On-Trend Promotional Products

tote bag
Check out our newest video blog post in which Danette Gossett of Gossett Marketing and InterestingMarketingTidbits.com sits down with Jon from Gemline, one of our favorite brand reps, to discuss on-trend promotional products and how to bundle them. Click on the YouTube video below to see what Jon has to offer:

I love the tote bag that Jon features here – the teal color is a rich jewel tone that is really on-trend right now. Plus, the fact that it has a pen loop so it can hold a stylus pen is a real plus. It’s the winter and people are wearing gloves, making tablets and smart phones difficult to utilize, so a stylus is certainly handy. The last piece that Jon includes with the bundle, the tablet holder, is also nice because it matches the tote bag perfectly. Color coordinating like that can really enhance a brand’s identity, so it’s always nice when there are a variety of products available that are in the same hue. The great thing about Gemline’s tablet holders is that they accommodate a variety of devices, so whether you give this bundle to an iPad or Kindle Fire devotee, they’ll both be able to utilize it.

The idea of giving multiple promotional products at once is a great one, as it means that the recipient will most likely enjoy (and therefore use) at least one imprinted piece from the collection – excellent for marketing. And the fact that this particular bundle is on-trend is just an added bonus! Thanks for sharing these items with us, Jon!

Why Miami’s Oldest Bar Still Feels Young

miami bar A few weeks back, Tobacco Road, Miami’s oldest bar, turned 100 a few weeks back. Being a dive bar that is known for live music, The Road celebrated with two days of music and festivities that I wish I had attended – their bands, nachos, burgers, and cold beers are the stuff of legend! I had other events going on that weekend, though, so I was unavailable to celebrate the bar’s centennial birthday; thus, I thought I’d celebrate Tobacco Road here!

Miami is a fickle place. Restaurants open and close in a matter of weeks. Bars and lounges have to be so exclusive that normal people can’t even find them. We are the home of the NBA champions but can’t be bothered to show up to games on time. Basically, we’re a snobby bunch (as a native Miamian, I get to say that). That being said, it’s odd that a down-and-dirty dive bar like Tobacco Road would last so long, but it has because it’s been willing to change with the times.

Legend has it that Tobacco Road was granted Miami’s first liquor license in 1912, and it’s been on somewhat of a bumpy journey since then. You see, Miami was voted to be dry in 1913, well before Prohibition! Fortunately for those of us who enjoy The Road, it posed as a bakery while really operating as a speakeasy during that era. It was later purchased by a bookie and converted to a gay bar and strip club and temporarily shut down by the city. Then it operated under various names and owners until the 70’s, when it was purchased by a former police officer and given back its original moniker. The 80’s was a troubled decade for the bar as the so-called “Cocaine Cowboys” sidled into town, making its neighborhood a troubled one. But it was during that time that the bar started hosting well-known blues and jazz acts, like George Clinton and John Lee Hooker. Those big-name acts drew in new patrons who found that the bar had a great atmosphere and excellent food, and kept coming back for more. Today, the bar hosts special events like food truck rallies and holiday celebrations, and it doesn’t look like having 100 years under its belt is going to slow The Road down.

Very little lasts for 100 years down here in South Florida, but Tobacco Road has managed to do so by going with the flow. It has changed with the times and established itself as a venerable institution that I hope hangs around for another century! Cheers to Tobacco Road!

Networking: It’s Not a Sales Pitch

shamwow While I do not claim to be a business networking expert, I have attended my fair share of events and have picked up some good techniques – and some pet peeves – along the way. One such peeve, the peeve that makes me the peeviest, if you will, is individuals who try to sell at networking events. That’s not what it’s about, people!

If you ask me (or if you ask anyone who actually is a networking expert), the reason that businesspeople network is to build mutually-beneficial relationships. The point is to connect with someone and learn about their occupation while teaching them about your own. Ultimately, then, you’ll be able to refer business back and forth to one another. So in my case, I network with fellow members of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce so that one day when someone asks them if they know of a good promotional marketing distributor, the person with whom I’ve worked to build a relationship will say, “yes! Call Lillian at Gossett Marketing!”

Relationship building is why I – and most other people – participate in networking events. With that as my focus, I get truly irritated that others attend events in order to sell me their goods or services. If a stranger walks up to me and I think he is going to deliver his “elevator speech,” but instead he tells me about the great deal he can get me on some product, it feels like the networking equivalent of a telemarketer calling at dinner time. I probably don’t want what he’s selling, and he’s interrupting what I’m trying to do. Annoying! I might take his card, but I can guarantee that I’m not going to volunteer my own (and if he asks for one, then I might have “left them all at the office”).

If you want to sell me something that’s well and good, but build a relationship with me first. A sales pitch is far different than an elevator pitch – and it’s certainly not networking.

Happy Thanksgiving from Gossett Marketing!

thanksgiving

The whole Gossett Marketing team wishes you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving. We are thankful for all of our clients, blog subscribers, and Facebook fans, and Twitter followers. We appreciate your support!

The Holidays: Chock Full of Networking Opportunities

holiday season I can’t believe that tomorrow is Thanksgiving, meaning that the Holiday Season is kicking into high gear! Aside from harrowing trips to the mall and eating way too many cookies, this stretch of the year is prime time for networking. I know you’re thinking that I’m nuts because who has the time to network right before Christmas? But trust me on this one – the Holiday Season is a fabulous time to build your web of business contacts. Here’s why.

First of all, the Holidays bring parties. Lots of parties! Your office probably has one, your significant other’s probably does too, not to mention the ornament exchanges, cocktail soirees, open houses, and the like (I’m tired already!). These might not be “official” networking events, but they are definitely opportunities to meet new people. Now, your main focus at holiday parties might not necessarily be to network, but it couldn’t hurt to talk shop a bit and to exchange phone numbers if it seems like your new friend might turn into a new business opportunity!

The Holiday Season isn’t just about parties, if you have children or grandchildren, you will probably end up attending some sort of pageant as well. Whether at a church, school, or elsewhere it will bring together different people with a common interest – the kids. That immediately gives you a talking point to bring up to the important-looking stranger next to you (“see the singing angel on the left side of the stage? That’s my daughter! Who are you here for?”). He’ll definitely want to tell you why he’s there, and from that point you can potentially bring up business. Easy networking!

As busy as this time of year is, there sure seems to be a lot of waiting. Take the kids to sit in Santa’s lap – wait in line for an hour to get to him. Find the perfect gift – wait to pay for them. Obviously the reason that you’re waiting is because other people are around you, waiting too. So why not put down the iPhone chat with the people around you? You might not land a million dollar account because you started talking to the woman behind you in line at Bloomingdale’s, but maybe you’ll get a good referral. If nothing else, it will help to pass the time.

As you can see, the Holiday Season is chock full of networking opportunities. Embrace them because you never know who you might meet and how you can help one another build your businesses.

Just for a chuckle, watch this YouTube clip from A Christmas Story – now THAT’S a line to see Santa!

Particularly Popular Promotional Products

young men's t-shirt
According to the most recent Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) study, imprinted t-shirts are the second most popular promotional marketing products, following writing instruments and ahead of bags. I often recommend giving away t-shirts for marketing purposes because they really do get worn – the next time you run into the grocery store on a weekend morning, you’ll notice that half of the shoppers are in promotional shirts! Plus, when someone sports a logo across his chest or back, the people around him will see it – allowing it to make multiple impressions while being worn. And lots of eyes on your logo is always a good thing!

Clearly I like promotional t-shirts, and I’m not the only one! According the ASI study almost half of US consumers own one, regardless as to their income levels. The study also points out that 46% of men own promo shirts, as opposed to 41% of women and that young consumers, between the ages of 21-34, are the portion of the population most likely to own one. Based on this information, I’d suggest that companies who cater to younger men should strongly consider giving them t-shirts because they are group who will probably wear them most.

Not surprisingly many of our corporate apparel suppliers have begun to sell t-shirts that are geared to the 21-34 year old age bracket. They have a more modern (read: fitted) cut and are offered in more fashionable colors and styles than your traditional Hanes or Gildan crewneck. Similarly, many of the decorators who actually imprint the logos on t-shirts have come up with really unique methods for doing so – they can give a distressed look, a 3-D effect, or even laser etch upon them, making promotional shirts look very “retail” instead of looking like cheap giveaways.

I recommend that anyone give away promotional shirts, but video game companies, record labels, teams, and anyone else who caters to the 21-34 male demographic should really take note of the ASI study and start giving them out with gusto. If they’re not doing so, then they’re missing out on a huge marketing opportunity!

To see a ton of imprinted t-shirts in a short amount of time, check out this YouTube video of a man setting the Guinness World Record for the most t-shirts worn at once!

Why & How to be Memorable at Events

stand out from the crowd I was recently at a Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce luncheon where, during the networking portion of the event, I had great conversations with very interesting people. I learned a lot about their businesses, they learned a lot about my roll at Gossett Marketing, and I walked away from our encounters with the understanding that we would follow up with one another and try to work together in the future. Then came the actually luncheon portion of the program – I had talked to so many people during our designated networking time that I had to grab one of the only seats that was left. As it turns out, my table mates were all accountants or lawyers and when we went around to introduce themselves, that’s all they said. No one said “I’m an accountant specializing in X and I’m looking to expand my business by connecting with Y.” No one explained that she was an attorney who sought to grow her corporate litigation practice in Latin America. It was just, “my name is Mary and I’m an accountant” or “I’m Joe and I’m a lawyer.” You know what? Although I sat with these people for much longer than I spent with the individuals I met during the networking half-hour, when I left the event I barely remembered them!

The point of that little tale is to point out how important it is to differentiate yourself at networking events. There are lots of accountants and attorneys out there – there are lots of promotional marketing product distributors running around too – so if you want to get noticed you need to make yourself and your business stand out from the pack. For example, when I introduce myself to someone at an event, my elevator speech includes the fact that I am an Account Executive at Gossett Marketing, a certified woman-owned business that has been around for 20 years and that while we do provide our customers with “standard” promos, our specialty is completely custom giveaways. If the person that I’m speaking to wants more, then I elaborate by telling them that we are the exclusive promotional products supplier for Baptist Health South Florida and explain the online store and incentive programs we’ve created for the company. Sure, it’s a lot to fit into about 30 seconds, but I think (I hope) it makes me memorable. If nothing else, it provides sufficient information to start a conversation.

I can see how some people might not be comfortable telling total strangers all about their job, but that’s what you’re at a networking event for, right? If you tell me that you’re a lawyer and that’s all the information you’re willing to volunteer, then we’re going to part ways and probably never speak to one another again. But if you tell me that you love being an immigration attorney because you form such a deep bond with your clients, then I’ll remember you! It doesn’t take much to make yourself memorable – elaborate on what you do, tell me what kind of business you’re trying to gain at the event, heck, tell me about your dog! Just do something to make yourself memorable, and I’ll try to do the same so that we can both benefit from meeting one another.

Goofy Promotional Products to get the Party Started

Goofy Mask
Is it just me or have you ever noticed that office holiday parties can be a little bit awkward? Sure, you might see your coworkers for 40+ hours each week, but that doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily friends or, well, that you want to party with them! So how can a business owner who wants his employees to have a good time break the ice? With silly accessories of course!

Recently a package of samples arrived at Gossett Marketing headquarters and, well, it was filled with odd items. At first glance, we thought that it was a bunch of uniquely-shaped Mylar balloons; however, upon further inspection, we realized that they weren’t what they seemed. These were not balloons, but inflatable visors and masks that each had a different full-color imprint. They were quite large and really rather silly, and of course we immediately had to put them on and look at ourselves in the mirror! The sample I chose was a Mardi Gras-themed mask that had the Bacardi logo front and center (that’s me in the picture above). It was brightly colored and it made me over 6 feet tall – that’s noticeable! I’m sure that Bacardi has either given them out at Mardi Gras or plans to do so in the future, which will garner them a great amount of marketing exposure and certainly inspire many people in New Orleans to order a rum drink.

Now your company might not want you to go quite at your office party as you might at Mardi Gras, but giving out these fun Mylar masks would be a unique way to break the ice at your event! It’d be a blast to hand out imprinted masks or visors to the people on the dance floor, and they’re so ridiculous looking that I know everyone would loosen up and have a blast wearing them. Plus, I’d be willing to bet that they would take pictures of themselves sporting them and post them to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – meaning that your logo would be visible to their followers. They’re goofy promotional products, but Mylar masks and visors would be a really fun way to get your company holiday party (or any party) started!

Mistakes Happen: It’s Their Resolution That Matters

we're only human If you’re not part of the promotional products industry, then you don’t know the kind of weird issues that can potentially come up when we place orders. There are a lot of cooks in the kitchen – our customers order from us, we order from our suppliers, our suppliers manipulate artwork, proofs go back and forth… You get the picture, even the purchase of a simple imprinted pen is a rather involved process and unfortunately, that means that mistakes can get made. While no promotional products suppliers or distributors are flawless, some handle their errors better than others and in my opinion, that’s what separates the wheat from the chaff. Here’s an excellent example of a supplier finding a solution to a human error.

A few weeks ago Susan, a member of the Gossett Marketing team, heard from her contact at Norwegian Cruise Line. She was looking for some desktop flags to distribute to their sales force, and had very specific requirements in mind. After doing some research, Susan found the perfect flag and had its manufacturer, Quinn Flags, send her customer a sample. As it turned out, the sample was the perfect size, great quality, and it had a gold spear atop the stick, which is exactly what the cruise line wanted, so they proceeded with the order. It was a breeze working with Norwegian Cruise Line and Quinn Flags to finalize the artwork, and the flags shipped out quickly. Susan’s customer received them, and while she was delighted with the flags themselves, their sticks came without the gold spears that NCL had specifically requested!

We hate to get a call about an incorrect order, but shortly after the flags were delivered that’s just what Susan got because the flags needed the gold spears in order to fit in seamlessly with an ongoing program. We pride ourselves in customer service, so Susan assured her customer that we’d remedy the issue no matter what (while this wasn’t a mistake on our end, we would have resolved the issue at our expense if necessary), then she turned to Quinn to figure out a solution. Fortunately, the folks at Quinn Flags couldn’t have been nicer! They bent over backwards to figure out the best way to fix their mistake and ultimately decided to send us new sticks that we can affix to the flags ourselves. While this might make an hour’s extra worth of work for the Gossett Marketing gang, it gets Norwegian their proper flags as quickly as possible, so we’re happy to do it.

As I mentioned, we pride ourselves on customer service and we try to make as few mistakes as possible; however, they happen – we’re only human! Whether the mistake is on our end or if the error was one of our supplier’s, we have to remedy the situation – that’s why I love to work with suppliers like Quinn Flags, who take their customer service as seriously as we do. There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to ordering promotional products, so be sure that you trust your distributors and that they, in turn, have good relationships with their suppliers. Trust me, it will make your marketing efforts run more smoothly!

Consider Your Body Language When Networking

Body Language The Gossett Marketing gang spends a tremendous amount of time at networking events all over Miami, so we’re all fairly familiar with how to compose ourselves in those types of situations. We dress appropriately, we pack plenty of business cards, we’ve nailed our elevator pitches, and we are certainly never rude. Basically, we know how to network and we’re not afraid to do it. But I know a there are a lot of who objectively know how to compose themselves at such events, but they find that their networking efforts are in vain. In my humble opinion, I’m willing to bet that these unsuccessful networkers suffer from bad body language.

While I don’t consciously consider other individuals’ body language at networking events (or really at any other time, for that matter), when I think back to the last Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce luncheon that I attended, I realize that there were some people that I did not approach due to the way they carried themselves. You see, when I walked into the Jungle Island ballroom’s reception area, I didn’t spot anyone that I knew, and in that situation I always look for a person or group to whom I might introduce myself. The nearest person was a woman who was standing by herself – normally I would have walked over to say hello, but she had her arms crossed tightly over her chest and when I made eye contact, she looked away immediately. Her stance made her seem closed off and the fact that she would not even look me in the eye made it obvious that she didn’t want to meet me, so I moved on. Thinking back, I realize that had she had her arms crossed but made eye contact or if she had had a difficult time making eye contact but held her arms to her sides, I definitely would have spoken to her because I would have taken her body language as a sign of being nervous rather than one of quasi-hostility.

Later on at the same event, I began speaking with someone who could not seem to stand even remotely still. As we chatted, he fidgeted with his watch and cufflinks, he bounced on his toes, and he shifted from foot to foot with alarming frequency. While I recognize that we’re not statues, it was a lot of movement from one man as we stood in one place conversing. I couldn’t tell if he was nervous, if he had someone better to speak to so he was trying to wrap up our chat, or, frankly, if he needed to use the men’s room. Awkward! Someone that jittery needs to tone it down on the caffeine before a networking event and invest some time in practicing to hold himself still during a conversation. Shifting your weight now and again or scratching an itch from time to time is fine, but a no one should fidget so much during a five minute conversation that it makes the person to whom he’s speaking uncomfortable.

I know I’ve been guilty of body language blunders and I’m sure that I will commit them again, but I try to keep them to a minimum. How you hold yourself is probably not something that you consciously consider on a day-to-day basis, but take a moment to think about it while you throw your shoulders back and hold your head high at networking events.

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