A Video to Make You Happy!

photo from arabia.style.com

photo from arabia.style.com

It’s rather a dreary day in Miami, and to be perfectly honest with you I showed up to the Gossett Marketing headquarters in quite the grumpy mood. My coworker noticed my lousy attitude and told me that she had something to cheer me up, so she showed me the new Pharrell Williams music video, which is for his song “Happy.” Check it out by clicking on the YouTube video below – I hope it brings a smile to your face like it did mine!

How to Use Promo Items for Networking

photo from thepottershandacademy.com

photo from thepottershandacademy.com

As a person who works at a promotional products distributorship and who writes the company’s blog I tend to focus a lot of posts on promo marketing. Our blog is divided into three categories, one of which is about promotional items, so if you want to get all mathematical about it, a full third of the articles on this site cover the subject. Well, one of the other two categories concentrates on networking and I thought I’d sort of combine the two subjects for today’s post and talk about how promo items can enhance your networking efforts.

By now you certainly know something about promotional products – they are the items that you imprint with your company’s logo so that your customers or potential customers have a tangible reminder of your business that they will keep and use. When you think about promo items, though, what springs to mind is probably the stuff that people give away at trade shows: pens, bags, notepads and the like. While those items are great, they are not necessarily the pieces that will improve your networking. No, what you need to utilize to do that is a great leave-behind gift to give a potential business contact after a meeting or an excuse to drop in on someone you haven’t seen in a while.

You certainly know how networking functions. You meet someone, you nurture the lead, you touch base via telephone and email, and finally you land a meeting. Well, not to be a suck up, but why not give this contact a present in exchange for his or her time? I like something that is both nice and useful like a personal electronics device charger, business card case, or even a nice travel tumbler subtly imprinted with your company’s name. The logo doesn’t need to overwhelm the piece – an etched imprint is just fine – but it should be there as a reminder that you two are trying to build a business relationship.

Another excellent way to use promotional products for networking is as a reason to pop in and see someone with whom you haven’t done business in a while. Bring them something akin to the leave-behind gifts that I mentioned in the previous paragraph: a padfolio or tablet stand, perhaps. If you tell the reception desk that you have a gift for so-and-so, they will certainly buzz her to announce your presence. If she is there, then I’ll bet she will pop out to receive your present. And if she isn’t, then you can write a nice note and leave the gift for her – and she will call to thank you when she gets back to work. Such an easy way to reconnect!

Long story short, expand your use of promotional marketing products beyond the trade show floor. They are excellent tools for networking too!

Use Flu Season to your Marketing Advantage

photo from doghealthnews.com

photo from doghealthnews.com

Not only are we smack dab in the middle of flu season, but there have been recent news reports of passengers on a cruise ship contracting the norovirus, so I’ve been particularly aware of washing my hands lately. I do not want to get sick! I’ll bet your customers and employees feel the same way that I do, so help them stay healthy with the promotional marketing products that you give away.

  • Hand Sanitizer – Although I know the jury is still out on the effectiveness of hand sanitizer sprays, gels, etc., I think that it is still a great giveaway. I actually don’t use the stuff too often myself, but when I’ve been to the gas station or a hospital and don’t have an opportunity to wash my hands, you had better believe that I’m going to sanitize myself. The sani gel that I have in my car is actually imprinted with Gossett Marketing’s logo, so I see that every time I utilize it. Just like the customers to whom I’ve given it see our name and contact info when they sanitize themselves – that’s good exposure for us whenever their hands get nasty!
  • Sanitizing Wipes – We all come in contact with some seriously germy surfaces on a regular basis. And not just public restrooms! I’ve read the statistics about what is on the average office phone or keyboard and, well, it’s gross. Which is why everyone who works in an office can use a packet of sanitizing wipes. It’s a good reminder to the recipient to clean off his or her work station, plus they tend to have large imprint areas, which allows you to include a good-sized logo and contact information on a package that will most likely stay in their desk drawer for months to come.
  • Hand Soap – Recent studies have shown that washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water is more effective than using hand sanitizer (although I still reach for my sanitizer in a pinch). So why not give your customers beautifully packaged, wonderful-smelling soap? It’s a heck of a useful gift that no one will throw away, and it can be imprinted very subtly or in a totally bold manner.
  • Comfort Items – Even if you have given your customers and employees sanitizers, hand soap, and, heck, even germ masks, someone is going to get sick. So you might as well help them feel more comfortable by giving away items designed to do just that. Tissues, cough drops, and tea can all be imprinted with your company’s logo and might make the sick recipient feel a little bit better, which will give them a better perception of your organization.

I’m sure that your customers want to stay healthy all through flu season and beyond, so give away imprinted items designed with their immune systems in mind. And if they are under the weather, then you have another marketing opportunity with comfort-type items. Why not use the flu to your advantage this year?!

Are you a Director of First Impressions?

photo from mindclockwork.com

photo from mindclockwork.com

Danette sent out Gossett Marketing’s newsletter recently and I liked her article about the importance of making a good first impression, so I wanted to share it with you. Enjoy reading her wise words below:

Greetings!

Last week I asked a friend’s daughter that has just started her first “real” job after graduating college how it was going. She started by commenting about the staff requirement that everyone takes a turn manning the front reception desk.

I thought she was going to talk about how she hated it or felt it wasn’t what she was hired to do. However, she said she enjoyed greeting people and having a different “face” on for part of her day. Her problem was that of some of the other employees that complained constantly about the responsibility. So I asked her, did they realize that they are the Director of First Impressions. She loved it. Said it really made her realize how important that first “face” is.

Now, I wish I had thought of that, but the first place I saw the “name tag” was at one of our top employers, Baptist Health South Florida. And since that is how they treat everyone you can understand why they are one of the top 100 places to work in the United States (according to Fortune Magazine).

And it is true. How many times have you walked into a business to find the front desk occupied by someone that it’s obvious they don’t want to be there. Or worse, they are talking on a personal call and ignoring you! It happens all the time.

When it does, it makes me wonder how that company will treat my business with them. Will I be ignored? Do I really want to do business with a company that doesn’t instill pride in their employees or make them feel like part of the team?

Years ago I asked a receptionist what the company actually did. I knew they were a headhunting firm but I was hoping she’d have a nice overview that she could spout. She didn’t have a clue. She said, “well, I know we find people jobs because I give applications to fill out, but I don’t know beyond that”.

What a missed opportunity. Everyone in your organization should know what you do. And everyone should feel like they make a contribution to the company.

And it goes beyond just the receptionist or the person answering your phones. It’s the impression that each employee gives about the business. Are they gracious? Anxious to help? Friendly? Open? Professional? All important.

It’s even more so in retail and restaurants.

I was out last week with friends and inquired of the waiter about a particular glass of champagne. I didn’t order it. I was just asking a question. The next thing you know he was bringing it to the table (sure he wanted to sell it to me for $22 a glass). I said, I am so sorry but I didn’t order that. He turned from the table in a huff – not to return for quite a while. We actually had to go up to the bar to put in our order. He gave us poor service for the rest of evening. Our group usually tips big, but not this time. And we will never go to that restaurant again. Not only did he miss out on making a good tip, but the restaurant lost 6+ potential repeat customers. Because I will tell others not to go as well.

Remember, people will remember bad service way more than they will remember a bad product.

So I think it’s time we all try to be that Director of First, Second and Third Impressions and treat each other with the professional respect we all deserve

Don’t Forget to Plan Your Event

photo from vivatechnics.com

photo from vivatechnics.com

Ever since I graduated from college I have been a very frequent wedding guest. Some are here in Miami, but I very often find myself flying to other parts of the country to celebrate my friends’ nuptials. I love that these occasions are a big part of my social calendar, but I must say that they require a good deal of planning, particularly when travel is involved. I have to coordinate schedules, book flights, figure out hotels and transportation, not to mention pick out what to wear (tough life, right?). Fortunately, I always have plenty of advance notice so that I can get it together in a timely manner…except this year. I am attending two weddings during the first half of this year and I have had zero chance to plan for them because neither of my engaged friends will give me any details. One bride has yet to determine the exact date/city for her wedding (meaning that I cannot buy my plane tickets), and while the other has a date and a venue, she can’t seem to figure out whether to accept or decline the celebratory luncheon that I’ve offered to host. Yeah, yeah, I know that these are “first world problems” and I’m not trying to give you a woe-is-me tale, I just wanted to point out that I’m in limbo regarding these nuptial celebrations and it’s frustrating. I want to be there for my friends, but I can’t figure out when or where “there” is.

Whether you’re planning something as elaborate as a wedding or even, say, a networking event it’s really a good idea to give the attendees as much information as possible, as soon as possible. Scheduling is difficult, so if you give invitees advance notice well ahead of the event date, then chances are that their calendars will be clearer so they will be able to fit it in. On the other hand, if you spring something on them at the last minute, then they will have to rearrange their lives around it – something that most people will opt not to do unless they really, really want to go. And, let’s face it, most networking events do not inspire that much excitement!

I didn’t think I’d ever need to write about planning ahead and giving attendees notice so that they will actually participate in your event – be it a wedding or a networking occasion. But I was wrong yet again! So the next time you plan any sort of gathering, do so early and give your guests ample notice so that they are able to attend.

Promotional Marketing for America’s Fittest Cities

photo from gateway-pt.com

photo from gateway-pt.com

Did you know that according to the American College of Sports Medicine, the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota are the fittest in the country? I was surprised to hear that because I equate fitness with getting out and exercising, and, well, I don’t think I’d be motivated to exercise in the harsh Minnesota winter! Clearly I’m a wimpy Miamian because the news report that I saw showed people out running, biking, walking, and doing other types of workouts in sub-zero conditions. That’s dedication!

What I noticed when I watched the news clip about the Twin Cities’ fitness was that everyone was bundled up from head to toe – and rightfully so, as it looked frigid. And naturally because I work at a promotional products distributorship I immediately thought of all of the logoed apparel opportunities exercising outside in Minnesota presents! Companies should be giving away warm hats, gloves, jackets, face gaiters, base layers, and even scarves to their athletic employees and customers. If those items were all imprinted with their logos and the recipient sported them while out on their jog, then the company could potentially make a marketing impression on each and every other exerciser the recipient encountered. And based on the report that I saw, that would be a lot of marketing opportunities.

The nice thing about giving away cold weather exercise apparel and accessories is that people are going to wear them all winter. Multiply the number of times that the recipient exercises by the number of people who can potentially see a corporate logo each time he’s out there running, and you can see why giving away this type of logoed apparel makes great sense. And while these promotional products are ideal giveaways in Minneapolis and St. Paul, they’re also useful and effective marketing tools anywhere else that it’s cold and people exercise. Meaning that they’re great giveaways almost anywhere! So help your employees and customers focus on their fitness while staying warm – your brand will thank you!

Why are People so Vague?

photo from commercialforaconcept.com

photo from commercialforaconcept.com

Something that constantly amazes me is how vague people are. I’ll have customers who call me and say that they need promotional products to give away at an event. I’ll ask them what type of event, when it will occur, how many they need, their budget, and if they have any sort of other guidelines, and their response is generally, “well, the event is in 3 weeks but beyond that I don’t know.” I don’t know about you, but I don’t really understand that; however, it is my job to serve them (the customer is, after all, always right) so I go ahead and pull together ideas based on the little information that I have. Invariably, when I send my promo suggestions to these people, they come back and say, “these aren’t what I wanted,” but they still won’t tell me what it is that they’d like to purchase, so the circle continues!

Clearly I find this aspect of my job frustrating! But I just can’t imagine calling retailer like JCrew and saying, “I’m not really sure what I want or how much I want to spend, so what should I buy?” and yet that’s essentially what people do to us. Now I know that I’m a professional and that I know way more about promotional items than my customers but come on, a little help please! If they would just give me some sort of parameters I would be able to get creative and find something that would knock their socks off!

Sorry to vent on here today, we have been dealing with vagueness all week and I just can’t figure out why. I understand needing the guidance of a professional, but surely one must have some sort of opinion about what one wants to buy. Or am I the difficult one for knowing just what I want when I need to purchase something?

Persistence

Marathon
Geoffrey Mutai ran the fastest marathon in history last week, finishing 26.2 miles in 2 hours, 3 minutes, 2 seconds. That stat blows my mind. It took me about the same amount of time to finish the 2011 Miami Half Marathon.

I like my slow and steady approach to races. I’m not going to win any of them: I run them for pleasure (and so that I can eat a guilt-free burger afterwards). Even though I take that approach to my races, it can still be a real mental challenge to get through them, but I know that if I just put one foot in front of another for long enough, then I can make it to the finish line.

I’ve actually found that the persistence and determination that I’ve picked up by running half marathons translates neatly to my business life. I can’t tell you how many quotes I send out for apparel and promotional items every day, and sometimes it feels like a fruitless endeavor! So I make an effort to follow up on all of those proposals until I get an order. Sometimes I literally feel like I’m stalking my customers, but there’s no sense in letting my hard work go to waste. Plus, I’ve found that the follow up keeps me fresh in their minds, so even if the quote in question does not turn into an order, they’ll remember to call me when they need their next round of logoed caps. Slow and steady might not win a marathon, but it certainly works for me.

This YouTube clip shows Mutai crossing the finish line last week. I look much happier in my race photos!!

What’s the Best Promotional Marketing Strategy?

photo from biography.com

photo from biography.com

I’m sorry if she is your favorite singer, but I happen to think that all of Katy Perry’s songs sound very, very similar. From her power ballads to her peppy, poppy ditties, they are all interchangeable in my brain. I guess that’s a good thing for Katy Perry – when one of her tunes comes on the radio you can instantly tell it’s hers, making it that much easier to purchase it if you like it. Then again, though, is all of that similarity boring?

Here at Gossett Marketing we have a local South Florida radio station playing in the background throughout the workday. I only halfway listen to it most of the time, but I’ve noticed that they frequently feature Katy Perry’s music, which is why I came to the conclusion that they all sound the same. Anyhow, as you might know from reading this blog, we are a promotional marketing products distributorship, and my feelings on Perry’s songs made me start to think about promo items. More specifically: should companies give out items that are very reminiscent of one another or would it behoove them to branch out and give away a wide variety of products?

I can actually make the argument both ways. I think that giving away items that are all in the same vein is a smart way to build a brand. For instance, a law firm might focus on very corporate pieces that are all in the same color leather – padfolios, tablet cases, and business card holders come to mind. Those giveaways would be perfect for working professionals who might need to use their services and they could reinforce the firm’s professionalism and even formality. On the other hand, if an organization is seeking to expand its audience, then it would be smart to give away a variety of promos that would appeal to a broad audience. They could distribute corporate pieces, but also incorporate family friendly things like coolers, toys, etc. into their marketing strategy. Or they might focus on the athletic set with imprinted running caps. Or they might reach out to school kids by giving away backpacks. I could go on and on but you get the idea.

So what do you think? Which is the better promotional marketing strategy, going the Katy Perry route or adding a little variety?

Help! Bloggers Block is in Full Force!

Blank Screen Lately I’ve been struggling with blogger’s block. I sit here at my keyboard and just come up blank as to blog topics. And it seems like I’ve exhausted those of my friends and family, who very often get the “what should I blog about?” phone call because no one seems to have any good suggestions as of late.

To combat my block, I’ve been reading the paper, watching the news, watching sports, being social, keeping my eyes peeled for promotional products, thinking about lists, and even Googling “tips to beat writer’s block.” All to no avail. Sure I’m getting my articles posted each week, but boy oh boy is it a struggle.

Anyhow, I’m throwing it out to you, my readers. Do you have any advice for me? Exercises that snap you out of a writing rut? If so, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Anything, even if it sounds absurd, is bound to help. Thank you in advance!

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