Sanitary Promotional Products

Hands While I always think that the holiday season is a wonderful time of year, I also recently realized that it’s a particularly germy time as well! We all spend time in crowded malls, we hug and kiss people we haven’t seen all year, we fill our gas tanks more, and we pass many hours in airports and planes. Eeek! My skin crawls just thinking about what might end up on my hands!

Clearly I’m a bit of a germaphobe, and I don’t trust that there will always be a convenient, clean place to wash my hands when I’m out and about so, like a lot of people, I’ve begun to carry hand sanitizer with me at all times – and I am more than willing to share. The fact that I literally always have it on me and that I pass my tube around to anyone who asks actually makes hand sanitizer an excellent promotional marketing opportunity! Think about how many people could potentially see a company’s logo if they catch a glimpse of the sanitizer as I pull it out of my bag. Or if they do borrow it, then they’ll literally have a logo in their hands – pretty impactful!

There are all sorts of sanitizers out there. Wipes, gels, sprayers shaped like a credit card. There are spray tubes, which and they are available with a full color imprint on their labels. Or you can distribute something like the sanitizer that Gossett Marketing produced for the University of Miami Hospital: Purell in an imprinted neoprene sleeve which can then be refilled. The fact that it is refillable means that it will potentially give their brand exposure for years!

This Christmas I will do my part in advertizing for UM because the people around me at Miami International Airport will definitely see me pull out my Purell more than once as we wait for our flight to LA! And you’d better believe that I’m going to utilize it again before I eat my In-N-Out Burger (always our first stop when we land on the west coast – a girl needs an Animal Style burger after a long flight!).

‘Tis the season for germs – so give out imprinted hand sanitizer to enhance your marketing!

Networking Tip: Sponsor Events

art basel miami beach The 10th annual Art Basel Miami Beach starts this week. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Art Basel is an internationally renowned art festival that started in Switzerland and was expanded to the US a decade ago. Why Miami? Well, founder Samuel Keller wanted a venue that was as different from Switzerland as possible – I’d say he found it in this steamy, Latin-flavored town!

The art displayed at Art Basel is second to none, but my friends – none of whom are collectors – love the event for the killer parties! The parties’ sponsors spare no expense on these see-and-be-seen spectacles, and with good reason. They host them not just to be seen, but to rake in business!

So just who are these sponsors and why are they spending their money on lavish fêtes rather than focusing on, say, a networking event? Well, if you click here you can see the sponsor list. They’re ultra high-end private banks, jet chartering companies, etc., which is precisely why they target Art Basel. The international art collecting community is filled with people who have the disposable income to spend millions on one sculpture – making them these exclusive (and expensive) corporations’ ideal clientele. And what better way to attract their attention than by having their representatives meet these jet setters at an over the top party that they are hosting? It’s an excellent way to gain the notice of someone who, quite frankly, might be somewhat jaded!

Now, I know that most of us are not members of the international jet set (darn!), and the majority of our customers probably won’t drop millions of dollars on a painting, but we can still learn from the Art Basel party sponsors. Just like they do, we should all choose to sponsor events that are brimming with our potential customers. Our events might not be as swanky, but I’ll bet that focusing our sponsorship opportunities will drive business to us. For instance, Gossett Marketing recently provided the awards for the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s Sports Hall of Champions induction. We did so because we want to support our chamber and the honorees, but it also gave us an excellent opportunity to meet people from the Marlins, the Heat, and Homestead Miami Speedway. Frankly, our sponsorship made it easy to gain access to some people that we otherwise might not have met.

Whether your business is internationally known or you’re just starting out, I’d recommend sponsoring an event that you think will attract your customers. It’s a wonderfully effective way to focus your networking dollars and energy.

Click on this YouTube video for a little glimpse at an Art Basel party:

Promotional Products for Charity

Soup Kitchen I love the holidays because this time of year always seems to bring out a more charitable spirit in most people and companies. Some organizations use this giving season to their advantage from a marketing standpoint too, which I think is very clever! They’re giving back to their community and they are promoting their brand, it’s a win-win situation! Here are a couple of great examples:

Every year the University of Miami Hospital donates Thanksgiving dinner to on-duty firefighters. They bring these feasts to the firehouses in big, rolling Coleman coolers that are imprinted with their logo across the top. Not only does this show the recipients who is providing their meal, but the Hospital lets the firehouses keep the coolers, so their logo gets exposure year-round. And the firefighters and paramedics who see it at the houses are the ones who bring emergency patients to hospitals – what a great way to stay at the top of their mind.

Plymouth Congregational Church (which is right down the street from Gossett Marketing) gives logoed, reusable grocery totes to its parishioners – they are asked to bring the bags with them to the store and fill them with as many non-perishable food items as they can donate and bring them back to church with them on Sundays. The food that is collected is given to a local food bank, plus Plymouth gets a marketing boost when its members bring their imprinted shopping bags to their local supermarket every week.

Whether your company gives to local charitable organizations or you give back by volunteering your time, make sure that you use the opportunity for branding. Steal the hospital or church’s ideas: use promotional products to give back. Or if you volunteer – maybe by working at a soup kitchen – wear a logoed t-shirt or apron. Doing good should always benefit your community, but it might as well help your brand too.

Brainwashing as Marketing?

Santa's Enchanted Forest

Every town has its own holiday events and traditions and Miami is no exception. If you asked anyone around here what our best-known holiday event is, I can all but guarantee you that they would say “Santa’s Enchanted Forest.”

Santa’s Enchanted Forest is a Christmas-themed amusement park that runs from early November until early January every year. There are holiday light displays, rides, shows, all of the deliciously bad-for-you foods that you can eat, and Santa’s reindeers even make the occasional appearance! We never have a white Christmas down here, so an attraction that is chock-full of holiday spirit is all that we can ask for!

OK, so we have an annual holiday amusement park, but why am I guaranteeing that everyone around South Florida knows about it? Well that’s simple: their advertising strategy includes a weirdly-catchy jingle that has played everywhere around here for the duration of every holiday season for as long as I can remember. I’m not exaggerating, they constantly advertise and they never exclude their song. For example, I listen to 97.3 FM during the workday, and I must hear it hourly! And the thing is, the jingle is really just a sing-songy way to say “Santa’s Enchanted Forest” that gets stuck in your head terribly easily. I’m convinced that it has brainwashing powers and that it causes multitudes of Miamians spend the entire holiday season singing the name of an amusement park!

Santa’s Enchanted Forest advertises in the newspaper and on billboards, and – because I am a loyal member of the Gossett Marketing team – I think that they can enhance their brand with some logoed promotional products, but their strength truly lies in the power of the world’s most annoying and catchy jingle! Brainwashing South Florida residents into repeating your company’s name: that’s effective marketing!

I dare you to click on this YouTube video to hear the jingle:

Twitter: A 24/7 Networking Event

Twitter Being active within a chamber of commerce or other networking group is an excellent way to build your business; however, it does take a lot of time. I know this because Gossett Marketing is a trustee member of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and we’ve gotten to know other members by attending networking events, Danette sits on several committees, and we have even sponsored an awards luncheon. Our commitment to the Chamber has helped us expand our network, which, in turn, has garnered us both new business and referrals from our fellow members.

Obviously we make our membership in the Chamber a priority and that has paid off for us, but what if it isn’t your “thing,” you don’t have the time, or you live somewhere without a strong chamber of commerce? Do you just forgo networking? No way! You just have to go about it differently – namely, you need to make a presence for yourself online.

I’m on LinkedIn, our company is on Facebook, and I obviously blog, but to me the best way to meet people online is through Twitter. You see, the business people who are on Twitter are there for a purpose: just like you, they want to network. That being said, you have to approach Twitter like a giant, 24/7 networking event.

Much like walking into an event where you don’t know a single person, it can feel a little bit daunting to reach out to those people who “arrived” at Twitter before you; however, I’ve found that the people with the biggest followings are often the most engaging. Take Robert Caruso (@fondalo @bundlepost) of BundlePost.com. He is literally a Twitter pro – his company provides a social content management system that automates your social media activity – he has over 10,000 followers, and he’s a genuinely nice guy! Danette re-tweeted one of his posts months ago and he took the time to thank her for doing so. She was flattered that such an established Twitter person would talk to her, so she responded back to him and, lo and behold, they started chatting regularly! I know that there are some big-time tweeters who have rejected us in the past, but, to be perfectly honest with you, it doesn’t hurt so much when it’s online. Plus, for every jerk out there, there is a genuinely helpful and nice person who wants to connect!

Once you have gotten over that initial feeling of intimidation, there is another key to utilizing Twitter as a constant networking event: keep an open mind. I understand how tempting it is to find the biggest company out there – let’s say Coke (@cocacola) – and try to establish a relationship with them while ignoring the “little guys.” But you wouldn’t walk right past a potential customer at a “real” networking event, would you? I hope not! More often than not in my experience, those are the people with whom you tend to form the strongest bonds. And they’re the ones who provide the best referrals! So, take the time to engage with everyone who mentions or re-tweets your posts – that’s how you build a relationship and a network.

We’re lucky enough to live in a world that includes one giant, ongoing networking opportunity, so join me on Twitter (@marketngtidbits) and let’s help grow each others’ businesses!

Personal Electronics Accessories for Branding

Tablets and E Readers

Something that I’ve noticed recently is that promotional marketing products suppliers have really started to focus on creating products tailored toward portable personal electronics: accessories for smart phones, iPods, Kindles, laptops, etc. It’s a great strategy because people do take these items everywhere – I know I see e-readers at the doctors office, iPads at the airport, and MP3 players are ubiquitous. So giving out logoed promo items that are made specifically for these personal electronics gives your company an excellent branding opportunity.

You’re probably wondering what types of accessories I mean. Well, here is a list of just a few:

 

Kindle Cover
Leather Kindle covers are incredibly handy because they protect the e-reader’s screen and keyboard, and some even have lights. Personally, I bring my Kindle with me whenever I know that I will be waiting somewhere for more than 10 minutes, so people at car dealerships, salons, and even my husband’s office have seen the Gossett Marketing logo that is debossed on the cover.

 

 

Imprinted Retractable Ear Buds

Suppliers have found various ways to customize ear buds, but my favorite is the retractable version because they don’t get tangled. They also give the largest imprint area, so the imprinted logo is most visible, much like the Ecko Red imprint shown on the items to the left.

 

 

 

 

Computer Case Leed's
Laptop cases are nothing new, but now there are imprintable checkpoint-friendly computer bags available. These are particularly practical for airports because business travelers do not have to take the time to fish their computers out of their bags. I was recently in a security line who had such a laptop case, and other people around us noticed and commented on it – so I’m sure they also noticed the Chevron logo that was imprinted upon it!

 

 

People now carry their personal electronics items with them seemingly everywhere they go, so tap into the marketing power that their accessories can provide! You never know who will end up seeing your logo!

Holiday (Card) Networking

Holiday Cards

A key to successful networking is following up with the contacts that you make through LinkedIn, chambers of commerce, and personal introductions. Sometimes it feels hopeless – you meet someone, call him and do not hear back, so you e-mail, and nothing, so you call…you get the picture. I know how frustrating that is and, frankly, it feels a little stalker-ish to continually call someone who does not answer your messages. But I have good news: the holiday season gives you a perfect excuse to touch base again! What am I talking about? Why, holiday cards of course!

I know, I know, so many people think direct mail is passé. Well, I happen to disagree with that (click here to read why I think it can be a great marketing tool), plus I think that people view holiday cards differently than they do direct mail. While some see a snail mail marketing campaign as “junk,” people tend to perceive holiday cards as festive and thoughtful – meaning that they actually open them! Additionally, recipients tend to hold on to holiday cards, often posting them on a bulletin board or displaying them on their desktop, thus your name and your logo will be in their face through the holiday season and potentially beyond. For instance, Gossett Marketing once sent out a dimensional card – you opened it and, like a pop-up book, it became a paper bouquet of flowers. It sat on some of our customers’ desks for years: that’s good marketing!

Some people view holiday cards – or any mailings – as environmentally irresponsible, but you can make these items “green” too. In fact, last year Baptist Health South Florida sent out custom holiday cards that were environmentally friendly in that they included a pineapple-shaped seeded paper ornament. This was a triple whammy for them. First, their logo is a pineapple and because people could hang that pineapple on their Christmas tree after receiving their cards, they got excellent brand exposure through the holiday season. Second, the interior of the card included a blurb about their environmental policy, so that was a little hit of marketing for their green initiative. And third, the recipients could plant the ornament once they’d enjoyed it – it would bloom in a pot or in their yard, which of course helps the air quality!

Just remember that touching base is essential to good networking and that this time of year gives you an excellent opportunity to do just that. So send out those holiday cards early and often!

Word of Mouth Marketing: Key for a Small Brand

Sports Grill Logo Here’s a fun fact about yours truly: I love chicken wings. I mean, I love them to an unhealthy degree (that’s no joke – I had wings the night before my annual checkup and apparently they caused a major spike in my blood pressure, oops!). So the fact that the newest outpost the Miami chain called Sports Grill just opened in my neighborhood is somewhat dangerous for me – they have the best wings in town according to the New Times!

Sports Grill’s South Miami location opened about 6 weeks ago and it is doing very well: I went with some friends last night and the place was packed, as it is every time I visit. The funny thing is, Sports Grill opened the same weekend as a new Buffalo Wild Wings, situated just a couple of blocks away. I haven’t been, but I frequently walk by Buffalo and it never seems to be as mobbed as Sports Grill, which surprises me because it is a major national chain, while there are just four Sports Grills.

I might be wrong, but in the battle of South Miami sports bars, Sports Grill seems to be winning. I think that the primary reason for this is word of mouth. The Miami New Times is an offbeat local paper whose restaurant reviews I happen to trust more than The Miami Hearald’s, so surely the fact that they’ve awarded Sports Grill their top honor for chicken wings is the impetus for many individuals’ first visit. Those who have been there then review the place on Yelp; in fact, when I searched the place for wings, 2 of the top 3 reviews are held by the chain. That kind of praise just reinforces the brand’s credibility, and certainly drives more customers to their establishment than to Buffalo Wild Wings, whose reviews are not as glowing.

The second key to Sports Grill’s success is its willingness to team with other local businesses. For instance, there is a major running group that is headquartered at FootWorks, a store right down the street. Well, the bar offers discounted drinks and food to runners – all 500+ of them! It’s a smart way to get people into their restaurant for the first time, and hopefully the food and atmosphere will keep them coming back for more.

I love to support local businesses, so that and its insanely close proximity to both my home and to Gossett Marketing’s headquarters, have made me a frequent guest at Sports Grill. Not everyone lives or works quite as nearby, though, so their strong customer loyalty as well as their links to other local businesses really seem to be why this chicken wing David is beating the Goliath down the road.

They might be losing the South Miami sports bar battle, but I happen to like Buffalo Wild Wing’s commercials – click on this YouTube video to see one:

Know your Audience to Build your Brand

Know Your Audience

If someone asked me to explain the most important aspect of marketing, I would tell them that it’s as simple as knowing your audience. Who is your target customer and what is the best way to connect with him?

If you’ve read this blog for a while, then you might know that Gossett Marketing works extensively with healthcare organizations. So…who is a hospital’s target audience when it comes to marketing? Well, they really have to find ways to focus on the entire community in order to keep their name top of mind. This means representatives from the University of Miami Hospital attend tradeshows and networking events to meet professionals. They wear logoed apparel to community events like art festivals and hand out information to the general public. We also encourage them to advertise on TV, radio, and in print ads. When your whole community is your audience, you have to find ways to touch everyone!

Speaking of community, we are located in Miami, Florida – a very multicultural town – so we always advise our customers to focus their branding efforts on both English and Spanish speakers. For instance, Florida’s Department of Transportation distributes information about SunPass all up and down the Turnpike, so we feel that it is important for their pamphlets and window signs to be published in both languages. Sure, it might cost a bit more to print two versions of everything, but it is the easiest way to market their services to both halves of the population around here, so it is utterly necessary.

Obviously South Florida is also quite tropical, so some of the marketing strategies that might work in, say, Minneapolis, don’t necessarily work here. Take promotional products as an example. In a snowy climate an ice scraper might be an excellent way to garner exposure for your brand, but it’s not going to fly at a tradeshow at the Miami Beach Convention Center. People around here need sun visors, not something for the snow! (Now, an ice scraper could be an effective direct mail piece for the a local company like Norwegian Cruise Line, but that’s information for a different blog post.)

I’ve simplified my answer for the sake of brevity, but you get the idea. If you want to build your brand, then you need to know your audience, where to find them, and how to effectively connect with them.

Twice the Marketing for your Money

The next time your company distributes information to your customers, employees, or even to the media, don’t you want to get twice the marketing for your money? If you do (and, honestly, I don’t know why you wouldn’t), then give out pre-uploaded, logoed USB drives.

Thumb drives, flash drives, memory sticks – whatever you want to call them – are wonderful promotional products because they market your company twice. First, the recipient can plug it into his or her computer and view the information that you want to transmit. Then he or she can reuse the drive to store his or her own data files. Because your logo will be imprinted on the drive, he or she will see your company’s name whenever they use it: excellent exposure.

Contrary to popular belief, USBs don’t have to be boring. In fact, prior to the launch of Oasis of the Seas, we produced custom drives for Royal Caribbean that served, first and foremost, as a brochure and then later as desktop puzzles! They folded and flipped into themselves to reveal images and, frankly, were hard to put down. If you ask me, the secondary “fun” element of their USBs was outstanding from a branding standpoint because logo was constantly in peoples’ hands!

Memory drives can also be fashioned into silicone wristlets, similar to Livestrong bracelets. They can be custom molded, which is how Smirnoff distributes their information. Or, if you want to be a little more streamlined, they can have a full color epoxy dome imprint, much like our own Gossett Marketing USBs.

It seems to me that almost every company is in the business of information sharing, so make sure that doing so enhances your branding efforts – disseminate it on logoed flash drives!

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