How Miami Keeps Businesses Booming During Slow Months

Miami Spice

Our company, Gossett Marketing, is located in Coconut Grove, Florida – a funky neighborhood in Miami. We all love our quirky slice of paradise, but I cannot tell a lie, it’s pretty darn miserable down here in the summer. Between tropical depressions, humidity, and mosquitoes, it’s just not a pleasant place to be from late June until late October (our summers are way too long!). Unfortunately for local industries, brutal summer conditions have a negative impact on business. There are fewer tourists, locals escape as often as possible, and even when we’re in town, everyone seems a little lazy this time of year. Frankly, no one even wants to go out to eat, meaning that restaurants really struggle. Fortunately for them, the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau has come up with a great way to entice us to leave our air-conditioned homes – the Miami Spice Program.

Miami Spice is an annual restaurant promotion in which many of our community’s top restaurants participate. They feature special 3-course prixe fixe lunch and dinner menus at extremely-discounted rates. For instance, at BLT Steak on a normal day, an a la carte steak runs about $39, but during Miami Spice an entire 3-course dinner for the same price – that’s clearly a substantial savings over what the same meal would cost during other months. This discounted pricing drives people to dine at restaurants that might otherwise be unaffordable and to go out more often. Perhaps the patrons will enjoy their experience so much that they will continue to return even after the summer ends!

The Miami Spice program has proven so successful that it keeps growing year after year. 2011 saw about 140 restaurants participate, and the organizers expect close to 200 participants this summer. These businesses are clamoring to be a part of Miami Spice to get diners through their doors, to gain word-of-mouth exposure from satisfied patrons, and to get repeat business during the summer and even after. It’s a win-win for everyone because it gets us hot, lazy Miamians out of the house even though it’s sweltering outside, and it keeps business booming during an otherwise-slow time of year. What fabulous marketing!

Why T-Shirts are Still Great Promo Products

T-Shirts When you think about promotional marketing products, what is the first item that springs to mind? For me, it’s t-shirts. Probably because I own an arsenal of imprinted T’s, which I change into as soon as I get home in the evening – I march around my neighborhood proudly sporting logos for all the world to see. Everyone in my neck of the woods has seen my FootWorks and Poorman’s Bar, Virgin Gorda tops so frequently that I’m sure my neighbors have both imprints committed to memory!

I probably over-wear my promotional t-shirts, but I’m not the only one out there in them. For instance, the Miami Heat gave out shirts during the playoffs, and I see their logo on someone’s chest at least once daily lately. Similarly, the ING Miami Half Marathon is a huge race in which tens of thousands of runners compete, all of whom receive a distinctive orange and blue moisture-wicking technical top that’s great to wear running. Well, every other day on my commute to work, I see two people who both jog in theirs. That’s biweekly marketing to me and all of the other drivers, runners, and walkers on their route.

The reason that t-shirts are the first promotional product that comes to mind when I think about my industry is because I see them so often – people who get them either wear them or give them to someone who will, meaning that they are marketing the companies to gave them away (or sold them, for that matter). If you aren’t doing so already, consider a logoed t-shirt as your next company giveaway! The recipient will probably wear it and give your brand extra exposure – it’s a win-win!

If you check out this YouTube video you will see the Baths on Virgin Gorda – you walk through them to get to the aforementioned Poorman’s Bar!

Combining Real-World with On-Line Networking

Networking Here at Gossett Marketing, we’re pretty engaged in social media networking. We’re comfortable asking for a recommendation on LinkedIn, we “like” other companies and people on Facebook, and we are definitely happy to engage with pretty much anyone on Twitter. We’re also active real-life networkers, as the company is a Trustee Member of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, where Danette will be co-chairing a committee next year. Plus, we’re out and about at a variety of other events on a weekly basis. We’re visible in two different networking universes, but it just dawned on me today that we should try to link those universes when we can – specifically, I think we should take the connections that we make in the “real world” and get to know them more deeply by using Twitter.

Weirdly, this idea that we should connect online with our real-world friends and colleagues came to me when I heard a Snapple commercial. At the end of the commercial the announcer says “Tweet us @Snapple” so that you can interact with the brand. Well, why am I not saying that to everyone I meet? And why am I not asking for their Twitter handles? I am constantly on Twitter chit-chatting with people from all over the world, so why wouldn’t I try to build my relationship with a new contact from a networking event in the same way? Instead, I generally call and e-mail, then if I don’t hear back from them I get frustrated and usually throw in the towel. Rather than allow my frustration to get the best of me, I could instead shoot these people a Tweet – if they don’t answer me, then maybe someone else from their company will!

Now, I know that not everyone is on Twitter, and even if they are on it, they might not be terribly active. That’s OK. I can still follow up with non-Tweeters in a more traditional way. But if I do meet individuals who enjoy the micro-blogging site, then it could benefit us both greatly by allowing us to get to know each other and share ideas in a casual atmosphere. If we get comfortable with each other in the Twitter-verse, then perhaps we could take the relationship back into the “real world” and start doing business together. Now I just need to add Gossett Marketing’s Twitter handle (@marketngtidbits) to my business card so I can actually use this new networking plan!

The Networking Benefits of Guest Blogging

Guest Blog Networking This week marked a huge first for InterestingMarketingTidbits.com – we had our first guest blogger! The fabulous Grant Tilus of Rasmussen College volunteered to write a great post for us, “5 Ways to Use Pinterest to Promote Your Business.” Gossett Marketing hasn’t taken the plunge into Pinterest, but we recognize how important it was, so it was fortunate to have an expert explain it through our blog.

In addition to providing our site with valuable content, Grant also helped us to promote his post by sharing it on Twitter and Google+, giving his writing and our blog site exposure to his followers. We’re also spreading the word to Twitter followers, Facebook friends, and LinkedIn connections. This tag-team approach to promoting a post has proven highly beneficial this week, as it has given us both exposure that we otherwise would not have gotten. For example, I know that many of Grant’s friends have taken the time to re-tweet his post, which is getting my website noticed by folks that I don’t know. And a number of my followers have also taken the time to read his article and share it with their followers. All of these new clicks are new sets of eyes that con potentially become business contacts – we can all start following each other on social media networks if nothing else.

Long story short, I learned this week that having a guest blogger or writing a guest post for someone else is a fabulous way to broaden your online presence. It’s a great networking strategy, and it has inspired me to reach out and post for someone!

Easy Branding with Promotional Products

Company Store One of the many great benefits of promotional marketing products is that, if used correctly, they help to strengthen your brand’s identity. For instance, if a company known for luxury products orders logoed iPad cases, then they should be high-end leather pieces with a subtle logo, not cheap neoprene sleeves. Or let’s say Coca-Cola plans to give out stress relievers at a tradeshow – they had better be in Coke’s iconic red or white with a red logo! Promos should convey the look and feel of the company and help spread the message that it hopes to convey, which enhances branding. But how can you ensure that all divisions of your corporation are using their promotional products to build your brand? One way is the creation of a company store.

A company store that features promotional goods is an ideal way to control the products that your business uses to represent itself, as it allows you to pick and choose the items that are allowed to be imprinted with your logo. For instance, Gossett Marketing is currently putting the finishing touches on an online store for one of our customers here in South Florida. We brought in hundreds of samples so that their corporate marketing department could appraise them for quality, color, imprint size, etc. The final selection was narrowed down to 400+ products that the company’s entities (which span 3 counties) can purchase. Because their employees have preapproved options that well represent the company, their marketing department can be sure that their branding is being enhanced by their promotional products.

Now, now every company spans three populous counties or needs over 400 promotional items to represent them, but even having a dozen approved pieces can really make a difference in strengthening your brand’s identity. Decide on items that are representative of your company, and create your own version of the aforementioned store – online or not, it can only help your branding.

3 Easy Ways to Shake Up Your Networking

fat shaker machine

It’s easy to get stuck in a networking rut, but it actually doesn’t require too much effort to get out of one. You can shake things up with non-traditional networking activities (like joining a club that has nothing to do with your business), by sponsoring events, etc. But the thought of putting yourself out there like that doesn’t appeal to everyone – maybe you’re very comfortable with your current chamber of commerce and want to continue to focus on networking there. What do you do to get out of your rut in that case? Here three easy ideas:

  1. Get more active in your chamber of commerce or other networking organization by joining a committee. This doesn’t have to be a tremendous time commitment (but it can be, particularly if you chair the committee) but it will give you more exposure to different members of the organization.
  2. Change your plan. Sometimes you get into a networking rut because you focus solely on what your fellow networkers can give you, so switch it up! Figure out referrals that you can give and connections that you can make then actually do it! Not only will helping your fellow chamber members grow their own businesses make you look like a stellar individual, chances are that they will be grateful enough to respond in kind.
  3. Connect differently with the members of your networking group. This day in age, we can know people in the real world, but if we don’t know them virtually, then we might be missing out on networking opportunities. Be sure to reach out online to the people that you already know from your networking efforts – by connection on LinkedIn or Twitter, you might have an opportunity to get to know their other online contacts just as they can discover yours. It’s a great way to broaden your horizons.

Even if you choose to stay within your comfort zone, you can shake up your networking activities to make them more productive. So try it out – your business will thank you!

Do you have any easy networking tips you’d like to add? Please feel free to do so in the comments section below.

Why Vector Art is Important for Promotional Products

Logos As a promotional marketing firm, Gossett Marketing deals with a lot of logos. We put them on everything from coffee mugs to beach towels to shoes (seriously, we can make you promotional pumps!). Printing these logos on such disparate items means that we have to resize them so that they fit within the allotted imprint area. This is why we request vector art from our customers.

When a new customer who isn’t used to ordering promotional products places his or her first order, more often than not he or she sends raster art files. Those are .jpg or .gif-type files, typically taken from their websites. Unfortunately, that kind of art file doesn’t work for us because when it is enlarged it tends to get “fuzzy” – blurry, pixilated, and just bad-looking when printed on a t-shirt.

Rather than raster art, we need vector files to imprint cleanly and clearly. Adobe Illustrator or EPS art files are created with resizing in mind. Logos that are created within Illustrator are formatted so that they can be enlarged or made much smaller without skewing the design. Vector art files also have smoother and cleaner edges, making them ideal for our purposes.

Now, sometimes individuals mistake placed images for vector art files. A placed image is one of the aforementioned types of raster art that is simply inserted into an EPS or Illustrator file, not created within it. Unfortunately, placed images do not function like true vector files, so they do not resize properly – and we can’t use them.

So the next time you order promotional marketing products save yourself some time and send vector art files from the start. Your distributor will thank you!

Give Promotional Products to the Right People

exam room I had strep throat late last week and over the weekend. When I woke up on Friday feeling exceedingly lousy, I decided that I needed to go to the doctor. Not having a primary care physician, I went to the Baptist Health Urgent Care Center in Coral Gables (full disclosure, Gossett Marketing is one of Baptist Health’s vendors).

Well, I got good treatment and thanks to antibiotics I am feeling much better, but what struck me during my visit was the huge number of promotional marketing products in the examination room. There was a chart depicting the musculature of the human body that was branded with the logo of some sort of medication. There was a calendar that had images of a certain type of bandages. And there were magnets that advertised some sort of topical ointment.

As you can tell, I noticed the promotional products; however, I don’t really know exactly what they were promoting. If you paid me, I probably wouldn’t be able to recall the names of the medical products that they were marketing. But that’s because I am not a part of the medical community! These promotional products are not meant for me – they are designed to keep those items top of mind to people who would prescribe them to or use them on patients.

When you give away promotional products, give them to the right people. It would have made zero sense for a pharmaceutical company to give me a logoed chart to promote a specific medication, but giving it to the Baptist Urgent Care Center is smart marketing! Give out promotional products, but be sure to give the right items to the right recipient.

Chick-fil-A’s Bargain Marketing

Chick Fil A Cows

I was reading the SunSentinel, a local South Florida newspaper, and spotted an article about the opening of a new Chick-fil-A in Pembroke Pines. To promote the grand opening, the franchise offered free Chick-fil-A for a year to the first 100 people in line in front of the store on the day that it opens. Those who win the prize will receive a coupon book that entitles them to one free meal per week for 52 weeks – not too shabby.

As it turns out, this giveaway has been a great promotion for the new Chick-fil-A location. Although only 100 coupon books were promised, over 180 people were in line outside of the restaurant with more reportedly on the way! I’m sure that some of this has to do with the trying financial times, but people also really like Chick-fil-A and just really want to get it for free. Regardless as to their reasoning, the folks who are standing outside its new location are doing great marketing for the store. They are coming out in droves to show their love of the brand, which is driving the local newspaper to write a story about the event, which gets the restaurant even more publicity. All that for the bargain price of 100 coupon books – good work Chick-fil-A!

This YouTube video of the Chick-fil-A cows (their mascot) doing some more inexpensive marketing for them – dancing to Thriller!

How to Tailor your Elevator Speech

Elevators

In the past I’ve written about the importance of having a great elevator speech for networking events. It is essential, and as dorky as it sounds, it’s something that you should really practice – in the mirror, with a coworker, to your dog. Get used to saying it so that you won’t be stumped when someone at a networking event asks the dreaded question: “what do you do?”

That being said, I’m also continually touting the importance of non-traditional networking because I certainly do believe that you can create business relationships anywhere, be it as part of a running club, a member of a church, or even while on vacation. When these atypical networking situations arise, do you use the same elevator speech that you would at your local chamber of commerce? In a word – no!

A standard networking event, be it a breakfast or a cocktail party, brings together a group of people who have the same goal in mind, they want to meet people who will ultimately help them grow their business. In that circumstance, I find it both necessary and appropriate to give a true elevator pitch (which, as I said, should be well rehearsed, but which shouldn’t sound like it!). Well, let’s say you’re volunteering with your church and the person next to you in the serving line at the soup kitchen asks you what you do. Frankly, in that case, the speech you have down pat would sound a little too rehearsed. If someone is making casual conversation in between scooping peas, they most likely don’t want to know the volume of business that you do with your major clients, they just want the bare-bones basics so that they can get a conversation started.

Now, even if you are giving a quick, nitty-gritty elevator speech in a non-traditional networking environment, it should still be polished and informative. For instance, if I was in the situation above and someone asked me what I do for a living, I would say “I am an Account Executive at Gossett Marketing, we are a promotional marketing firm in Coconut Grove. We specialize in producing the imprinted merchandise that keeps your company’s logo in front of your customers and potential customers 24/7, and we pride ourselves in the creation of custom creative items.” That gives my companion a good bit of information; however, it doesn’t overwhelm him with facts and figures or superfluous data. Basically, it’s a good conversation starter!

Consider your networking circumstances and deliver your elevator pitch accordingly – you never know, it might lead to big things, even if you’re giving it in line at the soup kitchen!

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