.
Hold your supplier partners to stringent quality audits and benchmarks. At Shamrock, we lean on our suppliers to drive innovation and cost efficiencies, which then allows us to compete by delivering the best in quality, turnaround and price.

4. Collaborate with industry leaders & peers.
Best practices are best when they’re shared: We can all learn from one another. Collaboration can lead to innovation, new processes, improved quality standards, new delivery options—the list goes on.

If you’re looking to sharpen your competitive edge, evaluating your supply chain processes is a good first step. As the saying goes, you’re only as good as your last performance. Or product launch. Or campaign. It’s up to you to make it a great one.

All the best,
Tim Connor   

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Cheer on Your Team—and Everybody Wins. What kind of teammate are you?

Most of us have been on both the winning and losing side of team play. While it’s usually much more enjoyable to be with the first group, there is value in, and benefits to be gained from, being part of a team regardless of outcome.

Group competitions provide an opportunity to observe and watch others succeed and fail. That success/failure observation is how we learn. It gives us insight into solving the problem or task at hand; and it also models behavior for managing victory or defeat.

These lessons are just as important on a basketball court as they are in a corporate meeting room. The intrinsic rewards of being part of a successful team is powerful: Why do great individual athletes, like Michael Phelps, seem to get more fired up and excited to win relay races than individual events? It’s the exhilarating feeling of being part of something bigger than oneself.

When I think of teamwork, I think of creating synergy, or an environment where The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. First coined by the philosopher Aristotle, this phrase aptly defines the modern concept of synergy. For anyone who has played team sports, it echoes the T.E.A.M. acronym—together, everyone achieves more.

In Gung Ho!, we learn that the gift of the goose is to cheer each other on. Everyone needs a pat on the back, to feel appreciated and valued. Take time to reflect on your actions and contributions as part of your corporate team: What kind of teammate are you? Are you looking to get “the credit”, or do you seek to make others better? Do you thrive on teamwork, or do you prefer to work independently?

What is your contribution to your company’s culture, or your team’s objective? Do you inspire with a positive approach and attitude, or do you hold the team back with negativity?

My personal mission is to help companies, clients and colleagues perform at their highest levels. It is a thrill to watch the process of a team removing barriers and finding ways to raise the standard. When we are successful, we celebrate as a team – which is more fun than a party of one…

What does your company do to promote teamwork? Please chime in our Facebook page.

Bob De Garmo

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Use Customer Personas for Better Marketing Outcomes

Microsoft reports the average person’s attention span is just eight seconds. That’s not surprising given the amount of content we consume every day: According to the American Marketing Association, we are exposed to up to 10,000 brand messages a day. So, as a marketer, how do you make sure your customers don’t simply scroll right by your content?

Make it personal.

By connecting with your audience in more personal and relatable ways, you make stronger and more memorable brand connections. So, it follows that the best way to make such connections is to first get to know your audience or your customers—and then create campaigns that speak directly to them. This is where personas come into play.

Hubspot describes them well: "Buyer personas are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers. Personas help us all -- in marketing, sales, product, and services -- internalize the ideal customer we're trying to attract and relate to our customers as real humans. Having a deep understanding of your buyer persona(s) is critical to driving content creation, product development, sales follow up, and really anything that relates to customer acquisition and retention.”

Source: Hubspot

To develop accurate customer personas, research is essential—you have to dig down beneath the surface to gather the personal data about your customer that paints a crystal-clear picture about who they really are:
  • What is their age and gender?
  • Which social media platforms do they use: Are they Facebook devotees or all Snapchat?
  • What TV shows do they watch: 60 Minutes? Game of Thrones?
  • What are their values: Are they intent on making a difference through social change? Strong supporters of U.S. veterans?
  • What is their digital capacity: Are they avid smartphone users or adverse to constant connectivity?

Click here to download Hubspot’s worksheet for creating customer personas.

The goal is to put yourself in your customer’s shoes to create a detailed and accurate profile. And then, to use that information to your brand advantage by aligning your marketing plan: Send brand messaging using social media channels where your customer persona spends his/her time; use messaging that speaks your customer persona’s language—and resonates with his/her value system; provide special offers that solve your customer persona’s problems, etc. 

The more questions we ask and the clearer “customer” picture we paint, allows us to be more effective in our marketing efforts. Are you currently using customer personas? I’m interested in your feedback.

Ellen Moriarty

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Dead Sales Leads? Revive Them with Strategic Lead Nurturing.

When we’re making a purchase, most of us shop around for the best deal—or the best quality, or service, or all of the above. Which is why most leads don’t immediately convert to sales, regardless of where they enter the sales funnel.

According to MarketingSherpa, 73% of leads are not ready to buy when they first give you their contact details. This is where lead nurturing comes in: These strategic campaigns work to create relationships and encourage consumers or businesses to become active prospects, and eventually, customers.

Now more than ever, we’re finding that people don’t want to feel like they’re just a number; they want a personal connection. And above all, they want content to be relevant to them. 

A recent article in Entrepreneur magazine concurs: “You can no longer create a single funnel or lead magnet and expect success. Your audience are at different stages, and your job as a marketer is to give them the right content at the right time.”

Again, it’s about getting personal: It’s important to first build intimacy with your audience—you can’t sell 24/7. Work to create relationships by providing value and quality, not quantity. Do that by considering where your contacts are in the sales funnel. The Entrepreneur article explains that scenario, placing prospects into three buckets:
  • The Sidewalk: Those who are not aware they have a pain or problem
  • The Slow Lane: Those who are aware they have a problem, but don't know enough about the process or methodology to move forward
  • The Fast Lane: Those who are ready to commit to a solution, but need more information about what the solution is
After you identify where your leads fall, create specific messaging for each: This brings intimacy into your lead generation and becomes relevant to the right people at the right time:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1PkS7TNlGYuG1hz0Jmk0v2ZSiqmr7SNx3/view?usp=sharing
Click to view infographic

  • People in your sidewalk are not aware of their problem, so you need to produce micro content that illuminates their pain.
  • If they're in your slow lane you need to educate them of your process, which means more in-depth content (articles, guides, longer videos, etc.).
  • Once they enter your fast lane, you can share intimate and detailed content with them, such as webinars, training sessions and phone calls.
Shamrock helps our clients manage lead nurturing campaigns—making meaningful, personal connections (with the right message, at the right time) using an automated marketing platform. Click on the image to view the infographic on the importance of using lead nurturing.

How do you nurture your sales leads? If you’re interested in learning more about content strategies and automated tools for lead nurturing campaign management, connect with me on LinkedIn.
 
Ellen Moriarty