Wednesday, August 28, 2019

The Secret To Creating A Value Proposition That Resonates.

Every business provides a unique value to their customers. But articulating that advantage in a compelling narrative—one that pinpoints what sets your business apart from competitors, and how that benefit impacts your customers—can be a challenging exercise.

These are the elements that create a powerful value proposition, which is an important first step before approaching marketing, branding, content creation, etc.  A value proposition serves as a guide for your brand. And it’s essential to targeted, well-crafted brand messaging. Different from a mission statement, tagline or slogan, a value proposition explains the “why” behind your service or product.

Here’s an example: I was working with a new client on value statement development; they kept coming back to their initial position: “We help our customers solve problems.” Zoom out and think about that statement: It can apply to most any company, from a software developer to an industrial grease manufacturer.
Click here to view infographic

The key to creating a powerful value prop is to keep digging deeper: It must speak to what you do that others can’t, the benefits that (your service or product) provides—and further, what your service or product enables your customers to do. That’s the sweet spot that you’re looking to hit when developing your value proposition.

HubSpot sums it up perfectly: “Your value proposition is your unique identifier. Without it, people don't have a reason to work with you over somebody else.” This article from HubSpot offers five prompts for value prop development:
  1. Identify all the benefits your product offers.
  2. Describe what makes these benefits valuable.
  3. Identify your customer's main problem.
  4. Connect this value to your buyer's problem.
  5. Differentiate yourself as the preferred provider of this value.
After your brainstorm the answers to these prompts, it’s time to draft your statement. But what makes a strong or a well-composed value proposition? Here are a few guidelines from QuickSprout:
  • Clarity—easy to understand
  • Communicates specific results customers will get
  • Explains how the product or service is different/better
  • Succinct: Can be quickly read and understood—1 to 3 sentences 
This graphic from the HubSpot article offers some great examples.

If you’d like some help drafting your value proposition—or if you’d just like to bounce your ideas off of me, email me at

Ellen Moriarty

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Optimize Your Co-op Marketing Program. We’ll Show You How.

Consistency is important to establishing and maintaining brand integrity. As companies grow and establish new locations or franchises, that brand consistency often becomes increasingly difficult to manage. It’s a struggle that I’ve helped many clients manage.

At Shamrock, we help companies manage their brands—and their marketing budgets—using a smart co-op marketing platform. Whether a company has two locations or 200, this online tool helps protect brand standards while creating efficiencies that reduce administrative time, and ultimately, save money.

Click to read the full story
The genius of this online tool is that it automates everyday co-op marketing program management. Because the platform is modular by design, it allows companies to use only the functions that they need, while implementing and managing those brand-driven touches (think product brochures, email campaigns, approved display ads, promotional items, etc.) directly from their desktops.

This easy-to-implement co-op marketing platform provided big results for one of our clients—a major international heavy equipment manufacturer—helping them grow the promotional segment of their business by 200%. If you’re interested in learning more about this co-op management tool, click the link to read the full story:

Are you struggling to manage marketing or co-op programs at multiple locations? If you’re interested in learning more about Shamrock’s co-op tool, I’m happy to provide a quick demo. Connect with me at

Kathy Lawlor 

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Challenge Yourself with a Self-Assessment

There is tremendous power in self-reflection. I’ve found that implementing the practice as part of an annual performance review can be incredibly insightful and productive.

Our assessment challenges individuals to not only take stock of their personal performance and best practices, but also to look at their performance through the lens of their customers and co-workers. The way that I use this assessment tool is to ask each sales rep to either write their answers, or just prepare for a discussion with me. During a meeting to review, I offer my feedback and opinions on some of the questions; but the true value of the exercise is challenging them to look in the mirror. The questions are outlined below:

Self-Assessment for Sales Team

  • In general, do you enjoy sales? Why?
  • Do you enjoy your job: Selling the products and services Shamrock provides?
  • What do you like/dislike about working for Shamrock?
  • How do you assess your attitude? What would your co-workers say about your attitude?
  • How do you assess your work ethic? How would your sales team define your work ethic?
  • How do you assess your ambition and drive? What drives/motivates you?
Sales Skills:
  • Strengths: What are you good at? What would your customers say they value most about you?
  • Weaknesses: Where do you think you can improve? If your customers had one complaint, what would that be?
  • Messaging: Are you comfortable communicating Shamrock's/your value to clients and prospects? Are there additional marketing tools you need?
  • How do you assess your presentation skills?
  • Relationship Building: Do your clients like, respect, and trust you? Why?

Strategy & Execution:
  • How do you feel about your strategic plan to achieve success?
  • How well do you execute your plan? What systems/tools do you use to gauge progress?

  • What organizational system do you use to manage a large workload? Are there any areas that are lacking?
  • Do you think you choose to spend your time in high-impact areas? Flip it: What is the biggest drain on your time?

  • Are you satisfied with your sales results?
  • Where do you see your results in 1, 3 and 5 years?

These self-assessment questions will work well for some our sales reps, but perhaps not for all. Either way, it’s a great exercise of self-discovery that can be tweaked to use as you see fit. If there are other questions you’d add to the list, I’d appreciate your input.

Bob De Garmo

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

How Account-Based Marketing Is A Lot Like The Cleveland Browns

The energy in Cleveland is electric: With the Browns’ training camp in full swing, we can’t get enough of the pre-season preparation as we look forward to that first gameday kickoff. In order for the Browns to be successful, each player must do his job as it relates to the shared team goal. But if individual players don’t buy into that goal or plan—if they work independently toward their own singular visions—the entire team suffers.

The same is true in business: If your sales and marketing team goals are not aligned, you’ll be less effective. According to Forrester Research, organizations with aligned sales and marketing teams see an average of 32% annual revenue growth, while less-aligned companies see a 7% decline in growth.

Like an all-in team effort, account-based marketing (ABM) is one way to connect the two and drive more effective marketing outcomes. It’s a strategy that targets the relevant people who influence the sales cycle: ABM focuses on an account (i.e., a list of highly relevant prospects). By aligning sales and marketing through all parts of a company’s sales funnel, ABM yields a more personalized approach by making connections with key decision makers and offering content based on their specific role/responsibility or pain point, rather than the same general message blanketing the entire decision-making chain.

While we’ve been loosely using this targeted approach for years, ABM has gained recent momentum because today’s digital tools make it easier than ever to combine sales and marketing in one seamless effort without wasting time and energy bouncing back and forth between departments. 

The genius behind ABM is that it treats individual prospects and customers as their very own market—not as an entire industry. It’s a laser-focused B2B strategy that allows us, as marketers, to focus on potential/existing customers within a market, and then deliver personalized messaging that resonates with them, using specific and relevant channels.

This summarizes the basic ABM steps:
  1. Define high-value accounts/prospects and prioritize based on revenue potential 
  2. Identify key players and decision makers within each organization (do your research)
  3. Create a content strategy (don’t overlook the value of re-purposed content) for each account 
  4. Develop messaging that speaks to each of these audiences and their specific business challenges; make a personal connection 
  5. Identify key channels best used to communicate with your targets 
  6. Launch coordinated account-specific campaigns that are consistent across all delivery channels 
  7. Test, measure and re-deploy as needed   
If you’re not currently using ABM, don’t panic: It can be implemented in conjunction with traditional inbound marketing strategies: When you cast that inbound net and bring in a wide array of contacts, use ABM to help refine that list to high-priority prospects, and then take it from there.

If you’re interested in learning more about ABM connect with me at

Good luck,
Tim Connor