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Three Marketing Lessons We Can Learn from the Shamrock Shake

As a junior marketing student and descendant of Irish immigrants I naturally took interest in the business side of my favorite holiday, St. Patrick’s Day. Additionally, as a consumer subject of today’s advertising campaigns, one of the major products I associate with the holiday is the McDonald’s Shamrock Shake. If one takes some time to analyze what the fast food giant has done with the product, it truly is remarkable from a business perspective. Our marketing staff at 4CDesignworks has recognized these initiatives and wanted to share with you, in the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, the lessons we have learned that could benefit your business.
1. Consumers can really get behind holidays: Households historically have spent big for these yearly celebrations. According to the National Retail Federation, over $790 billion was recorded in 2015 for holiday related spending. $4.4 billion of this was on St. Patrick’s Day, making it the 9th largest spending holiday of the year. Clearly households are willing to set aside some cash for these kinds of celebrations. Corporations like McDonald’s understand this and have taken the new product development steps necessary to take a slice away from this $4.4 billion dollar pie.

2. A seasonal product naturally creates anticipation and want: People want things that they can’t have, that’s simply a part of human nature. This psychological tendency in consumers helps make seasonal products so successful. McDonald’s Shamrock Shakes are only available for a limited time, which began this year on February 7th. The temporality of this product helps to build the excitement for it in each year’s annual relaunch. After doing this year after year successfully since 1970, the product has built up enough brand power to be associated with the holiday.

3. Your brand is never too big to innovate: McDonald’s is one of the most recognizable brands in the world and a leader in the fast food industry. Yet, in 2017 they are still building on product lines and innovating for the St. Patrick’s Day season. This past February McDonald’s launched 4 new variations of the Shamrock Shake, transforming the seasonal product into a seasonal product line. This year on top of the original product, consumers may now order a Chocolate Shamrock Shake, a Shamrock Chocolate Chip Frappe, a Shamrock Hot Chocolate and a Shamrock Mocha. McDonald’s executives could have very easily shut down this expansion as well as the original product in 1970. However, McDonald’s has recognized the very real potential that exists in holiday and seasonal markets and has successfully transformed this potential into first quarter sales.

So how can your business get lucky this St. Patrick’s Day with these 3 lessons? First and foremost, consumers spend on holidays. If your product manager can recognize an appropriate niche, products can be transitioned into coveted seasonal sales and revenue. The most important lesson however, is to always be innovating in your business and not to be afraid of taking risks. It was innovation and new product development that lead to the launch and eventual success of the Shamrock Shake. This only happened because those at McDonald’s were bold enough to take the plunge into the holiday market.

Works Cited
“Consumer Data.” National Retail Federation. National Retail Federation, 02 Mar. 2016. Web. 16 Mar. 2017. <>.
“McDonald’s Rolling out Chocolate Shamrock Shake for First Time Ever.” Fox News. FOX News Network, 03 Feb. 2017. Web. 16 Mar. 2017. <>.
Photo / Link Credit
The History of the McDonald’s Shamrock Shake.

Contributed by Patrick Donnelly, Marketing and Sales Intern
Along with his work at 4C, Patrick is a full-time marketing and digital media arts student at Duquesne University. Before Patrick joined the 4C team he was employed as a sales associate at Nordstrom since April of 2015. Outside of the office and classroom Patrick enjoys the outdoors, traveling, and kicking it on the soccer field.

5 Tips for Working Parents

Post contributed by 4CTechnologies consultant Jennifer Edwards

Tips for Working Parents

Being a new mom to a wonderful almost 8 month old, working full-time and being a mother is so hard to balance. I know when I was pregnant, I thought I would be supermom but once I returned to work, I realized that wasn’t quite the case. Over the past six months since I’ve returned to work, I’ve learned a couple of things that might help all new working parents adjust to their new life.

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7 Tips to Become a Better Analyst

This post is part of a series on the 9 Laws of Data Mining from Tom Khabaza applied to analytics.  You can find previous posts here.

Law #2: “Business Knowledge Law” – Business knowledge is central to every step of the data mining [market analytics] process

Some might think that the best way to become a better analyst is to learn new data mining techniques using analytics software.  While the technical aspects of analytics are certainly important, there is a more fundamental way to become a better analyst.  The most effective thing that you can do is to learn about your business and cultivate your thinking skills about your industry. Continue reading 7 Tips to Become a Better Analyst

Custom Application Development in the Construction Industry

Contributed by Jennifer Edwards, Consultant at 4CTechnologies


Custom applications can be a huge asset for any company, especially in the construction industry.   Most construction companies still work with the pen and paper method, and information can get lost or misunderstood.  Over the past couple of years, more construction companies have added technology to their business processes and it has only helped increase efficiencies and productivity.  Here are some of the top benefits of custom application development for your business:

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On the Home Front: How to Successfully Telecommute

Contributed by 4CTechnologies Principal Consultant Ryan Crum


Working at home can be a great arrangement.  I’ve been telecommuting for the better part of the last 8 years, and I can honestly say that I get more work done in a work at home day than I do in a “go to the office day” (this is in large part due to the fact that it eliminates nearly 4 hours of commuting each day).  However, working from home isn’t for everyone and it can take a little time to get into a productive groove.  Here a few tips for getting the most out of your work from home days…

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