Excellent Local Marketing

photo from bolthouse farms/miaminewtimes.com

photo from bolthouse farms/miaminewtimes.com

When the Gossett Marketing team first started our social media journey our coach, Cynthia Seymour, told me to focus our blog on promotional products, marketing, networking, and on keeping it local. I know that Cynthia gave me tons of other tips regarding this site, but for some reason the whole idea of keeping it local stuck with me. That’s why you will end up reading so many posts about South Florida’s cultural events, Miami’s athletic teams, and weird things that could only happen here like the possible advent of Super Snakes!

Because I like to think locally when I blog, I often peruse the Miami Herald’s website and that of the Miami New Times – both are treasure troves of information for me. As I read my usual sources of information this morning, I saw something perfect for this blog: a company called Bolthouse Farms is marketing itself in Miami’s Wynwood section by utilizing a moss-covered living wall. Normally, I would take that story and run with it, coming up with analysis of my own, but the New Times really hit the nail on the head with their story. Bolthouse Farms is using their totally-unique living wall to market their farmer-driven brand: check out the story here to see why that’s such a great plan.

Promotional Products for Weight Loss

photo from johnstonefitness.com

photo from johnstonefitness.com

Halloween time poses a problem for me. It is right before the kick-off of the holiday party season, so I want to be sure to diet to keep myself in shape before months of socializing. But it is also the best time of year for candy! As I’ve said here before I have a tremendous sweet tooth, so it’s hard for me to resist delicious Halloween treats, but I do still want to fit into my little black dress next month – what’s a gal to do?! Well, I’ve actually found that promotional products help me stay in check from Halloween through New Years. Here are the three I use so that I can justify eating copious amounts of candy while still fitting into my skinny jeans:

  1. Pedometer – You may or may not know that I used to be a big-time runner. I’ve been having back and hip issues, so I’ve stopped running but I know how important it is to get up and move during the day. Thus, I’ve taken to wearing a pedometer to make sure I get my recommended 10,000 steps daily. If I miss that goal during the weekdays, then I am sure to make up the difference by taking long walks on the weekends.
  2. Food Journal – I once came back from a trip to France where I gained tons of weight from eating croissants and cheese (and everything else delicious) for 10 days. I turned to Weight Watchers, which taught me to keep a food journal. While I no longer follow the Weight Watchers plan to a T, I still keep a log of what I eat because it helps me avoid mindless snacking.
  3. Food Containers – Another thing I learned from Weight Watchers is that one of the easiest ways to cut calories is to bring my own lunch to work rather than going out to eat every day. I now have a cabinet full of food containers – specifically for salads, soups, and sandwiches – so that I can tote my pre-prepared meals to and from the office.

The interesting thing about my pedometer, food journal, and food containers is that they are all promotional marketing products that I received for free! My pedometer came from Baptist Health South Florida, my present journal was a gift from a gym, and the containers are from various organizations that have given them out over the years. Each item has a logo imprinted upon it, and anyone who sees me wearing/carrying them around is being exposed to that brand. These promo items are giving those companies good bang for their buck by boosting their marketing while keeping their happy customers’ weight in check!

Patience Really is a Virtue

photo from miamiherald.com

photo from miamiherald.com

There’s a joke around here that the best thing about living in Miami is that you’re so close to America. This town is a true melting pot: you can go a whole day without hearing a word of English, we’re regularly voted the country’s worst drivers (because people learn to drive in their home countries and bring the rules of those roads with them when they move here), and individuals always use “I’m on Island Time” as an excuse for being late – and it is accepted. Suffice it to say that Miami is a very different demographic than the majority of the country, which is why many national retailers are fairly slow to open up shop around these parts. Case in point: we just got our first Trader Joe’s.

I’ve been to Trader Joe’s in other parts of the country and really enjoyed the products that I purchased, so I was excited to visit the market. However, I heard that its opening week was extremely chaotic – cars were towed, those who arrived early lined up in the middle of US1 with shopping carts, and traffic nearby was abysmal. So I stayed away for a while and just made my way to Trader Joe’s this past weekend. I braced myself for the inevitable Miami hostility of blaring horns, getting cut off, and being shoved when I was inside the store, but to my utter shock everyone was on their best behavior and I encountered none of the attitude that I expected.

They say that patience is a virtue, and it was when I shopped at Trader Joe’s. My fellow Miamians and I waited to park, we were tolerant when other shoppers inexplicably stopped in front of us and impeded our path, and we didn’t complain when the checkout lines were lengthy. Sure, shopping at Trader Joe’s soon after it opened was a bit more tedious than I’m know it will be when the hype dies down, but overall it was a very pleasant experience because everyone was patient and polite.

So I had a good trip to Trader Joe’s – I’m sure you’re wondering why I would bother blogging about it, seeing as how most everyone enjoys shopping there? I’m writing about it because I’ve really never before seen such a display of patience in Miami. We might live our lives on Island Time and have zero qualms about showing up to an event hours late; however, we can be as pushy and rude as anyone anywhere when we want to be. I was pleasantly surprised that that wasn’t the case at Trader Joe’s! Witnessing my neighbors as they steadily, but not unhappily, plodded along towards a common goal (buying lots of good food!) was a good reminder to behave that way whenever the situation calls for patience. Trying to schedule a meeting with a prospective customer? Why get frustrated if you don’t hear back from her immediately? Better to try again with a smile on your face. Car break down? Don’t bark at the mechanic who’s helping you – thank him for his assistance.

It probably doesn’t say much for my home town that I’m proud of its residence for not revolting when parking was a challenge at a new market, but I really am. Miamians are not a patient bunch, so seeing them behave that way made me realize that I need to do so in every aspect of my life as well – from grocery shopping to business networking.

Some Articles You Might Enjoy

photo from imafreelancer.com

photo from imafreelancer.com

So I was sick at the beginning of the week, but so uncomfortable that I couldn’t sleep. I also did not feel well enough to focus on my current book, so I found myself browsing the internet for posts and videos that would entertain me. I liked some of them, so I thought I’d share them with you in this, my weekly free-for-all blog post. Here goes.

The University of Miami football and basketball teams have been under investigation by the NCAA seemingly forever. This piece from the Miami Herald breaks it all down for you.

My husband Nick and I loved seeing Penn & Teller perform, so when I saw something about Penn Jillette, I clicked on it. Um…he’s selling his ponytail! (article from GeeksofDoom.com)

I enjoyed reading PSFK’s article about why and how retailers need to emulate their high-end counterparts in order to succeed. Prada’s brick and mortar expansion is huge!

While this isn’t the newest news, I think it’s fabulous that McDonald’s is giving books for the first two weeks of November. I wonder how the kids will feel? (link from BusinessInsider.com)

And lastly, this YouTube video of kids and employees of Dartmouth Children’s Hospital performing Katy Perry’s “Roar” is so uplifting!

Promote Yourself on Halloween

photo from tasteofhome.com

photo from tasteofhome.com

Halloween is a fun holiday for adults and kids alike – and it’s a great time to use promotional marketing products to enhance your brand! There are so many useful products that your customers will appreciate receiving and using for the spooky holiday and beyond. Here are some suggestions.

  • Candy – If you know me, then you know I have a huge sweet tooth, which is why I often suggest that my customers purchase imprinted candy (full disclosure: sometimes they send us samples). Little pouches of M&Ms or Jelly Bellys are good items to order in bulk and give out to any kids who trick or treat at your business. Or you can surprise your customers with a box of custom molded chocolates as a thank-you gift – a bit more grown-up way to celebrate the holiday.
  • Bags – Every kid needs a bag for his or her loot on Halloween. One of our customers annually orders plastic bags with their logo on one side and a fun pumpkin or ghost design on the other, which little costumed people then carry through their neighborhoods, giving that logo good exposure. A more lasting marketing move would be to give away reusable bags such as grocery totes. That way the kids or their parents would continue to utilize that item after Halloween and your logo would be seen by even more sets of eyes.
  • Flashlights – Flashlights are a trick or treating necessity because they help kids see in the dark and – more importantly – they help drivers see the kids. They are also great post-Halloween because, well, they are flashlights and every household/car needs them in case of emergency. Now would be a good time of year to give them to employees and customers because their kids can use them for the holiday and then they can go into that hurricane-preparedness kit for later.
  • Drinkware – Halloween takes a lot of walking, so everyone involved in trick or treating should stay hydrated. Bringing a reusable bottle with a lid makes a lot more sense than taking a cup out while collecting candy because it won’t spill all over. They are also really inexpensive, people utilize them constantly, and they give your logo tons of exposure. They are a definite must-give promotional product at Halloween and beyond!

I think that every holiday is an opportunity to give away imprinted promotional products, so use Halloween to your advantage and give away items that your customers, employees, and their families can use on October 31st and well after.

Please Forgive me if this Post Stinks

photo from sodahead.com

photo from sodahead.com

Please forgive me if this blog post is abysmal. I woke up last night with some sort of stomach flu or food poisoning or possibly even a curse upon me. I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say that going into the office today in this condition would have been a terrible idea, so I am writing this from my bed while sipping Gatorade – my only sustenance today.

If I know that I am going to be away from the Gossett Marketing office, I always prepare accordingly by pre-writing blog articles and arranging for them to post while I’m gone. Danette does the same with our Twitter profile if she knows that she is going to be out of town – she uses Hootsuite to schedule Tweets during her absence (whoever is in the office then supplements that by responding to Re-Tweets, greetings from followers, etc.). It’s a good system that is working for us when we know that we will be unavailable to work on our social media for a certain period of time.

Well, I’ve always meant to write a spare blog post or two so that if I fall ill, we’ll be covered. Needless to say, I have never gotten around to doing so, as I am sick as a dog and writing one now! That is going to change in the future. I constantly use this blog as a platform to praise the virtues of being prepared – doing research before a networking event, ordering promotional products in a timely fashion, and the list goes on… But obviously I am not practicing what I preach all of the time. If I did, then I would be able to call the office and tell one of my coworkers which buttons to press in order to schedule my pre-written article for tomorrow. I would not be writing this hopefully-not-too-bad piece from my bedroom.

Blogging is part of our social media networking strategy and like the rest of our networking, marketing, ordering efforts, I need to be prepared in case of an emergency or illness. Time to listen to my own advice and prepare for every contingency in the future.

Indecision is Worse than the Wrong Decision

photo from k-laserusa.com

photo from k-laserusa.com

As I have said ad nauseam here on Gossett Marketing’s blog, we are a promotional products distributorship. That means that we work with our customers to figure out the best promotional marketing items for their organizations, and then we source those from our suppliers. So let’s say that I meet with a contact at the Celebrity Cruises on Monday and she and I determine that the gift they will give at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival is going to be BBQ-related. I take that information with me back to my office and then utilize our database to find the right suggestions based on price, quality, color options, availability, etc. I’ll sift through the one million products to which said database grants me access and narrow the field to a handful of products, which I then present to Celebrity. Fortunately, they make their decision quickly, selecting a silicone basting brush and we move forward with the order within a day. That ordering process is the ideal one but because of indecision, it is a rarity in my line of work.

My father in law always says that “indecision is worse than the wrong decision,” and I think he’s right. Oftentimes I will sort through my database and send a customer a small selection of promotional products, and they will simply agonize over selecting the one that they want. I have sent a customer (who shall remain nameless) a presentation of four bags and not heard from them for weeks because they will weigh the pros and cons of each, ask their peers to do the same, then ultimately escalated the dilemma up the food chain to their boss, their boss’s boss, etc. Weeks later when the powers that be finally instructed the person ordering the bags to just go with option A, that bag was out of stock and the whole silly process started again. That is a waste of everyone’s time, if you ask me. Rather than go through that rigmarole my contact should have just chosen a bag herself – they were coming out of her budget, they were appropriate, and her fear of making the wrong decision cost her the promotional product that she probably really wanted.

I know it’s easy for me – the person who is not paying for these items – to judge the person who is for being indecisive. But at some point indecision becomes the bad decision when opportunities are lost, people’s time is wasted, etc. An order of imprinted bags is important from a marketing standpoint, but at the end of the day whether they are blueberry blue or periwinkle is not a life or death decision! So whether you are ordering promotional products or deliberating over something else, put it into perspective and make a choice – not making one is worse than making the “wrong” one, after all.

Extreme Promotional Products

photo from sportsgrid.com

photo from sportsgrid.com

You might not watch as much football as I end up watching on the weekends. In my household we root for the University of Miami and the Miami Dolphins, neither of whom played this past weekend, yet we saw our fair share of both college and NFL games! I enjoy football, I really do, but after a while my attention starts to drift and I find myself looking at the mascots, the funny outfits fans are wearing, and often the cheerleaders. I wish I had watched the University of Oregon game during my football binge because then I might have seen the amazing promotional products that their cheer squad was wearing: imprinted contact lenses!

I can’t make this up. The Ducks are known for wearing super snazzy uniforms on the football field, but they have nothing on their cheerleading team. The cheerleaders tweeted a picture that showed four of their eyes wearing green contacts with the team’s yellow “O” stamped prominently upon them. The photo, which is shown above, is undeniably creepy, but boy oh boy does it show team spirit!

Imprinted contact lenses are an extreme example of custom promotional products, but they just go to show you that the marketing opportunities are endless with promo items. I live in Miami, have never been to the Pacific Northwest, don’t cheer for the team, and I’m still blogging about the Oregon cheerleaders for anyone in the world to read. I have to say, that’s an effective promotional product.

Miamians Networking in Napa

The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce invades Napa!

The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce invades Napa!

When I started Gossett Marketing 22 years ago I felt it was important to become active in the community. So I jumped in with both feet – joining the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Women Business Owners, becoming a mentor for the University of Miami School of business and so much more. And my business grew as a result.

Today, I think it’s still important to be an engaged member of our community. I am a Trustee and Board member of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and am the chair of their Good to Great Awards. I’ve had colleagues question if all the time, expense and energy is worth it. My answer is YES on so many levels.

My business continues to grow as a result of my involvement. But “involvement” is the key. You can’t just join and expect people to know who you are and use your services. The adage still stands – “people like to do business with people they know and trust.” And while maintaining a relationship online keeps you in touch, in my opinion you still develop a deeper relationship in person.

When I joined the Greater Miami Chamber I was also encouraged to join the Membership committee. And believing in chambers as I do, it was a natural yes.

Each year, the Greater Miami Chamber has a Membership Campaign with team challenges, prizes and events to encourage members to introduce prospects to the benefits of a chamber membership. At the end of the “drive” those that qualify by bringing in memberships and sponsorships are rewarded with the annual Membership Campaign trip.

This year the trip was to Napa Valley California. And I was one of 31 who enjoyed an amazing four days visiting a variety of wineries, restaurants and enjoying amazing weather. And, talk about spending some quality time with clients and prospects.

I have to admit, while I had met most of the people before, I can say I only truly knew about 30%. Now, I can say I’ve shared more than one glass of wine with them all. There were representatives from Baptist Health South Florida, City National Bank, Dosal Capital, Great Florida Bank, Gunster, Yoakley & Stewart, MDO Partners, RBB Partners, Conroy Martinez, Victoria & Associates, University of Miami and more.

While it wasn’t a “business” trip per se I am sure these companies now know who I am and I think we can all say on some level networking was going on. If only to find out about new places to try for free happy hour champagne (thanks CL).

Next year the trip is to Boston and I plan to qualify again. Because it’s a great group of people that I would like to get to know even better. Cheers!

Why and How to be Like My Mom

photo from tattooroadtrip.com

photo from tattooroadtrip.com

I write about three posts per week for this, Gossett Marketing’s blog. Blogging is a funny thing. I enjoy doing it because it truly gives me a platform to write about anything. But I write my posts, I publish them on the Internet, and then I…wonder if anyone reads them. It can be a weirdly hopeless feeling to write and not really know if anyone cares, and before our company became active on Twitter it really seemed as if I was blogging to no one (thanks to our Twitter followers for caring and sharing!). I hated that feeling, so I implored my friends and family to read and read often. Many of them have done so consistently, but no one more so than my mom. I’ll call her and ask what she’s up to, to which she often replies “reading Interesting Marketing Tidbits,” and it delights me! Thanks, Mom! I also frequently ask her what to blog about and her perpetual response is “write about me.” So here you go, Mom, a blog about you!

My mom doesn’t have a 9-5 job, but I talk to her every morning and she tells me what she’s doing that day – and boy is she busy. She exercises like a maniac, she is a member of several social clubs and frequently plans (and attends) their events, she helps care for my grandmother, she leads a group that volunteers at a local homeless shelter, she is active in our church, she travels a lot, she sells a line of clothing, and she often pals around with her friends. The woman is all over the place, all of the time. Phew – even thinking of her schedule makes me tired.

The result of my mother’s social and volunteer activities is that she seemingly knows everyone in town. I’ll introduce myself to someone at a party and they’ll almost always exclaim, “I know your mother!” (which was a real pain in high school if I was sneaking a drink or something – busted!). You’ve heard of 6 degrees of separation: I think my mom is 1 degree from everyone in Miami.

What my mother’s busy-bee lifestyle has taught me from a business perspective is that it’s good to have a lot going on from a networking standpoint. Yes, be active in your local chamber of commerce, but also be open to joining various clubs (purely social ones included), religious organizations, volunteer groups, and even fitness classes (where she met one of her BFFs). If you meet people in diverse ways, then you will meet diverse people, and who knows where that will take you?! If nothing else, then it will keep you busy!


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