International Marketing for Pennies

ING Miami Marathon Half Marathon I talk about running a lot because, well, sometimes it feels like running is all I do! This week I actually get a break, though, because I ran the ING Miami Half Marathon on Sunday. It’s a beautiful race in which I participate annually, but I didn’t like it as much this year as I have in years past. Why? Because it was so darn crowded! On this, the 10th anniversary of the run, there were 25,000 participants – 8,000 more than there were in 2011 – yet there didn’t seem to be any extra water or any extra space on the course.

Although I felt crowded and like I spent the entire 13.1 miles bobbing and weaving around slower runners, one good thing about the extra bodies on the course was that there was always someone to talk to. Every few minutes, I’d fall into step with a new person and we’d shoot the breeze for a while. Well, these were total strangers to me, so we talked about what we had in common: what we saw as we passed through the race course. We discussed the cruise ships at the Port of Miami, we laughed about the drunk people stumbling out of the clubs on South Beach only to find tens of thousands of people running by, and we commented on all of the witty and sentimental signs that fans were waving.

Interestingly, many of the signs were provided by corporations. Baptist Health South Florida, for instance, gave spectators posters that included their logo and an encouraging message, but that also gave fans a place to write some words of their own – maybe a runner’s name or their own message of support. One gentleman noticed that half of Baptist’s signs were printed in Spanish and the other half in English, which is very indicative of our local culture. Being from the Midwest, he found that unusual so we chatted about the importance of the Latino population in South Florida and about Baptist’s position in our community. I’m sure that others also discussed the signs too because they were everywhere – that kind of conversation does a tremendous amount of marketing for just a few pennies per poster!

Another group whose signs got a lot of attention was Lululemon Athletica. Employees from their Miami Beach store set up a tent and waved placards with witty slogans: my personal favorite was “Who Needs Toenails?!” I tend to lose my toenails when I run – I’m down to 9 today – so it gave me a chuckle. At that point in the race I was still with members of my training group, and they all know about my feet so they were all sure to point it out to me. We laughed and then we talked about Lululemon and how we love their products. Our conversation elicited comments from several of the women around us, and we ended up spending about a mile talking about their “anti-stink” technology with total strangers. Again, a simple sign got a company great brand exposure.

My examples are isolated incidents; however, with 25,000 people in the race, seeing the signs that various corporations provided you know that others had similar conversations. The race attracted people from all over the world, so for a nominal amount of money Baptist Health and Lululemon managed to do some international marketing at the ING Miami Marathon and Half Marathon. Not bad for a Sunday morning!

Click on this YouTube video to check out the marathon course – it really is beautiful!

Golf Tournament Sponsorships

WGC Cadillac Championship

Golf tournaments are excellent marketing opportunities, whether or not you are the event’s main sponsor. We work with the World Golf Championships Cadillac Championship and the number of promotional marketing opportunities that they take is staggering! Here are some of the items that they use over the course of their event:

T-Shirts: there are various t-shirts for staff, volunteers, security, scorers, etc. You can bet that the recipients of those shirts subsequently wear them to the gym and grocery store, which makes them a walking ad for the event! While the WGC doesn’t have outside sponsors’ logos on their shirts, many other tournaments do – if you give enough money to have your logo on those shirts, then you get that same kind of exposure for your brand. Easy marketing!

Caps and Visors: like t-shirts, I’ve seen WGC caps all over town. Additionally, the tournament sponsor – in this case Cadillac – might give out their own caps or visors to fans. These might not have the golf tournament’s logo on them, but they will definitely have the Cadillac shield and I can guarantee you that spectators will wear them again, outside of the tournament.

Ponchos: there is always a possibility of rain at Doral, so WGC has plenty of them around. If it does rain on the Sunday of the Championship, then those imprinted ponchos will sure come in handy! First, they will keep the wearers dry. And second, because they will be imprinted on the front, the TV will pick up a sea of WGC Cadillac Championship logos. If your company is considering any sort of golf sponsorship, ponchos are an inexpensive way to go – and you have the potential for marketing whenever it rains (even after the tournament)!

Can Insulators: can insulators (commonly called Koozies) are another inexpensive item that works well for golf tournaments – or any sporting event. They serve a purpose at the event by keeping your beer cold, and people tend not to throw them away. That means that they might use a can cooler with your company’s logo on it at their next tailgate. Excellent logo exposure.

You might not be able to host a PGA golf tournament, but maybe you can provide promotional marketing products for a local one. It’s a terrific way to get your brand out there and to create some inexpensive, but lasting marketing.

Reconnecting with Customers

Handshake Here at Gossett Marketing, our whole team has been focused on a big project for a major client for the past couple of weeks. It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to expand our business with this particular company; however, it is taking up a lot of time and I worry that I am shortchanging some of my other accounts because I cannot currently give them my full attention. So, what am I going to do about it?

Well, for one thing, I cannot let The Big Project take over my whole day. Yes, it can have large chunks of my time, but I am making a concerted effort to dedicate a significant portion of every morning to my other customers. The bulk of The Big Project will be finished soon, so right now my focus is on keeping my other clients happy but not necessarily growing their business.

Once the majority of The Big Project is complete, I am going to set my sights on growing my other accounts. I haven’t been to the University of Miami Hospital in the New Year, so I am going to make an effort to bring them samples of new items on a regular basis. Whenever I visit their Marketing team, they seem to introduce me to new people within the organization, and that’s networking at its best – face to face referrals! I can’t let that kind of opportunity get away from me (plus, I just like to see them because they’re a lot of fun!).

It’s not as easy to just run over and see some of our other customers: while I wish I could make a trip to the Keys on a whim, I just can’t – darn! For customers who aren’t local like Mariners Hospital and Hermit Woods Winery, I will have to reconnect by sending them catalogs and then following up with the recipients in a timely manner. It isn’t ideal, but at least reaching out to them by mail and on the phone or e-mail will keep me, and our company, top of mind when they need promotional marketing products.

As I’ve said before, sometimes the best networking is that which you do with your existing customers, and once The Big Project is out of my hands I plan to do just that. I will be persistent – it’s not annoying – and build up those relationships once again!

Do you ever have Big Projects that keep your attention away from some customers? If so, what do you do? Please let us know in the comments below!

MAC: Marketing for Good

MAC Viva Glam Lady Gaga Here’s something you might not know about me: I love cosmetics. Gels, creams, lotions, and potions, I love them all. I’ve been known to spend hours at Sephora – my very favorite store – applying various eye shadows and weighing the benefits of mineral versus chemical sunblock!

Now, my favorite makeup line, MAC, is not actually sold in my favorite store, but I am more than happy to make the extra trip to Nordstom to purchase it. The reason for this is twofold: one, I do think that MAC makes excellent products. And two, the company is committed to doing good so I like to support their benevolent efforts.

Since 1994 MAC has sold a line of lipsticks and lip glosses called Viva Glam. All proceeds from their sale go to the MAC AIDS Fund, which supports men, women, and children whose lives have been affected by HIV or AIDS. For instance, the sale of one tube of Viva Glam can mean groceries for a week for a family of four, or a counseling session for an HIV positive woman. The Fund is doing substantial work for AIDS victims worldwide, and I feel good about supporting a company that is dedicated to these charitable acts – plus the Viva Glam shades are always pretty!

Through its dedication to those affected by AIDS, MAC is branding itself as a socially responsible corporation. It is less known as an environmentally conscious company, but it is that too. You see, it also has a “Back to MAC” program that allows anyone to return six empty makeup containers for recycling and receive a free lipstick in return. I literally have not paid for a lipstick (other than my Viva Glam!) in years because I participate in Back to MAC; however, when I bring in my old makeup pots, I almost always also purchase something to replace them. MAC gets me to their makeup counter by promising me a freebie, and I always actually spend money on their products. That’s good marketing!

At Gossett Marketing we give back to our community too – hopefully our efforts can enhance our branding and marketing like MAC’s have through the years.

Lady Gaga is the current face of Viva Glam. Here is her unusual promotional video on YouTube:

Rate My Rat: Social Media at Work

New York City Subway The New York Transit Workers Union Local 100 is effectively utilizing social media to alert the city – and the world – as to the current rat problem in the New York City subway system. This union is using an online petition to demand an increase in the number of workers within the subway system, specifically those who clean the cars and platforms. Now, an online petition is not a glamorous proposition and it certainly will not attract searches and signatures on its own, so the TWU has included an interactive feature on its ratfreesubways.com website.

What is this feature, you wonder? It is called Rate My Rat and it is a contest to rate the rats that riders encounter in the subways! Participants simply take a picture of the rodent(s) and upload it to the website, where voters have the opportunity to judge them. Some – like the rat drinking a beer – might be considered cute. Then there are the giant, scarred creatures who earn a “beastly” rating: they are truly horrifying!

The question is, why would anyone want to participate in this bizarre and horrifying activity? Well, the person who finds the beastliest rat gets to ride the subways for free for an entire month! It’s a nice incentive for the TWU to offer because it really will entice people to play their game – which only serves to point out the rat problem in the subway.

Fortunately for the TWU, their Rate My Rat competition is also outlandish enough that it has attracted national attention. In fact, I learned about it from CNN! Getting that kind of coverage goes a long way – it’s powerful marketing that money simply cannot buy but which I’m sure will attract even more web traffic to their petition. That’s the power of social media!

While I am happy to see social media in action, this story sure does make me glad that I don’t have to take a subway to get to Gossett Marketing in the morning!

Click on this YouTube video to learn more about the rat problem:

Promo Products for Fitness

Fitness walking

Since the start of 2012, Gossett Marketing has noticed an uptick in orders of personal fitness products. Almost everyone I know has resolved to lose weight in the new year, so our customers are ordering accordingly! Here are some of my favorite fitness-related promotional marketing products:

Pedometers: These are great items in that they can help almost anyone lose weight. The wearer clips on her pedometer in the morning and is able to track the number of steps she takes during the day. If she doesn’t meet her goal number of steps by a certain time, then she knows that she’ll need to take a walk to meet that number – such an easy way to burn calories without going to the gym. As a bonus, giving out logoed pedometers means that the wearer will see your brand name several times a day, as will those around her.

Wellness Journals: This category constitutes anything from a food log to an exercise tracker. I’m an advocate of Weight Watchers, so I’m a firm believer in writing down the items that I consume every day, so I’d love to receive an imprinted food log and I know that I’d carry it with me on a daily basis (great logo exposure!). Exercise journals are also great for logo exposure because so many people carry them to the gym to record their exercise history – they sit on weight benches everywhere and do your marketing for you.

Fitness Kits: Kits that contain items like a jump rope and a resistance band make it easy for recipients to work out at home or while travelling. Because each item within the kit is typically imprinted, your brand is getting exposure no matter which piece of equipment the recipient chooses to use.

Low-Calorie Cookbooks: I love it when our customers purchase imprinted cookbooks because people really hold on to them. Even if they do not use the book, they probably won’t throw it away – it will sit on their shelf and every time they go through their cookbook collection, our customer’s name will be right there. That’s years of marketing for very little money!

Everyone wants to shape up in 2012 – so help your customers and employees do just that by giving out promotional marketing products for fitness. Imprinted with your logo, of course!

Click on this YouTube video – maybe your promo products will inspire your customers to “Get Physical”

Stay Warm & Promote Your Company

Polar Bears One of Gossett Marketing’s top-selling items is logoed fleece jackets, which probably seems pretty strange if you know that we’re located in Coconut Grove, Florida. The nice thing about these jackets, though, is that they work in any climate – cold north to the Sunshine State!

Let’s start with the obvious: fleece jackets are warm so they are excellent for colder regions. On chilly days, the fact that they are outerwear gives them more impact than something like a t-shirt, which would just serve as a base layer and not necessarily give your company name any exposure. Fleece jackets embroidered with your company’s logo make the wearer into your walking billboard because, as the top layer, they are highly visible. If you are located in a cooler climate, fleece jackets are the way to go. Give them to your employees and customers to wear around town – they’ll do your marketing for you!

As I said, we sell a lot of fleece jackets – many to local companies. Obviously, Miami is not a cold climate, so this seems strange, but it really is not. You see, it is so warm here that we tend to over-air condition our office buildings. That being the case, many of the customers who purchase fleeces leave them on the back of their desk chairs and throw them on when they get to work. They are a great substitute for a cardigan because they don’t stretch out and lose their shape! Also, people down here don’t necessarily have a lot of warm clothes, so on those rare cold days, they will reach for the warmest thing in their closet – which might very well be a fleece that is embroidered with your company’s logo!

Like all promotional products, I recommend giving away jackets that people will actually wear. We have some wonderful, inexpensive pieces from Port Authority that are always popular. Or you can harness the power of a brand name and give embroidered Columbia jackets. I’ve said it once and I will say it again – people always use the brand name promotional giveaways!

Regardless as to where you are or whether you go with a generic or brand name, your company can certainly use fleece jackets – they’re sure to give your logo extra exposure and your marketing a nice boost!

Spamming is not Marketing!

Spamming

I like e-mail. I really do. I am not one of those people who waxes poetic about the pre-internet days or who rues the fact that I am slowly but steadily losing the ability to write in cursive because I type everything instead of sending actual letters. Forget cursive: I am an e-mail gal!

What I dislike, though, is excessive e-mailing. I know that we’re all guilty of doing it at times – just a few weeks ago I placed an order for one of my customers at Baptist Health South Florida. As I worked on my PO I came up with a question for her, so I shot her a quick e-mail and she responded immediately. Then, of course, I came up with another question, so I sent another note… it went on and on! I spent 20 minutes on e-mails even though a minute-long phone call would have resolved all of my issues. I wasted too much time because I am a habitual e-mailer; however, I am trying to break that habit.

While I am making a conscious effort to limit my e-mailing, some individuals and corporations are clearly OK with sending out excessive numbers or electronic messages. Retailers seem to be the biggest culprits. On “Black Friday,” my entire personal inbox was crammed with sale information from the likes of Macy’s and J.Crew. I enjoy both stores and I do shop online at both sites, but I received multiple e-mails from both companies on that day alone. I get it, you’re having a sale! Please just tell me once – if I want to purchase something, I promise I will remember to use promo code “SantaForgotMe” and that your shipping is free for the next 47 minutes!

I also subscribe to certain blogs who are guilty of over e-mailing. Yes, I know that as a subscriber I am choosing to receive updates from your blog. And as a blogger myself, I understand wanting to notify readers when you post a new article, but if you are posting more than once each day, please send me one comprehensive daily e-mail. Or, better yet, compile all of your new posts into a weekly or bi-weekly newsletter – that’s what Gossett Marketing does. We find that it is more impactful to send a comprehensive e-mail every once in a while than to inundate our customers and followers with one-sentence messages. I don’t know about you, but Microsoft Outlook constantly tells me that my mailbox is almost full, and I do not feel like spending half of my day finding your rogue blog update e-mails to delete!

E-mail is a wonderful thing, but it needs to be used correctly. Always remember, spamming is not marketing! It just irritates your potential customers and could cost you business.

Check out this YouTube video – if you send spam you could be doing something illegal!

Asking for Referrals

Referral Now that you’ve been reading Gossett Marketing’s blog for some time I’m sure that you’ve become a networking guru! You attend chamber of commerce events, you meet people in “non-traditional” venues, you follow up, your business is gaining new customers. You rock! But…maybe you feel like you’ve hit a wall? Perhaps you’ve gotten to the point where you seem to see the same people at every event? What do you do if that’s the case?

Well, if you ask me, you’re lucky to have hit that networking “wall.” You’ve met a bunch of new people – many of whom have certainly begun to do business with you – and you’ve made your presence known. You might feel as though you’ve tapped out your network, but you haven’t! Because now that you are a known entity in your circle, it’s time to start proactively asking for more business.

Now, I know that it can be uncomfortable to ask for a referral – it can feel like you’re tooting your own horn! It’s time to get over that feeling: if you do a good job and deserve a referral, then I’m sure your customers will be more than happy oblige. The truth of the matter is that they don’t refer you until you ask them to because, well, they just don’t think about it. As businesspeople, we are all wrapped up in our day-to-day duties and that usually does not involve issuing referrals. So shoot an e-mail to that travel agent who told you she could introduce you to a potential customer at a cruise line – that simple reminder is usually all it takes to get a great new business contact!

If you still feel uncomfortable just coming out and asking a business contact for a referral, then I have another suggestion: refer them to someone. For instance, whenever I know someone who is looking for a qualified employee (or if I know a qualified employee who needs an employment agency), I contact Victoria & Associates. Victoria – the company’s president and CEO – almost always sends me a business opportunity in return. I’m helping her, so she is returning the favor. (Full disclosure: I feel absolutely comfortable simply asking Victoria for a referral, but I thought that was a good example because she is so generous and consistent about giving them.)

So now that you’re a networking guru, take the next step! Stop feeling frustrated because you don’t necessarily meet anyone new at events – use those old contacts for referrals!

Networking Outside the Box

Skiing I just read a post on Social Media Marketing with Warren Cass, and I thought that he had a terrific idea! He is in the process of organizing a networking/ski trip, “NetSki 2012.” As the post states, this type of trip is a superb way to get to know fellow business people because, “relationships build stronger and faster in [a ski vacation] type of environment than any other networking environment,” that he has seen.

I definitely agree with his assessment of networking outside the box. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, some of my best networking opportunities have been on the non-traditional variety – I know contacts from running groups, church, etc. and I tend to forge a stronger bond with those people than with those I meet at traditional events.

Unfortunately, I cannot join Netski 2012 – jetting off to Geneva just isn’t in the cards for me at the end of the month. However, maybe I can come up with my own non-traditional marketing event beyond those that I’ve already mentioned? Something that allows potential business contacts to open up to one another more quickly than they might at a Chamber of Commerce breakfast? I wonder if anyone in the South Florida area would be interested in, say, a cooking class or an outing on a boat? If so, please let me know – maybe Gossett Marketing will add “networking event planning” to its list of services!

Click on this YouTube video – another reason why I will not be attending NetSki is because I look just about this good on the slopes!

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