Respond to Emails that Require It!

photo from doktorspinn.com

photo from doktorspinn.com

Like every other professional person I know, I email a lot. A lot. I talk on the phone a fair bit too, but I’d say that email is the bulk of my communication with vendors and customers. While some might disagree, I think that email is pretty efficient. I respond to them quickly, and so do most of the people with whom I work. That’s why when someone does not email back within a reasonable time frame, it really stands out.

As you know, Gossett Marketing is a promotional products distributorship. Our customers order their items and indicate which logo they would like imprinted on them, we submit those orders, and we always request a proof. We then email the proof to our customers, and they generally respond with either approval or changes within a day. Pretty simple! Except sometimes people just don’t get back to me.

I don’t know about you, but I find it weird when I send an email that necessitates a response and I don’t get one. Sticking with the proofs from the last paragraph, I know that some of the people to whom I send them have to show them to other individuals for their approval or changes. But if I send you an email or two, I think it makes sense to respond with something like, “I will have an answer for you in a few days, I need to show this to my manager.” Don’t you think?

Maybe I’m overly picky about it, but I really do think that sending a quick note acknowledging receipt of an email is an important – not to mention polite – thing to do. At least let the sender know that you are not, in fact, ignoring him or her!

Is it strange that I feel so strongly about this aspect of email communication? If so, then let me know in the comments below!

World Cup Promos

photo from travelblog.org

photo from travelblog.org

Although I’ve never been a soccer fan, I’ve found it to be unavoidable during this World Cup. For instance, I was actively trying to not watch it yesterday so I went to the mall. I walked in through the Macy’s men’s department and the very first thing that I saw was a display of Havaianas flip flops with World Cup-themed designs. Beyond that there were racks of t-shirts celebrating seemingly every team, and there were even World Cup posters in the cosmetics area. Like I said: unavoidable!

As the old saying goes, “if you can’t beat them join them,” which is what I’ve now learned to do with this World Cup. So rather than trying to avoid it, I’ve actually begun watching soccer. While I’m still not sold on the sport, I have to say that watching the crowds is a blast. Those fans are crazy! I love to see their team spirit and – you knew this was coming – the promotional products that they’ve either bought or made to show their support. I’ve spotted woven scarves that people are using as signs. Wigs in various team colors. Temporary tattoos. Countless t-shirts. Capes. Flags (by the way, I think it’s neat that the players exchange flags before the game). Silicone bracelets. Drinkware. Soccer balls. The aforementioned flip flops. Various hats. Necklaces. I could go on and on and on, but I will stop there.

The cool thing about this World Cup “swag” is that people are wearing it now as they root for their countries, but they will also wear them after the event. That will help drive excitement for the next cup, as well as show their loyalty to their own country. If nothing else, it will just look cool!

It’s a Small, Small World

photo from thebarking.com

photo from thebarking.com

If you’ve been reading this blog for a little while, then you know a little bit about me. Just as a recap, though, I’m an almost-third-generation Miamian (my grandfather came here as a little boy so I think that pretty much counts as him being from here), which is a really rare thing. Miami is a true melting pot filled with people from other parts of our country and the world, and it feels like a lot of the people who are born here leave for whatever reason. Those of us who are native to Miami and who stay in town as grownups, then, seem to all know each other!

So now you know a little bit about Miami and native Miamians. My coworker is not from here but has lived in town for a few years. She recently moved to a new house and her neighbor decided to host a cocktail party so that she could introduce her to other people who live on the street. When she came to work the following Monday she laughed and said, “Lillian, I met all of your parents’ friends!” Her new neighbors are, like me, locals who regularly socialize with my parents and with whose kids I grew up. They told my coworker stories about me and that Monday I shared stories about them with her!

As you can see, for such a big city, Miami sure has a small-town feel for those of us who have lived here all our lives. It’s kind of a double edged sword. On one hand it’s a good thing because we are surrounded by people we know and who will support us in our personal and professional endeavors. On the other hand, we are surrounded by people we know and gossip can fly at lightning speed!

Big or small, most towns are probably like Miami: a little bit cliquey and gossipy but willing to support their own. I think that’s great from a networking standpoint! However, it is also a good reminder that we should all mind our P’s and Q’s – if you want to thrive professionally and personally, then it’s important to keep a good reputation, and even if you are in a city as large as New York, it’s often hard to remain anonymous. It is, after all, a small, small world.

Slow Summer? Plan Ahead!

photo from alisholidays.ro

photo from alisholidays.ro

I feel like I’ve spent several blog posts discussing the importance of planning ahead, the difficulty of sourcing some products really quickly, the time frame for custom orders, etc. With promotional marketing products – as with many other things – it’s always best to start early so that you can get what you want. Well, it’s summer and your business might be experiencing a lull as people travel or work summer hours, so why not take this break from craziness to start thinking about your upcoming promo needs? Here are some reasons why you might need them and some ideas as to what you should give away.

  • Company Picnics – Summertime is prime company picnic time. In addition to giving your employees and their families a nice lunch spread at this kind of event, you should also give them an imprinted gift. T-shirts, caps, and sunglasses all come to mind. Or what about a beach chair, Frisbee, or cooler? Any of those items would be used well after the end of picnic time to continue promoting your brand.
  • Hurricane Season – If you’re on the coast like we are, then summer means the possibility of hurricanes. Help your customers build their hurricane preparedness kit by giving them flashlights, water bottles, and first aid kits. They’re all invaluable when and if a big storm strikes, so their recipients will certainly appreciate them – and you – when they use them.
  • Back to School – School just let out for summer, so it might feel premature to think about the kids going back to class, but now is the ideal time to do just that. School year planners, backpacks, and lunch bags sell out quickly as the new semester approaches, so get your logo imprinted on those items now in order to be prepared later.
  • Football Season – Sure, sports are a year-round thing, but it just seems to me that people are the most excited for the annual return of football season. Whether your town goes gaga over high school, college, or pro football, items like NFL-approved bags, seat cushions, and even stadium cups are great items to give out to fans. And when they use them at the games, think about the logo exposure you’re getting!

There are certainly other reasons to buy promotional marketing products this summer and to plan ahead for the fall. Just remember to use this slower season to get yourself ready for future business – and future giveaways.

That’s One Way to Pass the Time

photo from wtvr.com

photo from wtvr.com

I’ve been stranded in an airport overnight several times, and let’s be frank, having that happen once is one time too many. Spending the night in LAX, I passed the time watching the custodian vacuum the entire American Airlines terminal – I swear to you, she had an extension cord so long that she never had to unplug her machine. One traveler, Richard Dunn, was recently stuck in Las Vegas’s McCarran International Airport and rather than twiddle his thumbs like I would have done, he made a truly great music video documenting the experience. Click below to see it on YouTube. Enjoy!

Facebook: Think Before You Share

photo from facebook.com

photo from facebook.com

I’m in my early 30’s and so are most of my friends. We’ve all been on Facebook since the beginning – I remember when I had to use my university-issued e-mail address to sign up for what was then known as “The Facebook.” It’s kind of funny to look back at my own posts and those from my friends from way back at the dawn of social networking and to see how far they’ve come. We went from making comments about finals to posting graduation party photos, clips of wedding videos, and now albums of baby pics. I love seeing all of my friends’ pictures and reading their status updates; however, at this stage in the game I do wonder if some of my Facebook connections share too much to too many.

I will admit that my Facebook profile has seen its fair share of alcohol-influenced images and comments, but only my actual friends can see those: I’ve set my account to be very private so that people who do not know me personally do not have access to it. But I have friends whose accounts I know are public, and who have careers and families, who are more than happy to share just about anything on Facebook. Drunk pictures? Yes. Political rants? Definitely. Detailed descriptions about potty training their children? Oh, absolutely. I don’t know about you, but to me that’s just too much information to share with anyone who cares to Google your name (think future employers, customers, boyfriends, etc.).

This is not to say that I don’t want you to have fun on Facebook or any other social networking site, but really think about who can see what you share before you post it. Would you want your priest to see what you did at the party last weekend? Probably not. And does anyone who cares to look really need to know about your baby’s toilet issues? No, the answer is definitely no. So go to that settings button and make sure that you’re keeping your private life private. And once you’ve done that, you should still probably keep your potty training hassles to yourself…

Make Them Remember You

Remember Name Button
I received an Amazon Kindle for my birthday and I absolutely love it. It’s compact and light, purchasing books is convenient, and the battery lasts forever – I’ve downloaded and read three entire books and have yet to charge it. I’m a huge fan! My only gripe about the Kindle is that I can never remember the titles of the books that I’m reading or have read on it. I guess it’s because I don’t have to pick up an actual book, which would have the title displayed on both the cover and the spine, so I see the name less frequently. That lack of exposure allows the book’s name to escape me even if I really love what I’m reading.

I’m sure you’re wondering where I’m going with this. Well, here it is… I can’t remember the title of the book that I’m reading while I’m reading it because I do not see it every time I pick up my Kindle – lack of exposure is the problem. So if your customer is not exposed to your company’s name and logo, how will they remember you? Sure, they might have “Accountant” or “A/C Guy” programmed into their phone, but will they be able to refer you business if they don’t have that phone with them? Probably not!

Get your logo out there if you want people to recognize your corporation! Promotional marketing products are an excellent way to do that. If you are an accountant, give out calculators – that’s a no-brainer. I have my appliance repair company’s magnet on my refrigerator so I see their name – Glenn’s – every day. And Gossett Marketing gives out fun logoed items to our customers: bags, hand-shaped, highlighters, you name it! We practice what we preach!

So put your logo on something and give it to your customers. It really helps them remember your name!

Adorable News from Miami – Baby Animals!

photo from miamiherald.com

photo from miamiherald.com

When you hear news about animals in Miami, chances are there is a negative connotation. Giant pythons have taken over the Everglades, we are now rounding up and eating lionfish so that they don’t take over our waters, we have alligators and crocodiles – and both eat local pets. I could go on and on, but those are some of the weird highlights from my hometown. Well guess what? Now there is happy animal news in South Florida! Zoo Miami has had a few births and having seen the baby animals’ images in the Miami Herald, I just had to share them! Check out the new arrivals by clicking here – is anything cuter than that little rhino?

Blogs Can a Useful Networking Tools

photo from inneractionmedia.com

photo from inneractionmedia.com

When I write my weekly article for this, the networking portion of the blog, I always focus on going to events and meeting people that way. Call me old fashioned, but when I think “networking” that is what comes to mind. Which is kind of a silly thing to admit as I write a blog post because I think that all of our interactions online can now be considered networking.

Saying that a blog can be for networking is probably strange, but I do believe that it’s true. I wrote about guest blogging as networking a while ago – check out that article by clicking here. In addition to that, though, writing a blog post is like starting a conversation. I write something, you read it, you agree or disagree strongly, and you comment, I comment back, etc. That can quickly foster a relationship even if we live on opposite sides of the country or the world.

When I write a blog I also have Danette tweet it out from her account @Marketngtidbits. She has over 4,000 Twitter followers, many of whom tend to retweet or share links back to the article. Very often she will end up having 140-character-at-a-time discussions with them about the post. Again, that is spreading her network.

Posts from this blog are also automatically channeled to Danette’s LinkedIn profile, so the people with whom she has connected with on that platform can read articles on InterestingMarketingTidbits. Her connections on that network are mainly people that Danette knows personally, not just from behind the keyboard, and when they reconnect in the real world they very often mention articles from this blog and SalesPromotions.org. That means that this online conversation starter has worked in real life as well as within the confines of the internet.

By no means is a blog the only online networking tool – in fact, it might be the least effective one out there – but for us, it does work. Do you blog? Do you think of it as a way to expand your business network? Whether your answer is yes or no, go ahead and tell me about it in the comments and maybe we can start to do business together!

Promotional Products for Foodies

photo from Illini

photo from Illini

Gossett Marketing is an office comprised entirely of women. And I guess we’re kind of stereotypical women in that we talk daily about food: we both celebrate the delicious things we have recently consumed and then lament the fact that we need to diet because of said delicious things. I wouldn’t say that any of us beat ourselves up about food/weight, but we sure do discuss it regularly. Now I don’t know about you, but for me, discussing food makes me want to eat, so I am constantly hungry when I’m here, and this has led me to search many, many times for food-related promotional products. Here are some that I particularly enjoy!

  • Oven Mitts – No, you can’t eat an oven mitt, but they make getting brownies out of the oven a lot safer! They are also products that can look worn out when used regularly, so giving fresh, new ones to your customers is always a good idea. Then they can see your logo when they pull out those brownies – and have a positive perception of your organization!
  • Herbs – It’s easy to customize seed packets with your logo. That will give you some exposure, but an even better promotional marketing technique would be to give away seeds or herbs in imprinted pots. That way your customer will glimpse your logo whenever he waters or uses his basil.
  • Wine Stoppers – OK, so wine is not food, but it is often sipped during meals so this counts. Ranging from very inexpensive to beautifully engraved crystal, wine stoppers are promo items for any budget. If your customers are like me, then they always need a stopper but can never find one, so help them out by giving one that suits your brand’s aesthetic.
  • Food – Cookies, bags of coffee, candy, spices, nuts, fruit – you name it and your logo can either be imprinted on it or on its container. A tasty treat is a little luxury for your customer, and who doesn’t like that?!

While you and your customer might not be as obsessed with food as I am, everyone has to eat! So give promotional products that are tasty or that help in the creation or the preservation of something scrumptious!

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