Sweet Reminder

Peeps Candy
A good friend of mine is an event planner here in Miami. She throws a lot of parties so her vendors often reach out to her in order to stay top of mind. She gets a tons of calls and e-mails, but she told me today about a great piece of direct mail that she recently received. A hotel that she hasn’t utilized in a while sent her a box filled with Peeps Candy and a note that said “We haven’t heard a PEEP from you!” and included their contact information. She admitted that the candy is already all gone, but the box with the hotel’s logo is sitting on her desk and she said that she said that it was a great reminder to look at their venue again. What a fun, seasonally-appropriate way to touch base with a customer!

Direct mail can be very inexpensive and it’s a great way to stay on your customers’ radar. You can be as straightforward or as clever as you want to be (here at Gossett Marketing always encourage creative promotions!). Let us know if you’re considering a direct mail – we will come up with something as sweet as the Peeps campaign!

I wonder what Hitchock would think about this remake of The Birds?  Click on this YouTube video to see what I’m talking about!

Infographic: Customer Service Trends

A gentleman named Aldo Baker saw that Danette had recently tweeted an article about marketers on Twitter, so he took the initiative to send a handy-dandy infographic regarding Customer Service. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I have posted it below. Click on the image to enlarge and review the infographic, based on the study commissioned by Desk.com and SalesForce.com, and conducted by Forrester Consulting. What do you think about their findings?

Click to Enlarge Image

The Key Trends Facing Customer Service Organizations — Brought To You By Desk.com

Imprinting on Promos has Come a Long Way, Baby!

Four Color Process In the past, the standard decorating method on almost all promotional marketing products has been a one-color, one-location silkscreened or pad printed imprint. While that kind of logoing gets the point across, it’s not always the perfect type of decoration for everyone. Unfortunately, the companies who ordered promo items were often either stuck with the only available imprinting option or they had to custom order their giveaways from overseas. Well, luckily our suppliers have come a long way, baby! Fortunately for companies who have intricate logos, colorful designs, or just want something different, many suppliers now offer a wide range of imprint options that can accommodate special requests domestically – not in China.

One of the domestic decorating methods that we’ve been seeing lately has been the four color process transfer imprint. This allows you to basically print on a promo item in any and all colors with a tremendous level of detail. We just produced a large order of tote bags with cartoon children, a building, a happy sunshine, and landscaping all around them and it looks adorable! And we would never have been able to include so much detail with a silkscreened print.

We also have suppliers who actually create customized promotional products stateside. For example, one of the companies that we frequently use to produce sticky notepads now makes acrylic holders for those items. They can be die cut to look like just about anything – a skyline, people, books, you name it – and printed inside and out to really drive a branding message home. And speaking of notepads, those can also be die-cut Stateside for a truly custom promo item.

I won’t bore you with further examples, but just remember that imprinting on promotional marketing products has improved vastly in the last few years. So if you have an intricate, colorful logo that you thought could never go on a coffee mug, think again! Not only is it possible, but it can probably done quickly and at low minimum quantities.

IKEA’s Missed Marketing Opportunity

Ikea Store

Although I spent a portion of my summer in Sweden, I just visited my first IKEA store over the weekend. I have to say, I loved it! While I’m not on the market for any furniture I did find some fun accessories and some super inexpensive cutting boards – awesome!

My favorite part of the visit, though, was not the showroom or the home décor, it was the market. I found many of the tasty treats that I had enjoyed while visiting Stockholm and Visby (and some that I didn’t enjoy at all – not the biggest fan of pickled herring), plus there were tons of scrumptious samples! My sister and I had been shopping all day, so we were particularly enamored of the individually-wrapped chocolate bars that were filled with toffee bits: we needed a sugar boost. I’m not proud to say it, but we definitely enjoyed more than our fair share, sneaking extras into our handbags when no one was looking (stop judging, please!).

The weird thing about the chocolates was that their wrappers were blank – there wasn’t an IKEA label, they weren’t marked as “chocolate with toffee bits,” they were just enclosed in white wrapping. Now, I know that IKEA is famous for being inexpensive, and not marking the candy might have been a way to keep costs down, but really, wouldn’t you want your customers to pay a penny more in order to get your logo some extra exposure? Because we could have helped with their marketing! Really!

You see, after we left the store my sister and I continued to pull the candies out of our bags as we wandered around the mall – had they been labeled, a casual observer could have seen the chocolates and thought to herself “I didn’t know that IKEA had chocolate,” or “oh! I need a new lamp – I should hit up IKEA this evening!” It might have even moved someone to go to their store instead of, say, WalMart. Throwing a logo on those wrappers would be a simple and inexpensive way to increase their brand exposure – everyone knows what their blue and yellow logo looks like, so even seeing those two colors together would provide instant marketing.

Yes, I know that IKEA is a major international brand and you might not think that they need to continue to market themselves, but with all of the competition out there, every little bit helps. It’s precisely why I always write with a Gossett Marketing pen – I’m helping to build our brand every time someone sees me use it!

Even though they missed a marketing opportunity, they still have a sense of humor: check out this funny IKEA commercial on YouTube!

Networking with Perfect Strangers

Perfect Strangers logo I know that the whole purpose of attending networking events is to meet new people. But have you ever walked into one and not known a single person there? I sure have! I’m no wallflower, but plunging into a room of hundreds of strangers (all of whom, of course, seem to know each other well!) is daunting. So what to do in those situations? Here are a couple of my strategies.

I often start by heading to the coffee/bar/food stations. Even when I’m not officially networking, I often talk to strangers when I’m at Starbucks or the salad bar, and I find that others are very willing to engage in those environments as well. So while I wait for my soda, I try to chit chat with whoever else is standing around. Hopefully he or she will not only talk to me for a few minutes, but will also introduce me to someone they know.

Another good idea is to look for someone else who doesn’t seem to know anyone. Chances are that he or she will be grateful to have someone to talk to. The only problem with this strategy is if the individual is a clinger. You know, someone who decides that he is going to stick to your side for the duration of the event. It’s not necessarily a horrible thing, but it can be annoying! If someone does glom onto you, you can always try to gently extricate yourself by heading to the restroom. Or if you are a nicer person than I, you can grin and bear it and do your networking with a sidekick!

Don’t be intimidated by a roomful of strangers. Just put on a happy face and try to engage those around you – that’s what you’re all there for, so your new contacts will appreciate your outgoingness.

Do you have any tips for networking in a roomful of perfect strangers? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.

Promotional Products: A Marketing Double Whammy

photo from wsw.org.uk

photo from wsw.org.uk

You know what I’ve noticed lately? When people attend events where they receive lots of cool promotional marketing products, they tend to post pictures of said products to social media sites. For instance, I have lots of friends who live in Austin and several of them have photographed their SXSW swag, each and every piece of which features a prominent logo. So not only is the recipient of these goods seeing that logo, but so are all of his or her friends and followers. It’s a marketing double whammy!

The next time you consider buying promotional products, consider the fact that if you give enough of them or if you hand out very interesting promos, you will probably get exponentially more exposure than you had anticipated. So maybe it’s time to think about investing a little bit more in this form of marketing?

Re-Branding a Tradition

Jungle Island If you’ve never been to Miami, then you probably don’t realize that we have a fairly large number of zoos all over town. There’s Zoo Miami, our biggest and widest-ranging animal park that features creatures from all over the planet. We also have the Seaquarium, a marine park, and Monkey Jungle, which is filled with, you guessed it, monkeys! Lastly, there is Jungle Island, a park on Watson Island that has all sorts of tropical birds, reptiles, and other jungle critters. As you can see we have a lot of animal-centric venues, but this blog post is going to focus on Jungle Island.

Jungle Island began as Parrot Jungle about 75 years ago. Back then it was located in the Pinecrest part of town and was a tropical bird park featuring parrots, lovebirds, peacocks, and flamingos. Some of the birds did shows in the “Parrot Bowl” big top – maybe you’ve seen images or videos of a roller skating cockatoo? That was Parrot Jungle! The Pinecrest location was a landmark that even the birds recognized: you see, many were allowed to fly free and would return for meals and to roost (and some stayed free, which is part of the reason why you can see macaws flying around town to this day). Well, as they say, all good things must come to an end, and eventually Parrot Jungle was moved to the current Watson Island location.

In 2003, the newly-renamed Parrot Jungle Island opened to the public. While I’m partial to the Parrot Jungle that I grew up with, it is a spectacular venue. The gorgeous grounds have the colorful tropical birds that the park is known for, but it also has a lovely ballroom facility, and, in 2003, an ever-expanding collection of animals.

The park has been adding a variety of critters to its exhibits since it opened on Watson Island, but between 2003 and 2006 the growth was at its peak. This is when a tiger/liger habitat was created, a 20 foot long crocodile (“Hank the Crocosaurus”) arrived, and twin orangutans made their debut. Because the park added so many jungle creatures, its name was changed to Jungle Island in 2007 – while parrots were and are still a huge part of the experience, they were no longer the entire experience, the jungle is!

Parrot Jungle was a Miami tradition when I was growing up, and now Jungle Island is that for a new generation of Miami youngsters. The slow re-branding that took the Parrot out of Jungle Island allowed the park to keep its older fans – by not alienating them, they’ve ensured that they will bring their own children to see the animals one day, so the tradition will live on.

Oh, and about that roller skating cockatoo? Now he rides a bike! You can check him out in this YouTube video:

Enhancing Customer Relations via Twitter

Twitter
At Gossett Marketing we consider customer service to be our top priority. We are also working hard to increase our social media presence. So when I saw an article recently about using Twitter to improve customer relations, I knew it was a must-read. You can check it out here.

The article basically explains how a happy or disgruntled customer can easily tweet something positive or negative about your business at any time. A savvy business owner or employee will notice the Twitter mention and respond accordingly. If the customer writes a glowing review, then a simple “thank you” is a nice touch. And if he or she is unhappy, then you can address that. Twitter is so interactive and fast-moving that the customer and the business should be able to reach a resolution quickly.

The piece then goes on to give examples of how certain businesses are using their tweets to improve their customer service. One of the businesses listed, Sweetness Bakeshop, is in Miami and I like the owner’s Twitter philosophy: “Co-founder Stephanie Diaz says the use of @replies and mentions has been critical in providing customers with a voice. ‘I think replying and retweets is a huge part of our Twitter growth. People want to know that their Tweets are actually being read and that they are interacting with somebody…Customers know that if they use Twitter to ask us something, critique something or make a request for something special, we’ll make every effort to address it.’”

Twitter has also helped Sweetness Bakeshop and their dessert truck “Sugar Rush,” gain local media attention!

If you aren’t on Twitter, then you’re not taking advantage of every customer service opportunity out there. And if you are, then follow us – @MarketngTidbits

Marketing to Thirsty Shoppers

photo from reeseisweird.com

photo from reeseisweird.com

For the past few weeks my mom and I have been hunting for a new dress for me to wear to one of my best friend’s weddings. We’ve tried every mall in Miami to no avail, so yesterday we road tripped it up to the Boca Town Center, where we have often had shopping luck in the past. In reading this blog, you might think that I’m a prissy person who loves to browse for clothing; however, you would be wrong in that assessment. I am not a shop-a-holic by any means; online shopping is one thing, but going store to store and trying on dresses (and getting stuck in them half of the time) is just not my bag. I find it tiring and frustrating when I can’t find anything. Therefore, I appreciate anything that a store can do to make my life better while I’m trudging through the mall. This is why Neiman Marcus was my favorite stop yesterday!

Neiman Marcus is an expensive store but they do have beautiful things and wonderful customer service. I love it when the ladies in the dress department pull things that I might otherwise not have picked up and bring them to me in the dressing room – I’ve found some of my favorite pieces that way. But what I really love about the place is that they give you water! This is actually a fairly recent development and I think it’s great: the salespeople offer you a bottle of water while you shop or try on clothes. Shopping is tiring and thirst-inducing, and that little drink that Neiman’s now offers always hits the spot.

Not only do customers like me enjoy the water that Neiman Marcus gives away, but the store is smart and the bottles are labeled with its logo. I saw many a fellow shopper wandering the Town Center with their little bottles of Neiman’s hydration. Who knows how far those items will go after leaving the mall? If someone refills it time and again, then the logo could be seen by a tremendous number of potential customers – that’s great marketing exposure!

Marketing (or anything) Tip: Plan Ahead

plan ahead The team here at Gossett Marketing often jokingly refers to our organization as Gossett Rush Marketing because each week we get a slew of last-minute panicked phone calls from customers who have forgotten to order promotional products for upcoming events. Fortunately, we have great suppliers who are often able to help us with quick turnarounds – our silkscreener once delivered imprinted shirts for us on the same day that we ordered them – but it’s not always possible. We love our customers, even the self-professed “Queen of Rush Orders,” so we are always disappointed when we cannot meet their needs, but there comes a point when I want to shake them and say “you have known about this event for months – give us a heads up!”

Most of the promotional marketing items that we produce are used at events: health fairs, galas, golf tournaments, etc. Some are also used as part of marketing campaigns – for instance, many of the cruise lines send travel agents promo items to boost awareness of their brand. These aren’t the kind of things that just pop up out of nowhere, most require months of planning. I recognize that when someone is planning an event or a marketing campaign, promotional products might not be the first thing on their mind, but they certainly shouldn’t be the last thing either. Rush orders generally cost more, provide limited options, and if there is any mistake in the order, then there is no time to rectify the situation.

The moral of the story is to plan ahead when ordering promotional products – or really when you’re doing anything for your business. Sure, there are unexpected circumstances that will pop up and surprise you now and again, but the vast majority of events/marketing campaigns/general projects are well thought-out and planned, so make sure that their promotional products (and everything else associated with them) are as well.

For more information about planning ahead, check out this YouTube video from John Maxwell, a renowned speaker, author, and leadership expert. Good stuff!

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