Miami Marlins: The Buck Stops Where?

miami marlins owner I can understand if readers in other parts of the country or the world don’t follow the Miami Marlins baseball team: they finished last in the standings for 2012, after all. But if you do live in Miami, then you can’t help but hear about the team lately – and not for good reasons. You see, the Marlins have fired manager Ozzie Guillen, traded the majority of our good players to the Blue Jays, will be fielding a team of relative unknowns when the season officially starts, and yet local tax dollars have funded the team’s new stadium. This is not the way to get on the good side of any Miamian, as we are notoriously finicky fans.

Through the bulk of the offseason, Miami has seethed because our baseball team was dismantled (again) by its owner in an effort to cut costs. And although our local broadcasters addressed the situation time and time again, their criticism was met with nothing. Absolutely nothing. The Marlins organization simply stopped communicating with the community. That is, they stopped until owner Jeffrey Loria published an open letter in our local newspapers. If you care to read the letter, you can do so by clicking here.

Whether or not you read it doesn’t really matter, I’ll give you the gist. It starts by saying that as the owner of the team the buck stops with Loria – then it goes on to blame everyone other than himself or his front office staff (which includes his stepson – no nepotism there!) for the team’s shortcomings. He writes that the roster underperformed (yet his trade with the Blue Jays will fix that). He states that the ballpark is being funded by tourist taxes, not taxes on locals (which is true, but those funds could have been allocated elsewhere). Loria then blames the fans for less-than-great attendance (as I mentioned, we are fickle fans who only attend games when our teams are winning – look at the sold out Heat games and unattended Dolphins events as further examples). Then he says that the organization will begin to communicate with the public and reminds us that he owned the team when we won the 2003 World Series.

I am a native Miamian and an avid baseball fan who grew up attending Marlins games, so I take the current state of the team to heart. But even if you are completely disengaged from Miami, baseball, team sports in general, it’s clear that Jeffrey Loria is handling the distaste towards his team incorrectly. If, as he says in his letter, the buck stops with him, then he needs to take the heat for the sad state of the Marlins and stop blaming seemingly everyone else for the team’s issues. Alienating his fans even further is just bad business, and Loria’s letter to Miami should have read simply, “I’m sorry, I’ll fix it.”

How to Have an Award Winning Attitude

academy awards

While I did not watch the Academy Awards this year, I did catch some of the coverage the next day.  One clip I saw was George Stephanopoulos interviewing Best Actress winner Jennifer Lawrence.  The funny thing about the interview is that at some point Jack Nicholson noticed the newly-minted Oscar winner and decided to interrupt to congratulate her.  Lawrence is visibly shocked that the Hollywood icon would walk up to her and it’s clear to anyone watching that she’s excited by the recognition – although she is firmly on Hollywood’s A-List, the interview makes it plain that she isn’t jaded (yet or hopefully ever).  Watch the clip below then continue reading so I can get to my point (yes, I have one!).

And now to my point (see? I told you it was coming). I think that Jennifer Lawrence’s post-Oscars Good Morning America interview is just charming: while she has just landed the top honor in her field, she’s not afraid to be a goofball or to be excited to meet an idol. Although most of our professions aren’t as glamorous as acting and our achievements don’t include Academy Awards, I think that, as businesspeople, we should take a cue from the actress’s great attitude. When we win something – or even if someone just compliments us on a job well done – we should accept it, but take it in stride. No one needs to let awards go to their head!

Aside from not letting praise or awards inflate our egos too much, we can all emulate Jennifer Lawrence’s excitement over her encounter with a living legend. Don’t be weird about it, but let’s say you are at a networking event and you happen to sit next to someone whose work you admire – tell her that you do. You don’t have to gush, but I’ll bet that she’ll be flattered that you know who she is, she’ll like to hear that you respect what she does, and I can all but guarantee that she’ll be more willing to have a conversation (and hopefully, ultimately do business) with you.

Anyhow, I admire Jennifer Lawrence mainly because of her seemingly down-to-earth nature – which very well could be an act, as she is an award-winning actress. But even if it is put on, her attitude seems great and it’s one that we can learn from in our networking and business dealings by being confident but not cocky and by feeling comfortable expressing our admiration for others.

Promotional Products Work! (here’s proof)

Promo products work
Promotional Products Work! Week runs from February 25th through March 1st, 2013 and its main purpose is pretty self-explanatory: it’s a weeklong celebration of the effectiveness of promotional marketing products. To mark the occasion, the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) has released a new study that demonstrates just how powerful promo products are as tools to build brand awareness. Some key facts that stood out to me are the following:

  • People keep promotional products that are useful – and they see computer products, health products, and writing instruments as the most useful.
  • Promotional items make it easy for the audience to recall a brand and its message. According to the study, “88% of recipients recalled the advertiser from a promotional product received in the past 12 months, 71% recalled the advertisers on a newspaper or magazine read a week before.” Giveaways, then, are significantly more powerful than print ads.
  • Prior to receiving promotional items from a particular company, 55% of recipients had done business with that organization, but after receiving promos, 85% did business with the company. A 30% jump in business is huge!
  • The most frequently used promotional items are Calendars, Computer Products, and Electronic Devices/Accessories. These are useful items, and, as the study has shown, useful items are the ones that people keep – and therefore use.

Ever since I joined the Gossett Marketing team I’ve been very aware of promotional products. I recognize that we are all surrounded by them (seriously, check your desk and I’ll bet that you have a number of promo items that you reach for on a daily basis), but the numbers in this study are truly eye opening. Promotional giveaways don’t have to cost a fortune, but the newest PPAI study makes it clear that they work. So take a chance to read the information that the Association has put together and then make the smart marketing choice: order promotional products for your organization.

Honor American Heart Month – Even After February

healthy heart
As you probably know, February is American Heart Month. I know that the month is almost over, but there is still time to observe this health holiday; plus, we should look after our cardiovascular health year-round, so there is no reason to ever stop thinking about heart health. This article is being posted to our blog long after February 1st’s Wear Red Day and any other official events in your community may have passed, but it’s easy to celebrate and work towards heart health this month and beyond.  Here are some easy ideas. [Note: I am not a doctor.  Please consult with your doctor before making any major lifestyle change including but not limited to adding exercise, altering your diet, and quitting smoking]

  1. Go for a walk. The Mayo Clinic recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week to help prevent heart disease. Walking is an easy choice because all you have to have is a pair of shoes (or not if, for instance, you are walking on the beach). Commit to doing at least a 30 minute walk (or run, gym session, swim…) four days of the week – and get an exercise buddy to go with you. Not only will it improve his or her health, but doing it together makes working out more fun and helps you both stick to the program.
  2. Relax. As more and more evidence points towards stress adversely affecting heart health, make a conscious effort every day to relax. For some people that might mean 10 minutes of meditation. Others might prefer a nice long bath with a good book. Or to ensure a better night’s sleep, turn off your cell phone, TV and computer an hour before bed to give yourself time to decompress. No matter what works for you, try to have some “you time” during which you get to release the day’s tension.
  3. Eat right. Everyone knows that a diet that is high in fat, cholesterol, calories, sodium is bad for their health, so quit the bad food habit. Personally, the easiest way for me to control my diet is to cook my own meals – I make my own breakfast, lunch, and dinner which helps me cut down on fat, salt, and processed food. The added bonus is that I also save money by eating out less! More and more people are trying to doing the same and bring lunch to work, so (and this is a shameless promotional product plug) a great idea is for employers to give their employees imprinted lunch bags. That way their logo is seen out and about when health-conscious workers picnic outside, ride the train, etc.
  4. Host company health events or incentives. Health events could include screenings or educational programs. And I like the idea of health incentives like discounted gym memberships, or even logoed giveaways that are geared toward a heart-healthy lifestyle (pedometers, exercise clothes, etc.). These types of programs are a great way to maintain a fit workforce!
  5. Quit smoking. For goodness sake, smoking isn’t good for anything. In most instances you have to stand outside to do it (or in one of those yucky airport smokers’ pens). It ages you. It’s very expensive. It can cause cancer. And, oh yeah, it is a major contributor to heart disease. Just stop it!

As I said, I’m no doctor, but I think that these common-sense ideas can help you or your company observe the tail end of American Heart Month. Plus, some give you valuable marketing opportunities! So stay heart healthy for the rest of this month and beyond!

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An Example of a Fabulous First Impression

Dog in Sunglasses Our company, Gossett Marketing, has been a promotional product distributor in Miami for over 20 years. Because we’ve stuck around for so long, we have great relationships with our suppliers and, frankly, we’re a little bit spoiled. For example, we rarely attend Ad Specialty Institute shows, which is where new promo products are debuted. Instead, representatives from our favorite suppliers come to our office to show off their new wares. It’s incredibly convenient to have our reps visit us rather than having to fly to Las Vegas or drive to Orlando, plus everyone who meets with us is wonderful. Our whole team loves our reps – we positively gush about all of them – so when a new one came to see us recently we expected to like him, but we didn’t know quite how terrific he would be!

We had never met Gregg Szpicek, National Sales Director from Tekweld, our preferred supplier of personal promotional products (think compact mirrors, hand sanitizers, clipboards and the like). But because we recently completed several good-sized orders with his company, they obviously decided to bring out the big guns to show us what they can do. So, in walks Gregg positively juggling samples and he asked us to wait for a few minutes as he transformed our conference room into a Tekweld showroom. He had brought a huge display board, catalogs, and tons samples, all of which he explained to us extremely knowledgably, citing several case studies along the way. He hit on three products along the way that stuck with the Gossett Marketing team because he was so smart about them; you see, when Gregg told us about a fun pair of sunglasses, his most popular hand sanitizer spray, and a moisturizing lip balm, he handed us bags of samples of these items with the Gossett Marketing logo already imprinted upon them. As promotional products distributors we always give our customers self-branded promos, and when we meet with them our suppliers generally offer us discounts for doing such, but no one has ever walked into our office with these items already made for us – it was a great touch!

Gregg has a wonderful personality and told some hilarious stories, so I know that we all would have liked meeting with him regardless. However, because he obviously did his homework prior to our meeting, brought great self-promos for us, and showed us his whole product line flawlessly, we were all duly impressed. Gregg was a great example of how to handle a first meeting, and I know that I am going to try to emulate his preparation and thoughtfulness the next time I sit down with an existing customer and particularly when I meet for the first time with someone to whom I was introduced at a networking event. You truly do not get a second chance to make a good first impression, so take a cue from Gregg and make that impression a fabulous one!

I’m not exaggerating when I say that every member of the Gossett Marketing team loves the products that Gregg brought – the picture above is Ellie, one of our office dogs, sporting his stylish shades!

Why Proofing Promotional Products Matters

missouri state university
Usually when someone orders promotional products from Gossett Marketing, they want a rather large quantity. That could mean 100 bags for the University of Miami, 6,500 duffel bags for Baptist Health South Florida, or 12,000 silicone basting brushes for Celebrity Cruise Line. The whole purpose of promotional products is to get your logo in front of as many potential customers as possible as often as possible in order to imprint your name/logo/message on their brains! Well, when you are giving out hundreds, if not thousands, of products that are designed to represent your brand, you had better make sure that you dot your I’s and cross your T’s – and that you spell your own name correctly.

I mention this because in an embarrassing incident that went public nationally, Missouri State University distributed 6,000 bags to students on which “University” was spelled “Univeristy.” That’s not good for an institution of higher learning! But I feel bad for the University itself and the supplier that sold them the bags because I get it – you place an order in a hurry and if the art was provided by the customer (which it was in this case), then it’s easy to assume that it’s correct. The customer created the art – certainly he or she knows how to spell the company’s name! Unfortunately, that’s not always the case, which is why, no matter what, I think getting a proof is important. Yes, it might add a day or two your promotional product’s production time, but if that day is the difference between destroying thousands of incorrectly-imprinted bags or proudly giving out the correct finished product, then isn’t it worth it? I think so.

When you are giving away a product that represents your company be sure to do it right. If you work with Gossett Marketing then I know you’ll see a proof prior to production, but if you use a different promotional products supplier (silly you!), be sure to ask to see a paper proof. Don’t waste your marketing budget on an item that you can’t use and face national embarrassment like Missouri State University – take the time to get a proof!

Why “Hallmark Holidays” should be Celebrated (from a marketing standpoint)

hallmark Happy Valentine’s Day from the Gossett Marketing and team! I wished my husband a Happy Valentine’s Day this morning and, ever the romantic, he explained to me recently that Valentine’s Day is truly a “Hallmark Holiday.” Apparently in business school his class learned that J.C. Hall, the card company’s founder, created the holiday. I don’t believe that that’s true because I know that the celebration was originally a Catholic holiday – the Feast of St. Valentine. What I do believe is that J.C. Hall took a day that was so little-celebrated that it was actually removed from the General Roman Calendar and used it to help him build an empire.

Hallmark might not have invented Valentine’s Day – or even Valentine’s cards – but because it was the first greeting card company to do advertise nationally (via an ad in Ladies’ Home Journal), it sure did popularize the day across the US. The success of that print ad was such that Hallmark began to sponsor radio programs, sign licensing agreements with the likes of Walt Disney, and underwrite TV programs, and ultimately form its own TV channel. Since its first print ad in 1928, the company has been a nationally-recognized organization who taught us that “When You Care Enough to Send the Very Best” you should turn to its products. Well, all of that marketing worked! Hallmark’s annual revenues for 2011 were $4.1 billion – not bad for a greeting card company.

Maybe Hallmark invented the modern version of Valentine’s Day and the rest of the so-called “Hallmark Holidays.” If I was a part of the company, I’d be proud to have created those days because it means that our marketing was first rate. Maybe Gossett Marketing can somehow make up a day that celebrates promotional products. If that catches on, think of the business we’d do!

Promotional Marketing for the Next Generation

Next Generation
It’s 2013 and many of Gossett Marketing’s suppliers have begun showing new items for the new year. While we did not attend the ASI Show in Orlando or the PPAI Convention in Las Vegas, many of our reps have come to see us, so we’ve seen a good number of the new products. The overwhelming trend that we’ve noticed so far is tech products. Everyone these days has a smart phone, a tablet, a laptop, an e-reader, etc., so the promotional marketing industry is jumping on the tech train and outfitting those items in logoed accessories. Here are my 4 favorites so far:

  1. Styluses – Anyone who has a touch-screen device can use a stylus. It keeps the screen cleaner, it allows the user to utilize the item while wearing gloves, and it keeps people from having to touch germy public tech devices (like ATMs or airport check-in kiosks). The nice thing about giving out imprinted styluses (or stylus/pen combos) is that the user holds it in his or her hand and will see your logo as he or she uses it, which is great marketing exposure on a daily basis.
  2. Cases – We have seen cases that are specifically designed to fit a specific piece of technology like a Kindle Fire, but we’ve also seen those that fit a variety of sizes: for instance, a holder that will accommodate any member of the Kindle family. Say you work in the marketing department of a business school that issues the newest iPad to each of its students – it would be a great idea to give each of them a case specifically for that device that is imprinted with the school’s logo and with their initials so that they can identify their own. But if you weren’t sure whether the students had Apple or Windows tablets, it would be a better option to give them each a case that would fit either device. That way, they’d be sure to carry it and show off the school’s logo regardless.
  3. Bluetooth Speakers – Several of our suppliers are showing Bluetooth speakers this year – they connect wirelessly to tech devices to play audio, plus many act as a conference call speaker. These handy items, some of which are made by known brands like Brookstone, are an excellent idea for your sales staff – it would be great for your salesman to be able to sit next to a customer and have a conference call with another individual (during which the customer would see your company’s logo on the speaker). These little speakers would also be an excellent leave-behind gift for a good customer, particularly if he or she travels a lot.
  4. Headphones – We’ve all seen images of professional athletes walking into stadiums wearing their Beats headphones, which has made this type of listening device incredibly popular over the past few years. Our suppliers have noticed the trend and capitalized by creating their own headphones – some look like Beats, some have noise canceling properties, some have their own unique design, there are various price points, etc. No matter which style you choose, these are a great giveaway because your customer or employee will literally be wearing your logo on her head while she exercises, rides the subway, or just rocks out!

Ubiquitous technology is here to stay, so use it to your strategic advantage by giving away appropriate accessories – it’s promotional marketing for the next generation!

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Don’t be Tardy for the Party (or Appointment)

My mother’s mantra has always been “early is on time and on time is late,” so it’s fair to say that I grew up in punctual household. I suppose that I internalized her insistence upon promptness because even when I left for college, I was always on time for class (I might not have been fully sober, but I was there when I was supposed to be!). And to this day, my husband and I are known for being the timeliest of all of our friends. So yes, I am my mother’s daughter, and for this reason I was really irritated when the phone call that I had scheduled for 1:00 yesterday just never came!

Sometimes it’s too difficult to schedule a meeting but e-mail communication doesn’t suffice. In those instances, I think scheduling a time to have a telephone conversation with someone is a perfectly valid thing to do. And because neither party has to travel to get to this type of meeting, I’d expect them both to be available at the appointed time. But alas, this is not what happened to me! I just sat at my desk and watched the clock as 1:00 came and went, and by 1:15 I was annoyed enough to call the person to whom I am trying to give business – who was completely unprepared to talk to me and completely unapologetic about not calling in the first place. It really irked me!

While I was irritated with the person who missed our call today, I know him, I know that he is actually a professional, and I will continue to work with him after this one-off error. But if I wasn’t familiar with him, think of the opinion that I – being a hyper-punctual person – would have formed. It wouldn’t have been good. In fact in the past I’ve met people at networking events, gotten excited to work with them, and arrived promptly (read: early) for our meeting, only to be left waiting and waiting and waiting… To me, that is rude, unprofessional, and off-putting, meaning that I’m going to take my business (and referrals) elsewhere.

It’s true that you never get a second chance to make a first impression, and a big part of that is showing up on time or making a phone call at the appointed hour.

If you don’t know why I named this blog post what I did, click on the YouTube click below. I cannot tell a lie, I have watched many an episode of The Real Housewives of Atlanta (stop judging me!) and I sing this song to myself often. It’s a terrible song but a good reminder to show up on time!

5 Things That Have Made Me Smile This Week

Happy Kitten
I know that this blog is a part of Gossett Marketing – a promotional product distributorship in Coconut Grove, Florida – and that’s why I try to keep it all business (specifically of the promotional marketing nature). But this portion of the blog is called “Everyday Life Vignettes” and I’m using it for just that this time. That’s why I’m going to list the 5 things that have made me smile this week. I hope they make you smile too!

  1. The prancing kitten photo above. It’s from Reddit and it just made my day when a friend sent it my way. It’s pure bliss in a picture!
  2. I learned how to make a really good brownie/cookie hybrid, which made me flash a chocolate-toothed grin when I sampled them! Leave a comment if you want the super-simple recipe – they’re worth the calories!
  3. When it dawned on me on Monday that it’s February (yes, I know that Monday was the 4th and that I was a bit behind). February is a great month in Miami: we have two big Arts Festivals, a Boat Show, and the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. February = Fun!
  4. Hearing “I’m going to Disney World!” ads on the radio. I was rooting for the Ravens, so I’m happy that Joe Flacco is the one yelling this after winning the Super Bowl, but I would have smiled even if it was a 49er. I love that that ad campaign lives on!
  5. Speaking of the Super Bowl, I loved Beyonce’s halftime show and I’ve been cracking up as I try to emulate her dance moves all week! Didn’t see it? You can watch the YouTube video at the end of the post.

I’ve smiled more than 5 times this week, but those are some of my favorite reasons for doing so. Has anything memorable made you smile or laugh this week? Please share in the comments below!

And, last but not least, here’s the Beyonce video that I mentioned above:


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