15 Point Networking Guide

networking
Each week I write three blog posts. One is about promotional marketing products, one falls under our “everyday life” category, so I tend to use it to talk about the goings-on around here in Miami, and my third weekly post has to do with business networking tips. I have to tell you, my networking article is always the most challenging to write because, although I participate in it, I’m not necessarily inspired to compose 52 posts about it per year. Therefore, I tend to Google “business networking tips” pretty much every week to see what other people are saying and hopefully to drum up some bright ideas of my own.

If you have ever Googled the same search term on a weekly basis, then you know that, unless you are searching for something cutting edge or news-related, then you’re probably not going to get hugely different results each week. But this week I actually did stumble upon a great article that I hadn’t seen before, written by Michael Roberts, the Co-Owner and Chief Networking Officer at Actual Networking. Posted in January of this year, it provides a really comprehensive guide to networking. His 15 tips are spot-on, so rather than trying to reinvent the networking wheel, I am going to link you to his article. Please click here to read it – I hope you find it as thorough yet concise as I do!

A Story About Promotional Products Working

tommy's My husband Nick was born in Los Angeles and lived there until moving to Miami at around age 7. During his years in LA he developed an abiding love of chili cheeseburgers, specifically those made at the Original Tommy’s. Tommy’s, founded in 1946, started life as an actual shack in a parking lot at the corner of Beverly and Rampart Boulevards, and has grown into a chain with locations throughout Southern California and even an outpost in Nevada. Sadly, we do not have a Tommy’s in Miami which is why, whenever we go to California, a visit to the shack is one of the first items on our agenda.

Our most recent visit to the West Coast we didn’t stay in LA, so we didn’t have an opportunity to visit the Original Tommy’s on Beverly and Rampart, but Nick was determined to have his favorite chili cheeseburger anyway. So on the first morning of our trip he popped out of bed, grabbed his iPhone, and began to search for the nearest location. As he Googled his way to greasy goodness, he realized that he didn’t know if it was called “Tommy’s” or “Tommys.” Nor did he realize that he was wearing a t-shirt with the chain’s logo emblemized on the left chest, but I did! So I said confidently, “it’s Tommy’s with an apostrophe!” I think that Nick fell in love with me all over again at that moment because he was able to quickly locate his dream burger, even outside of Los Angeles!

Nick was wearing his Tommy’s t-shirt last night and it reminded me of that story so I thought I’d share it. I can give you all the facts and figures in the world to prove that promotional marketing products work, but that little anecdote goes to show just how they can serve your business. Sure, we ultimately would have found our nearest Tommy’s location through Google, but because of an imprinted t-shirt the restaurant got two customers through its doors that much faster!

If you’re ever in Southern California be sure to try the Original Tommy’s for tasty chili on burgers, fries, and tamales (my favorite) – good and good for you!

This Marketing Might be Weird, but It’s Working

battier bud light
Since 2012, Bud Light has run a series of ads called “Very Superstitious.” If you haven’t seen them, they feature nervous NFL fans performing lucky rituals in an effort to help their team win. There’s the Colts fan who arranges his Bud Light cans in the shape of the team’s horseshoe logo, the 49ers supporter who visits his old apartment in order to sit exactly where he was when the team won its last Super Bowl, and various other shenanigans. The tagline at the end of the commercials is “it’s only weird if it doesn’t work,” which I find very relatable (who hasn’t worn her lucky shirt to a watch a game?).

Apparently being Very Superstitious doesn’t just apply to Basketball, as the Miami Heat’s Shane Battier was recently admitted that his superstitious pre-game ritual is drinking a beer and saying, “I don’t want to chance luck and switch up brands, so I’m staying loyal to Bud Light.” Could Bud Light have asked for a better viral marketing opportunity? I don’t think so! They pounced on Battier’s superstition and published a video in which they surprise him with an entire truckload of Bud Light – 1,100 cases!

Being a Miami native, I thought that the Bud Light delivery and subsequent video release was great – I love the Heat and want my players to do whatever it takes to win another championship, even if that means drinking a pre-game beer. Not only that, but it’s a smart grassroots-feeling marketing move by Bud Light. I’ve seen the video countless times on Facebook and Twitter, and I know that it has been circulating heavily via e-mail (down here at least). And I know that it’s tempting me to “grab a bud” as I watch the next basketball game!

If you haven’t seen the delivery in question, click on the YouTube video below. Good thing his house looks big, Shane Battier has a lot of beer to store!

Why Getting Out of the Office is Good

will-return-sign1
No matter who you are or what you do, it’s really easy to get into a work rut. You’re doing similar things day in and day out, you see the same people, and while different projects or problems might arise, your workdays are probably pretty similar to one another. As an Account Director at Gossett Marketing, I go to a lot of meetings and networking events, and while those do give me a break from the computer, well, they all sort of start to blend together too (it’s a rare networking event that really stands out, amiright?!).

One consequence of workdays becoming a blur is that it diminishes coworkers’ relationships. I’ve mentioned Susan on this blog in the past. Well, we sit across from one another here in the office, so we spend a lot of time together and exchange a lot of chit chat. Sometimes Susan and I will be talking and I’ll realize that I’m paying more attention to my e-mail than to my coworker; not only does that make me very rude, but it’s always a sign that I’ve reached a work rut. Whether that rut is rooted in boredom, stress, or a foul mood, it’s important to snap out of it so as not to be impolite to my dear Susan! That’s why, whenever either of us feels like our workdays have started to blur together and we’ve stopped paying attention to each other, we make the time to go out to lunch or to have a cocktail after work. It’s a nice way to get out of the office, expand our relationship beyond work, and to break out of our rut.

I’m a firm believer of networking with your coworkers, but I don’t think that you can do so inside the confines of your office. You need a change of scenery (and to take off your work “hats”) to really get to know someone, which is why I think going out for a bite, participating in a company picnic, or even just strolling around the block with your coworkers is beneficial. It’s great to build bonds with your work mates, and leaving the office for a pleasant reason – not just another meeting – can give variety to a work week whose days might otherwise blend together. Even if you love what you do, everyone gets into a rut sometimes, so I hope this easy idea helps you get out of yours quickly!

Tips to Get People Talking

I'm not talking to you.

I’m not talking to you.

You know what’s awkward? Having a conversation with someone who, for whatever reason, just doesn’t want to talk to you. This can happen for a variety of reasons: maybe you’re talking to someone who is particularly shy, perhaps you’ve met someone at a networking event and she doesn’t think you can be of value to her so she blows you off, or it could just be that you’re attempting to converse with a guy who is having a bad day and just doesn’t feel like chit chatting. So what do you do if you’re stuck trying to converse with someone who just doesn’t really talk back? Here are some ideas:

  1. Brush up on the news. I have an acquaintance who I’ve known my whole life. We’re not BFF’s, but I see her at parties, networking events, and we’ve even run into one another at Banana Republic! I always say hello and ask about her family, she responds, and then we go our separate ways. Well, I recently ended up sitting next to this acquaintance at a very long bridal shower and I was determined to have more than a boring, cursory chat, so I started talking about the fun news stories I’d recently heard. I didn’t go into anything political or controversial, just human interest stories that I found interesting – and apparently she did too because it got her talking! And once she opened up, we had a great time getting to know each other a little more! So read a magazine or watch CNN before heading out the door, it might be the ticket to getting a shy person to talk.
  2. Drop names. I know it’s tacky to drop names, but sometimes it’s a completely necessary tactic. The scenario in the first paragraph where I mention meeting – and being blown off by – a person at a networking event has happened to me. I was introduced to a woman and when I explained that I am an Account Director at Gossett Marketing, a promotional products distributor, she said, “oh, my company doesn’t use that kind of thing,” and I could tell that she wanted to walk away. So I casually mentioned that Miami-Dade’s two biggest employers are my two biggest accounts, and that piqued her interest! She asked me who uses what, and why, and we’ve stayed in touch ever since.
  3. Make ’em laugh.  I think the trickiest person to engage in conversation is the one who, due to relationship problems, a bad day at work, or a headache, doesn’t want to talk. Whenever I’m stuck with someone who seems like he’s being quiet for a personal reason, I tend to resort to humor – maybe I’ll tell an anecdote of something funny that has happened to me recently, or I might even steal one of my husband’s jokes to get the non-talker to crack a smile. If that doesn’t work, then I’ll often try the aforementioned news story route. And if all else fails, I’ll generally just excuse myself and go talk to someone cheerful!

Networking events, cocktail parties, and even elevator rides can be downright awkward if you’re stuck with someone who doesn’t want to talk. Hopefully you’ll remember my three tips to get those conversations flowing!

In Support of Boston

boston

I’m a half marathon runner, so although I’ve never done one myself, I’ve witnessed the pure joy that completing a full marathon brings to an individual. If you’ve never seen marathoners crossing a finish line, you’re missing out. Do you remember the scene in the movie Love, Actually where Hugh Grant’s character talks about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport and you see elated people hugging and laughing? The finish line of a marathon is a lot like that – pure joy.

That’s why I really can’t comprehend the events that transpired at the Boston Marathon on Monday. The Marathon is a wonderful event for the city of Boston and a particularly happy occasion for the international participants. So why would someone detonate bombs, injuring hundreds, and killing three – including a little boy? Like most people, I’ve been grappling with this question in the aftermath, and I still can’t understand.

A quote from Mr. Rogers has been circulating Facebook since the bombings:

MISTER-ROGERS-HELPERS-QUOTE-570

It’s a great sentiment, and I have been looking for and admiring the helpers as I watch the news coverage coming out of Boston. It hasn’t allowed me to grasp why anyone would take away others’ lives, health, or even their joy at completing a tremendous physical feat, but it is a great reminder that there is still good in the world. I hope his words and aforementioned scene from Love, Actually, which you can view by clicking on the YouTube video below, will bring you some comfort or understanding of this tragic event.

In Case You Missed Them (Posts from the Archives)

from the archives

from the archives

The Gossett Marketing team has been writing this, our blog, for over two years now. There are some fun posts from 2011 that aren’t readily apparent on our main archive page, so before they’re lost forever I thought I’d revisit them here. Enjoy these oldies-but-goodies!

 

Confessions of a Pen Thief – The video at the end of the post shows that everyone steals promotional pens!

Need a New Hobby? – This is about a goldfish training kit. I kid you not.

Brand the Sand: A Fun Summer Item – It’s heating up everywhere, so why not have your customers imprint your logo on the sand?!

Taking Steps to Change an Image – This is old news, but Luther Campbell of 2 Live Crew fame (infamy?) ran for mayor in Miami’s last election. Check out how he tried to change his image.

 

I hope you enjoy reading these posts for the first time or revisiting them if you’ve seen them before. I know we enjoyed writing them!

Tips to Get Your Brand in Front of Your Clients

In this new video blog post, Danette Gossett from Gossett Marketing and InterestingMarketingTidbits.com sits down with Eric from Spector, one of our company’s favorite suppliers of higher-end promotional products. Eric stopped by to tell Danette about a cohesive collection of promo products that are a great way to get your logo in front of your customer’s faces time and again.

The Fabrizio Collection is an elegant grouping of promotional items, featuring a card case, luggage, tag, PDA case, tablet sleeve, portfolio, travel wallet, journal, and two sizes of padfolio. They’re all made of a really attractive vinyl (don’t wrinkle your nose, it’s pretty), available in Brown, Grey, Black, and White. Very elegant with a unique strap closure, the Fabrizio Collection is an opportunity to give a series of related gifts, ultimately creating a unique gift set. The wide variety of items means that these imprinted items will be seen time and again – in offices, airports, and beyond.

One of the interesting features of the Fabrizio Collection (and many of Spector’s items) is that it can be imprinted with variable data. So let’s say that you want to deboss one of the pieces with your company’s logo, you can do that plus you can include the recipient’s name and position. For instance, Eric shows Danette a luggage tag that has an imprinted logo, plus “Anita Turner Montreal Branch.” You could give Joe Smith of the New York Branch the same piece, but with his name/branch on it instead. Pretty unique!

So if you want to get your logo in front of your clients on a regular basis, consider giving out pieces of a cohesive collection on a regular basis. And definitely consider variable data imprinting – people love and use personalized products.

fabrizio collection

Networking Tip: Follow Up Effectively

digital communication
We’ve all been there: we’ve attended a networking event and we feel like we really connected with someone. So, diligent networkers that we are, we followed up in a timely matter. Then followed up again. And again. And again. And the person with whom we were really excited to build a relationship just slips away… What a frustrating feeling! When it happens to me, I take it personally and feel like a complete dork – why didn’t so-and-so like me?! However, I’ve learned that that is generally not the case; rather, when I don’t hear back from a potential business contact after a networking event, it’s often because he or she literally did not get the message.

I’ve learned a lot from our social media coach over the years, but one of the first things she taught me really stuck with me. She said that it’s important to reach out to people using their preferred method of communication. At first I thought that this was completely stupid – we all have phone and e-mail, so it was logical to me to use those as my go-to ways to reach someone. While the telephone and e-mail are still the most logical options to me, I’ve found that there are some people who simply do not respond to either. But they will, most likely, reply to my message on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn: it’s just a matter of figuring out which one.

The next time you are at a networking event and you feel like you’ve met someone worthwhile, don’t just get her card. Get her card and ask her for her preferred method of communication. That way you won’t waste your time calling someone who expects you to Instagram her a picture or sending e-mails to someone who would really prefer a text. When your communication actually reaches the intended recipient, that’s when you have a chance to build a relationship – so do not hesitate to ask how to make that happen.

Why Being a Creature of Habit can Backfire

Tired Creature of Habit

Tired Creature of Habit

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I just got back from a week-long Caribbean vacation (I know, tough life, right?!). I love to visit other parts of the world, but I must say that I am a creature of habit and when I travel I get off of my usual (boring) routine, which really throws me for a loop when I try to get back into my usual patterns.

When I say that I’m a creature of habit, I’m not kidding. I wake up at one of two times every day (earlier on my three morning-run days, later on my four non-running days), eat the same breakfast, get to work within the same 5-minute window daily, lunch at 1:00, evening workout at 6:00, bed by 11:00 after reading for 10 minutes. When I am in Miami you’d be hard-pressed to find a day during which I deviate from my routine, but it’s impossible to stick with that schedule on vacation – I want to see and do as much as possible when I travel, so forget that 6:00pm workout! Upon my return, though, I force myself right back into my daily routine and although it’s doable, it sure is extra-tiring.

What is it about taking a week or so off of our normal schedules that makes it exhausting to return to them? Workdays seem long, workouts feel impossible, and cooking and cleaning are dreaded tasks instead of pesky chores. I travel relatively often and the week of my return always feels interminable. I mentioned this to my husband and he feels the same way, but we couldn’t figure out exactly why. We spent our vacation relaxing on beaches in the Caribbean – it was hardly a trek through Europe, complete with jet lag and long days of touring – so I know it’s not physical exhaustion. Could it be that we enjoyed our carefree week so it’s tough to return to stress and necessary evils like gym time?

I know that I’ll get over this hump, but I wonder why I always, always experience it. Are my husband and I weirdos or does the post-vacation slump hit everyone as they try to get back to their normal routines? Is being such a creature of habit just backfiring on me? I’m genuinely wondering, so feel free to leave your comments below. I’ll read them…once I am back in my routine and have the energy to do so!

Watch this quick and cute YouTube clip – this is sort of how I feel at my desk right about now!

FEATURED VIDEO


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