Truly Mobile Advertising

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Miami Beach is a busy place on a normal day. But during the peak of tourist season it is chaotic. Especially when one of the main North/South thoroughfares is undergoing massive construction, as it is now. So my move when I head over the bridge to that part of town is to park my car wherever I can and then take a taxi to my final destination. It’s less frustrating than driving to a particular restaurant or boutique and then trying to find a parking space, which usually results in driving past where I need to be, parking far away, and hoofing it back – usually in my highest heels!

The last time I was on South Beach I stuck to my plan and parked right away, but instead of catching a taxi I was lucky enough to get a ride in the Swoop Car! It’s a free car service that will take you wherever you need to go on the Beach. Swoop is not only convenient, but it’s also fun. They drive you around in Earth-friendly electric cars and when we used the service, the windows were all open so we got to get an up-close look at the crazies that live on and visit the Beach.

So how does Swoop do it? How can a taxi service operate for free? Well, for one thing the drivers work for tips, and we were certainly generous with ours. I’m guessing that other riders are too because our driver was hustling to make sure that he got to all of his potential patrons. That’s not enough to keep cars, electric or otherwise, driving around Miami Beach, though. However, advertising is! Our Swoop-mobile was covered from top to bottom with ads for Zico coconut water. That is great exposure for the brand because my friends and I called it the Coconut Car as we discussed the benefits of Zico’s product. Not only that, but everyone who we passed (many of whom really took notice of our odd-looking ride) were also exposed to the brand name. It’s a billboard on wheels!

It looks to me like Swoop is a Miami-only phenomenon, but hopefully it will catch on in other parts of the country. It is a fabulous service, plus it is outstanding advertising.

Networking and Charity go Hand in Hand

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As I mentioned in a previous post, I recently attended an event that was part of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. If you are unfamiliar with the Festival, then you probably don’t know that it is the place for people from the food world to mix and mingle. No matter which part of the weekend you spend at the Fest, you will definitely see famous chefs, interact with up-and-coming restaurateurs, and meet various food and beverage purveyors. It’s definitely a major networking event for the culinary industry, and I’m glad about that because all of the proceeds are donated to Florida International University’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management – $18 million and counting!

As in the case of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, networking and charity very often go hand in hand, and I think that’s a great thing. So many events that we businesspeople attend raise money for particular causes – be it a gala dinner or just a simple breakfast reception. They might not raise 10’s of millions of dollars, but every little bit helps!

In addition to raising funds for a good cause, networking often happens when people get their hands dirty by doing hands-on volunteer work. When I’ve spent time on the food line at Chapman Partnership for the Homeless I’ve certainly gotten to know my fellow servers – we pass the time by chit-chatting. I’m sure that painting walls for Habitat for Humanity is much the same. While you’re engaged in a relatively-mindless physical activity, it’s only natural to talk, which might lead to a friendship or a business connection.

Whether you are trying to raise money or exerting physical effort for a good cause, networking and charity certainly go hand-in-hand. So get out there and help your community while you boost your business.

Delicious Food & Unique Promotional Items

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Some friends and I recently attended the Amstel Light Burger Bash, part of the annual South Beach Wine & Food Festival. It was a blast! Held under an enormous tent right on the sand, the event featured chefs from all over the country cooking their best hamburgers. There were normal burgers, others topped with unusual things like Nutella, some in unique buns (Ramen noodles, pizza crusts, and even tostones), and others that were just too decadent to describe! Amstel Light flowed freely, and there was tasty wine everywhere. The band was great, we ran into tons of people we knew, and it was just a fun evening!

The Burger Bash was all about the food and drinks, but that doesn’t mean that promotional products were left out of the mix. Actually, the event had some of the more interesting promos that I’ve seen. The first items that I noticed were cotton tote bags that seemingly everyone was carrying: they were imprinted with various designs, along with the Groupon logo. The neat thing about them was that Groupon had a large booth wedged between two burger stands where they actually had people silkscreening them on the spot. You just walked up to their booth, indicated which design you liked, and they added the imprint right there. It was a fun concept and it allowed recipients to select a bag that they would actually use, rather than just handing out something that might get tossed later.

Another snazzy promotional item was the “smart” bracelets that Esurance distributed at the Bash. Dubbed the SavorBand, these bracelets were made from white silicon and embellished with the company’s simple “e” logo and they were designed to help attendees remember what they ate and loved. You see, each booth at the Burger Bash had a little computer terminal in front of it. If you ate a burger that you liked, you could then tap your SavorBand to that terminal and information about the tasty bite would then be saved to your bracelet. You might get the recipe, tips from the chef, or both, which you could later download to your home computer. It was a great way for recipients to bring the festival home with them!

I love the South Beach Wine & Food Festival in general and the Amstel Light Burger Bash in particular. It’s a hotbed of great food, tasty beverages, and the neatest promotional products! Hopefully all of you will be able to attend one day – it’s a great time!

Check out this YouTube video about the Esurance SavorBands – such a cool promotional marketing product!

Gold Medal Marketing

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If I had to give a gold medal in marketing for the Olympic Games, I have to say that I’d give it to Canada: more specifically to Molson Coors, the North American beer brand that is promoting its Canadian suds at the Games. So why would I put Molson at the top of the podium? Because the company has brought a refrigerator to Sochi!

You’ve probably already heard about Molson’s Olympic appliance, but just in case you haven’t here’s why it’s a fun bit of marketing. The machine has a passport reader and you are required to swipe your Canadian passport in order to unlock it and retrieve your free beer! It’s a total gimmick, but I’ve seen dozens of pictures of athletes and fans – Canadian or not – posing with the bright red fridge. Popping up on Facebook, Twitter, and online news outlets, the images show both happy people and the Molson logo. Because of that, the general public has seen the Molson logo more times during these Games than they may have ever seen it before. That’s excellent marketing!

If you had a marketing gold medal to give out at the Olympics who would it go to? Do you agree with me about the Molson Coors refrigerator or would you go in a different direction? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.

What Not to Do After a Networking Event

I write a lot about networking – heck our blog has a whole category dedicated to it – so I always wonder if our readers think that the Gossett Marketing team is obsessed with building our business network. In a word: yes. Networking takes a lot of our time, effort, and dedication, but we firmly believe that it’s worth the endeavor, as it helps us grown in our community and beyond. If you’re not already a dedicated networker, then it’s time to start so that you can expand your business’s reach (and ultimately its profitability).

Regardless as to whether you’re new to business networking or if it’s old hat to you, I think everyone can brush up on networking etiquette. Last week I discussed what not to do during an event, so this week I’m focusing on what not to do afterwards. Here we go…

1. Nothing – You went to a networking event, met new people, and took their business cards back to work with you. Don’t just leave that contact information on your desk, never to be viewed again; rather, follow up with the people you met! Send a quick e-mail, invite them to connect on LinkedIn, give them a call, or even tweet them. Reinforce the bond you made at the networking event so that you can begin to forge a real relationship.
2. Too Much – On the opposite end of the spectrum from those who do nothing post-event are those who do too much. These are the folks who send an e-mail, then give the recipient a call an hour later just to be sure that they’d gotten it. And who not only connect on LinkedIn but start filling your Twitter feed and continually comment on your blog posts. These people mean well, but it’s overwhelming and, well, feels a bit stalker-ish. Ultimately, this strategy backfires, as the person with whom they are so desperately trying to bond begins to avoid the avid follow-upper!
3. Be a Robot – Now that you know the right amount of follow up, be sure that you’re doing the right kind. Often after networking with someone I, get a form e-mail saying things like “it was nice to meet you at the recent Chamber of Commerce event.” What event? What did we talk about? Do I really want to build a relationship with someone who can’t take the time to write a personalized e-mail? Absolutely not! But if I get an e-mail saying something like, “it was wonderful to sit with you at lunch yesterday, I enjoyed learning about the promotional products industry…” then chances are I will respond to the sender. He has taken the time to absorb our discussion and write me a personal e-mail, which shows me that his networking effort was genuine – I’m happy to consider someone like that a part of my network!

What it all boils down to is that you need to behave like a normal human being both before and after a networking event. I know that sounds strange, but treat others as you’d like to be treated, don’t bother them, but also don’t ignore them, and connect with them. That’s really what it takes to successfully network!

Promotions at the Boat Show

Miami Boat Show Between the Coconut Grove Arts Festival and the Miami International Boat Show, Presidents Day Weekend was a busy one in South Florida. I attended both events, but we wrote about the Arts Festival last year, so I figured I’d tell you about the Boat Show.

I’m a native Miamian and the Boat Show has been going on for as long as I can remember but I have never been, and boy was I amazed by the sheer size of the event! It spans three locations – Miami Beach Convention Center, Sea Isle Marina and Yachting Center and Miamarina at Bayside – and features over 2,000 exhibitors, as well as thousands of boats. It’s so big that the official event guide is a whopping 233 pages long!

Being first timers, my husband and I decided to limit our Show experience to just one location: we chose the Convention Center. It was stuffed to the rafters with boats, boating equipment, dive gear, and fishing necessities, as well as with people giving demonstrations and various seminars. Now, I’m no stranger to tradeshows and their giveaways (after all, Gossett Marketing is a distributor of those types of items), but never in my life have I ever seen or received quite so many handouts! Here is a rundown of some of what I spotted being given to attendees: 1 boat tote, 1 first aid kit, 1 t-shirt, 1 flashlight, 1 pair of sunglasses, 2 bottles of sunscreen, 2 glasses straps, 2 glasses cases, 3 reusable grocery bags, 5 foam visors, tons of candy, and too many floating key chains to count! All of the items featured a company’s logo and they were all being given out to anyone who wanted them, which is great for the givers’ brand exposure.

One thing that struck me, though, was the overabundance of the aforementioned floating key chains. I didn’t do any sort of official research, but it felt like at least 25% of the booths were giving them away. I get it: they’re useful if you’re a boater. But if I was one of the exhibitors, I certainly would not have chosen to hand them out – I would have figured (correctly) that too many of my competitors would be giving the same thing and when that happens any promotional product is going to lose its marketing impact. Personally, I would have given out a custom item, which can be surprisingly inexpensive and gets you more bang for your buck!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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People always tell me that Valentine’s Day is a Hallmark Holiday, designed by corporations as a way to increase business – I’m looking at you flower companies, candy manufacturers, and greeting card producers. But I don’t care, I like it. This positive feeling toward the holiday might actually be because I’ve bought into the aforementioned businesses’ marketing efforts that have made me want receive flowers, eat chocolate, and exchange cards with my loved ones! As a marketing professional myself, I applaud them for getting me to buy into the day!

Whether you think Valentine’s Day is fabulous or a farce, I hope you enjoy yours this year. Happy Valentine’s Day from your friends at Gossett Marketing!

How’s Your Elevator Speech?

Speed Networking

Last week I attended the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s “Speed Biz Breakfast,” which was essentially the speed dating version of networking. There were around 25 other attendees, and we all sat around a long table. We were told to introduce ourselves and our businesses to the person across from us, and have him/her do the same in 3 minutes. At the end of 3 minutes, we all moved to the right and did it again with the next person.

Let me tell you, I learned that 3 minutes with someone can fly by in the blink of an eye or can drag on for all eternity!

With people to whom I enjoyed speaking, 3 minutes was not a long enough visit, and I think it was because those people had such captivating “elevator speeches.” They had all mastered the art of describing themselves and their businesses succinctly yet in an interesting fashion. The 3-minutes-is-an-eternity-people, on the other hand, were not engaging, they didn’t know what to say, and I still have no idea what they do!

I think my “elevator speech” – which describes our creative promotional products, employee incentive programs, custom collateral, etc. – is pretty darn good and my foray into Speed Networking just reinforced its importance!

Promos at the Olympics

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The Winter Olympics is here and I’ve found myself watching quite a bit of the coverage. Being a Miami girl, I’ve never spent too much time in the snow, so I’m fascinated by the skiers racing down the mountain, the snowboarders defying gravity, and the skaters balancing on such a thin piece of metal. Beyond the athletes, I’m always also struck by the fans at any Olympic Games because they are so enthusiastic – and completely decked out in promotional products! If you read this blog very much, you saw that turn coming didn’t you? Whenever I watch anything sports-related, I always mention the promotional items that are involved! Here are some of the items that have caught my eye in the broadcasts from Sochi:

  • Gloves and Mittens – I’ve seen a lot of people wearing gloves where one palm says “Go” and the other reads “USA!” They’re a really cute way to keep your hands warm while supporting your country.
  • Cowbells – The sound of cowbells is ubiquitous at the skiing events. While I can’t say for sure whether the bells are imprinted, I’m willing to bet that they are. I would imagine that the event’s organizers are distributing them to spectators so that they can ring them during the event, and that the bells have the Sochi 2014 logo on them – instant souvenir.
  • Outerwear – It’s cold at the winter games, so selling outerwear just makes sense. The sweaters that the US team wore to the opening ceremonies have already sold out, as a matter of fact. And, say what you will about them, they are noticeable, which is good for their designer Ralph Lauren, and good for showing that the wearer is rooting for Team USA!
  • Lanyards – It looks like everyone who goes to an event is required to have his or her ticket visible at all times, which is why they are wearing lanyards around their necks. I haven’t gotten a really good look at them, but it seems like they are all the same – they probably have the Sochi logo on them. Visitors to the Olympics will wear them during the event, and will probably bring them back home with them too.
  • Pins – Apparently one of the big things to buy at any given Olympics is pins. They’re small, they pack easily, and they show which Games the owner has attended. People are most likely buying them now, wearing them on their lanyards while they are in Sochi, and then keeping them somewhere safe upon returning to their home country. Then, if they attend the Olympics in the future they’ll probably bring their Sochi pins with them to show that they’re seasoned attendees.

Any sporting event is a hotbed of promotional marketing products, but because the Olympic Games are so big and televised everywhere, those promo items are really noticeable. Have you seen items that I missed? If so, tell me about them in the comments below.

Clever Marketing for South Florida

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When I watch the news lately it seems like the top story day after day is the weather. Snowstorm after snowstorm has brought parts of the country to a standstill and I have to say, it looks brutal. Not to gloat, but I live in Miami and while the rest of America has been dealing with snow and ice, we’ve had a pretty fabulous run of beach-perfect days! I’m not the only one who has noticed how decidedly nice it’s been in South Florida as the rest of the country has suffered: in fact, Ft. Lauderdale, our neighbor to the north, has a new marketing campaign that flaunts it!

The Greater Ft. Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau is encouraging people in frigid New York to visit the Sunshine State with its “Beach Looks Good On You” campaign. They are streaming sunny images of the beach into Grand Central Terminal, which is a great reminder that there is a winter escape out there. But my favorite part is the models that they’ve stationed around the city. You see, they have created beach scenes and bikini-clad models are lounging in them throughout Manhattan (don’t worry, the scenery has heat incorporated so that the models don’t develop hypothermia). It’s a stark contrast to the parkas that passing commuters are wearing!

I actually do think that the terrible weather up north drive people to seek a warm getaway, so it’s very smart that Ft. Lauderdale has marketed itself to just that customer base. I’ll bet they get an influx of visitors from New York very soon!

Check out this YouTube clip to see more of the campaign:


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