A Memorial Day Message

Memorial Day

Yesterday was Memorial Day here in the United States. It’s the day when we honor fallen members of our Armed Services. To all of the heroes who have lost their lives for our freedom and to those Armed Service men and women who are still serving our country, we here at Gossett Marketing would like to say thank you.

Tomorrow the blog will be back to our usual marketing, networking, and promotional tips, but we so rarely get a chance to say thank you that we felt it important to do just that.

White Hot Miami Heat’s Unique Promotional Product

UD 40 Bandage Being a Miami company, everyone in the Gossett Marketing organization is a huge Heat fan, and I’m certainly no exception. Tuesday night’s game was great because the team won, but it was also neat from a promotional marketing perspective because they gave out a really unique promo product to the fans who made their way into American Airlines Arena – a logoed bandage to wear above their right eyes!

Now, I know that sounds like a bizarre promotion because, well, it kind of is. But you see one of the Heat’s co-captains, Udonis Haslem, had been having a so-so playoff run until Sunday’s game. During that contest, he was elbowed in the head, which caused a rather messy cut to open up above his right eye. It ultimately required 9 stitches, but there wasn’t time for that before the end of the game, so the trainers slapped a bandage over his eyebrow and he continued to play. And play he did! He was instrumental in the Heat’s win over the Pacers on Sunday, with a good portion of them coming after his bloody injury!

Haslem is a South Florida native and a fan favorite, so at the next home game, the Heat gave out bandages similar to the one he wore during his excellent performance on Sunday. They were emblemized with his nickname “UD40” (UD is short for Udonis, 40 is Haslem’s number), and many fans wore them over their right eyes as a tribute. Watching Tuesday’s game was a lot of fun because it’s great to see everyone in the arena wearing their white t-shirts (to celebrate the White Hot Heat) with an added bandage – a fan uniform that really made an impact and was surely a touching gesture to one of Miami’s favorite players!

Now that you know a little bit about him, click on this YouTube video to see some UD40 highlights:

3 Easy Summer Networking Tips

Pool

I don’t know about where you live, but down here in Miami, networking really slows down during the summer months. There are fewer events, fewer people in town, and frankly, because it’s hot, humid, and rainy, no one really wants to put on a suit and get out there to meet new people.

Even though no one seems interested in summertime networking, I think it’s a great time to do so – just maybe not at a chamber of commerce event. But how do you build your business network when there are no opportunities to do so? You make the opportunities! Here are 3 ways to do so.

  1. Get in touch with the people that you’ve met at previous networking events. Do you ever come back from an event excited by the people that you met, get in touch with them, and then have nothing come of it? Touch base with them. Invite them to lunch. Send them your logoed promotional product with a note. Do something to get reacquainted and to earn their business or their referral.
  2. Meet people on vacation. I know you don’t want to spend your trip glad-handing and passing out business cards, but if you’re anything like me, then you strike up the occasional conversation with fellow travelers when you’re waiting to board a plane or when you sit next to each other at the pool. If you get to know them and what they do, then maybe you will find that you can do business together. This day in age, you don’t need to live in the same city as your customers, so don’t let that be an excuse not to network with fellow tourists.
  3. Prepare for the fall. Once the kids go back to school, networking begins again in earnest. So use the relative calm of summer to figure out a strategy. Do you need to join a chamber of commerce? If you’re already a member, do you have time to chair a committee? Are there individuals whose business you really want to achieve in the coming school year? Figure out the answers to those questions and make a plan for yourself.

While it’s tempting to be a summer networking slacker, you should instead use this time to your advantage. Get ahead of the competition by creatively and intelligently networking throughout the summer!

Why You Should Give Good Shopping Bags

Shopping Bags If you own a store, then chances are that you give your customers the products that they buy in logoed shopping bags. That’s great – it gives your store’s name good marketing exposure as they haul their purchases around the mall. But what do they do with those bags when they get home? Chances are that if it’s a low-quality item, they simply toss it, and your logo along with it. But if it’s a nice shopper, then they might save and reuse it – giving you extra marketing opportunities later on.

I first noticed the impact of shopping bags when I studied abroad in Spain. As I rode the bus each day to the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, I would see ladies carrying black Mango or white Zara bags, both of which were made of very rigid stock with soft handles. They would carry the same shopping bags for weeks at a time, and I’d watch them get more and more beat up as the mornings went by. That meant that those stores had their logos on Madrid’s buses at least twice a day for around 21 days – they essentially had interior-bus ads that they didn’t have to pay for!

Back in the states I’ve noticed another shopping bag phenomenon. Lululemon Athletica gives out recycled shopper totes that snap closed when you make a purchase in their store. I happen to live near a Lululemon, and I see their distinctive bags all over my neighborhood. But again, I see the same people carrying the same bag – probably to work with their lunch, a different pair of shoes, or even workout clothing within. It’s another example of virtually-free marketing – logo exposure all around town for the price of a shopping bag.

Take a look at your shopping bags. If they’re not worth reusing, then maybe you should consider ordering a nicer model. For a small investment, they could potentially increase your marketing exponentially.

Check out this YouTube video – 10 things to do with Lululemon’s reusable shopping bag:

Sun Safety with Some Marketing Thrown In

Sun If you haven’t watched the fun featured video on this blog’s landing page, then you’ve probably never seen me in person, which means that you are unaware that I am the palest-complected Miamian on record. I grew up in South Florida, but I’m not blessed with the ability to be able to tan under our sunny skies; instead, I burn to a crisp and blister if I’m outside, unprotected for too long. Well, summer is here, and my fair skin makes Miami life somewhat difficult for me – it’s hot, so I want to wear sleeveless tops and shorts, but because I burn even walking from my car into a store (really!), I have to be very conscientious.

Now that you know that it’s not some bronzed goddess writing Gossett Marketing’s blog, I’ll let you in on another secret about me: I’m kind of a sun-protection nag. When my college roommate went to a tanning bed (shudder!) before spring break, I Googled skin cancer on her computer and left websites open to show her just how much damage she had done to her skin. But it’s true, too much sun exposure can cause wrinkles, sun spots, and much, much worse.

That being said, the summer is also a great time for you and your company to promote sun protection – maybe not as obnoxiously as I did, though. You can give away sunscreen that includes your logo at tradeshows or even at the beach. Or you can give your employees summer uniforms, polo shirts treated so that they offer UPF sun protection, that have an embroidered imprint on one of the sleeves. That way, when they run around town they’ll be safe from UV rays, and your brand will get exposure. I like logoed sunglasses and hats because they offer protection and marketing too, so consider giving those to employees and customers alike!

Protect yourself, your customers, and your employees this summer… No one wants to end up looking like the now-infamous “Tanning Mom” or the cast of Jersey Shore!

You Need to Get Creative with Promotional Products!

Bikes

One thing that I’ve learned during my time at Gossett Marketing is that you really can put your company’s logo on anything. Big, small, inexpensive, pricey – you name it, and chances are that it can be customized to represent your business. Here are some favorites:

  • Cookies – not a boring old tin of chocolate chip! You can have delicious cookies shaped and decorated to look just like your logo. It’s a tasty and memorable treat, and a great way to say thank you to your customers.
  • Costumes – if you are Del Monte and want to send representatives out dressed as bananas, then you want to be sure that they stand out as Del Monte bananas, not the competition’s. A great way to do that is to add a logo that looks like a produce sticker to the costume’s “peel.”
  • Crystal – high-end crystal such as Orrefors can be elegantly etched to include your company’s imprint in a subtle location. If you have an employee who has gone above and beyond and you want to recognize her, give her a lovely vase, which will remind her of her accomplishments every time she sees it (and will give her cause to mention your company any time anyone compliments the high-end piece).
  • Spirit Items – you know those foam #1 fingers that you see at sporting events? Well, you can completely customize them. For example, I got an e-mail the other day from a supplier who will use the same material to make a basketball-shaped headpiece! It’s a unique item that shows your team spirit and that will certainly get people talking!
  • Bicycles – yup, you can use a bike as a promotional product! If you’re very generous, then you might consider giving them out to new customers. Or perhaps your employees pedal to work as part of a green or exercise initiative. If so, then you can treat them to a new bicycle when they hit a particular milestone. With your logo clearly imprinted in multiple locations, when the matching bikes are chained up outside of your office, they will serve as a great piece of marketing! Not only will they give the company’s name exposure, but it will show how environmentally friendly or fit you are!

I could go on and on, but I don’t want to bore you with an endless list. What it all boils down to is that you should get creative with your promotional marketing materials. Doing so ensures that you will stand out from the competition!

Blogs are for Networking too

Blog The more time that I spend working on Gossett Marketing’s social media presence, the more convinced I am of its importance as a networking tool. I can sit at my desk in Coconut Grove, Florida, and have valuable interactions with other marketers and promotional products distributors from around the country and around the world. As I’ve said in the past, I find Twitter to be an exceptional online marketing tool, but so too are LinkedIn, Facebook, and even blogs. From the get-go, it’s been fairly easy for me to grasp how to use the three aforementioned social networking sites to, well, network. But until I started to get comments on this blog, I had no idea that it could be an additional online networking tool.

Being Gossett Marketing’s social media “expert” (haha), I spend a lot of time writing for this blog. Sometimes it seems like I pump out information that no one reads, and it’s frustrating! There are days when I wonder why I spend so much time drafting these articles that people may or may not see. Weirdly, almost every time that I’ve had those negative thoughts, someone has commented on one of my posts and then I know that someone – even if it’s just one person – is, in fact, reading! It makes my day and renews my will to blog on.

Knowing that an individual has read and taken the time to comment on one of my blog post not only lifts my spirits, but it gives me the immediate impetus to “meet” them online. I immediately follow them on Twitter, friend them on Facebook, and connect with them on LinkedIn. Plus, I will check out their blog, assuming that they have one, and return the favor by commenting on one of his or her posts. It’s full-force online networking that starts with just a few sentences, and it has allowed me to meet some really great marketing people who share valuable information.

I don’t actually know if other people use blog comments as a way to connect with new people over the internet, but I sure do. Now I need to write some comments of my own and meet some more fabulous marketers and promotional product distributors! Time to walk the walk instead of just talking the talk!

Scent Marketing – A Subliminal Approach

Scent Marketing Kitten I was reading the “Tourism in the Tropics” section of the Miami Herald when I noticed a piece about the ScentWorld Expo, which is being held at the Gansevoort Hotel on Miami Beach this week. I’d never heard of such an expo, so I did a little bit of research – it is presented by the Scent Marketing Institute, which is a scent marketing group. Pretty neat!

I’ve always heard that the sense of smell is one of our strongest memory triggers, but it never occurred to me that it’s used in marketing. Well, it is! Many companies have created signature scents that represent their brand and with which they fragrance their facilities. For instance, the Gansevoort has a subtle green tea aroma, and Jimmy Choo boutiques has a fresh scent to put their customers at ease, make them linger longer, and hopefully purchase an expensive pair of heels. After visiting either the aforementioned hotel or boutique, individuals who experience their scents later will connect them to either place – hopefully this will bring back memories a relaxing vacation or a worthwhile splurge, and thus making them both happy and mindful of either brand. That’s almost subliminal marketing!

If Gossett Marketing had a scent, I’d think it would be something tropical and bright, a reflection of our Coconut Grove location and the energetic attitude displayed by our team. What would yours be?

Distinctive Promos Stand Out

Volvo Ocean Race

The Volvo Ocean Race is making its only North American stop in Miami this week. For those of you not familiar with it, it is a sailing race that pits six sailboats against one another in a 39,000 nautical mile race around the world. It began in November 2011 in Alicante, Spain, and will end in Galway, Ireland at some point in July. As if completing the journey between distant ports wasn’t enough, the competitors also do races locally when they arrive – victories in these add to their overall points total. Sounds exhausting!

Although it’s certainly tiring for the participants, the Volvo Ocean Race sure is fun for Miamians and tourists alike! A Race Village has been established in downtown Miami that will be open for two weeks. It features exhibits from various entities (everything from sculptors to Abu Dhabi), pop-up shops from the likes of Puma, a 3-D theater, and tons of activities for adults and kids alike. It’s a terrific draw to get people downtown after work and on the weekends, and to get out of town guests to visit a more local/business-oriented part of the city. I really enjoyed my visit and, as usual, I kept track of the different promotional marketing materials that I saw. Being a boating event that is hosted by a car company, I thought they would be heavily nautical/automotive-oriented, but surprisingly they were not! Here are some of the fun things I saw.

  • Custom Ping Pong Paddles – Puma had a ping pong table set up, and the players were using paddles imprinted with the brand’s feline logo.
  • Mouse Pads – The aforementioned Abu Dhabi pavilion had mouse pads that looked like traditional hand-woven rugs. They would be so cute on a desktop, giving it some Middle Eastern flair.
  • Koozies – Sure these can be used on boats or in cars, but I think of them first and foremost as tailgating items. LaCroix gave out cans of its cool sparkling water within logoed insulators, which I, for one, kept and plan on using at the stadium.

Sure, there were the usual caps, t-shirts, floating key chains, and imprinted bottles of sunblock, but those were somewhat obvious giveaway choices at a sailing event. The ping pong paddles, mouse pads, and koozies stood out to me at the event, which is why I think they were excellent promotional products for the Race Village.

Check out this YouTube video of the Volvo Ocean Race – it’s intense!

Networking as an Insurance Policy

I love Insurance pin The University of Miami’s president, Donna Shalala, announced recently that there will be “significant” cutbacks to the University of Miami Hospital’s non-medical staff in May. Unfortunately, the economy, along with several other factors, have impacted the Hospital and made these layoffs a necessary for the Hospital’s survival. As a Miamian I hate to hear that any local entity needs to reduce the size of its staff, plus I have several friends and Gossett Marketing has customers who work there, so I’m witnessing first-hand how painful this situation really is.

I’ve spoken to a number of friends and business associates who work at UMH and whose jobs are in jeopardy and they’re certainly nervous about the prospect of being let go; however, they are seeing the announcement from President Shalala as a positive as well. They feel like they’ve been given a bit of notice so that they can jump into their job search now – before their potential layoff.

One thing that all of the UMH folks I’ve talked to have in common is that they’re using their time in limbo to really beef up their networking. They are reaching out to their contacts to see if they know of any available positions, they’re asking for referrals and introductions, they’re connecting on LinkedIn. Many going to networking events that they normally would not attend so that they can make new contacts, one of whom surely knows of someone who is hiring. Not only are they going these standard networking routes, but they’re also striking up conversations with the person next to them at the deli counter or in the waiting room at the dentist’s office. They’re putting themselves out there and using every opportunity to see what is, in turn, out there for them.

I sincerely hope that no one I know who works at the University of Miami Hospital gets laid off, but until that announcement is made, I’m impressed by their proactive approaches to finding new positions. No one wants to be the victim of a cut back; however, no matter what your business may be, that is always a remote possibility. All the more reason why you should stay on top of your networking – the more contacts you have, the better your chances of getting a great referral if you do lose your job. Sure networking is a great way to enhance your current position, but it’s also a great insurance policy.

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