Think Pink in October and Beyond

pink ribbon
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and while I have no statistics to back this claim, it certainly feels like it is the “Awareness Month” that receives the most attention. That is probably because over 220,000 women are diagnosed with the disease annually, so you would be hard pressed to find anyone whose life has not somehow been impacted by this form of cancer.

Due to the fact that it touches so many lives, people are very active in raising money to beat breast cancer so October is an activity-filled month. There are fundraisers, charitable walks, companies have days where employees can dress casually if they donate to the cause, organizations sponsor picnics…the list goes on and on. Many of these events feature some type of promotional marketing material. T-shirts are always popular, so are bags and hats. Smart sponsors can give out bandage dispensers to blistered recipients at athletic activities. And those companies who let their employees dress down in exchange for a donation might want to give participants a pink ribbon-shaped stress reliever to keep on their desk.

These promotional products aren’t limited to the more grassroots events during Breast Cancer Awareness Month either. Check out the NFL during October and see those burly players sporting pink socks, cleats, towels, hats, and more!

I was going to write that the money raised for the cause during Breast Cancer Awareness Month is probably the most important part of its celebration. However, raising awareness about the disease is right up there too. And if you give a promotional marketing item to someone who is participating in any type of awareness event, then when he or she wears or uses it later on, they continue to raise that awareness level. So whatever you do during October, be sure to give and to receive awareness-themed promo products, then use them in the coming months to keep the fight against breast cancer top of mind.

Customer Service Brownie Points

photo from if-fit.com

photo from if-fit.com

Lululemon was in the news a lot last year because the company recalled a large percentage of its yoga pants due to the fact that they were see-through. That accident was definitely not the best publicity for the athletic wear company. I just read an article on BusinessInsider.com where Lululemon made another error – this time in packing an order. Rather than sending a customer the one running hat that he ordered, they sent him 20! And how they handled the mistake was a smart bit of customer service. Click here to head on over to the article to see how the company earned some excellent customer service brownie points!

Trade Show Survival Guide

Trade Show

I can’t be the only person who finds trade shows overwhelming – so many booths, people, brochures, and promotional products all at once – it’s sensory overload! They’re big, noisy, and chaotic but whether you are exhibiting or an attendee they can be great for business. Here are my tips for being a successful participant.

  • No matter which side of the booth you’re on, try to have a conversation with the person across from you. It’s so tempting to grab a brochure and a logoed bag and keep walking, but that won’t really help you understand someone’s business. Talk to the representative, see how you can help them and how they can help you.
  • When you do have an engaging conversation with someone, take their business card and be sure to follow up – always a key to successful networking. As I mentioned, I find trade shows to be overwhelming, so I like to take a second to jot down a reminder about the person on his or her card (my reminders are anything from “pretty red hair” to “spoke about ordering embroidered shirts for employees” – just something to jog the memory)
  • If you have a booth, be sure to meet all of the people at the exhibits surrounding yours. That way, even if everyone who stops by your booth seems like a dud, your day won’t be a total waste. After the show, touch base with the people who were around you all day; maybe they can refer you to someone or perhaps they need your business!
  • As an attendee, it’s a good idea to have a plan of attack. Figure out which companies’ displays you’d like to see, make a beeline to them, and be sure to engage the representatives. By doing this first thing, you’re sure to have more energy than you would at the end of the day. Plus, your brain will be fresher than it will be later so hopefully you’ll remember your conversation!
  • Lastly, dress appropriately! I know I always harp on this, but it is so important! You are representing your company, so put a well-shod foot forward!

Take a look at this YouTube video – it’s a clip of the “NASFT 2009 Fancy Food Show.” Yum! Sounds like an event that I’d love to attend!

Why your Promo Products Must be Good Enough

photo from pacepurge.wordpress.com

photo from pacepurge.wordpress.com

As you’ve read time and time again here on our blog, I work at Gossett Marketing which is a promotional marketing material distributorship. That means that I am surrounded by logoed merchandise whenever I’m at work. There are printed pens in a local bank’s mug on my desk. We have closets full of apparel – much of it embroidered for particular companies. There are shelves and shelves of bags, notepads, hand fans, technology… You name it, we’ve got it and it’s imprinted with a logo!

We have so many promotional materials hanging around that it is hard to keep track of what is new and fun and what has been discontinued, so when we have any downtime at the office we sort through and purge old samples. Those very often end up coming home with my coworkers and me, so at this point I’m also up to my eyeballs with promo items after work!

With all of that said, hopefully you can understand why I do not take other company’s promotional products when they are proffered. I have enough of them. I understand why they want to give me their t-shirt, I really do. But I just don’t have sufficient room for one more thing!

Well, my husband went to Comcast the other day because we needed a new cable box. He came back with our new electronics all in a huge, red bag emblemized with information about their Xfinity service. I hate to say it because I didn’t sell it to them, but it’s an awesome marketing piece. It’s roomy, it has big exterior pockets, and it has already been with me to Publix.

Basically the point of this post is that if you give away promotional materials that are good enough – useful, good looking, novel, whatever “good enough” may mean – then people will use them. That brings exposure to your logo and helps you to build your brand.

Sales Success Utilizing the 4 P’s of Marketing

Sales Promotions

Check out Danette’s other site, SalesPromotions.org! Today I’m linking you to an article she wrote entitled “Sales Success Utilizing the 4 P’s of Marketing.” Click here to brush up on your sales strategy!

Online and Offline Networking at its Best

photo from www.jekyllisland.com

photo from www.jekyllisland.com

As a member of both the Greater Miami and the Coral Gables Chambers of Commerce, the whole Gossett Marketing team receives a heck of a lot of emails regarding their events. We also seem to get frequent communication from various other networking organizations around town, such as the Miami Beach Chamber, Chamber South, etc. I generally read all of these emails to see whether there is something that I might be interested in attending. One thing I’ve noticed is that all of the local Miami chambers are asking members and guests to help them promote their events by using Twitter hashtags in the lead-up and posting pictures online during and after.

Having attendees promote an event before, during, and after is a great idea in that it generates publicity for the happening. But even more so than that, I think it is a wonderful tool for the people who use it. If you know anything about hashtags, then you are aware of the fact that they make Twitter searchable. So if you know that you are going to go to a networking function that has a publicized hashtag, use it to see who else is going to be in attendance. That way you can begin to connect with them prior to the event, and then meet in person when you are there. Networking can be intimidating if you’re walking into a roomful of strangers but if you “meet” someone beforehand via a social networking site, then you have a built-in friend when you get there!

If you, as an attendee, are participating in hashtagging an event, it also gives you an automatic excuse to talk to people (not that you need one if you’re networking, but it might make it more comfortable to approach strangers). Introduce yourself, tell them that you want to get a picture of them exchanging business cards or some such so that you can share it online, and then post it. Be sure to get the Twitter names of everyone in the picture too so that you can tag them – and then definitely look them up and follow them once you get back to the office. Meanwhile, at the event, continue to chit chat and learn more about them in person.

After you’re done with the networking event, continue to follow its hashtags. Then befriend others who do the same. You can forge initial bonds with them online and plan on attending the next activity together to meet in person. And the cycle continues!

Long story short, if you see that a chamber of commerce is offering a hashtag for an event then be sure to use it so that you can meet people before, during, and after it happens. It’s online and offline networking at its best!

Wacky Promotional Items

If you are not in the promotional products industry, then you may not know that as distributors we subscribe to an online database of items. When we search this program for the promo items that we think will best suit our customers it pulls from over a million different options, so the resulting list is not always exactly what we’d expect. Take a look at the wacky items below – these have all popped up when we were looking for something fairly normal and given our whole office a giggle!

LED Tshirt

 

Believe it or not, this t-shirt has an LED panel built into the chest!  I was looking for a “lightweight” t-shirt and I guess the database thought I wanted to source a “light up” one instead.

 

 

 

Inflatable Caveman

 

A customer was in need of balloons, and when I searched for the regular mylar kind, this large, inflatable caveman appeared.  If he was in your parking lot would definitely get your business noticed – but not necessarily in the right way…

 

 

Gasping Dog

 

 

I don’t really know what to say about this fella. He’s called a “gasping dog” because he seems to be wearing a gas mask. He came up when I was searching for children’s stuffed animals; however, I think he’d give kids nightmares!

 

 

Lobster Visor

We were looking for nautical-themed volunteer gifts when we ran across the gem that is the lobster visor. And because we found it hilarious, we anonymously sent a sample to our customer – who knew exactly which promotional products distributor is wacky enough to do that and promptly sent us a photo of herself wearing it.

 

 

 

What really amuses me about these four strange promotional items is that they are not custom – suppliers have these in stock and available for you!  Although I cannot really imagine myself selling any of them, I’m sure that someone does.  No matter who uses them, I’m glad that they are around because they give me such a chuckle when they randomly appear in my search results!

From the Archives: An Example of Effective Social Media

Miami Bike Polo Logo While I keep up with the news because I think it is important to be informed, my favorite stories are always of the quirky, human interest variety. The Miami Herald never lacks for this type of article – probably because we have so many quirky humans living in South Florida!

I just read a piece on their Herald’s website about Miami Bike Polo, a league that was created just a few months ago which really seems to be taking off. Bike polo is just what it sounds like: polo played on a bike instead of a horse. It was invented in 1891 but this is the first time I’ve ever heard of it. It’s probably the first time a lot of people have heard of it, but the Miami league is doing a great job of promoting itself. They have a blog that teaches visitors about the game and talks about events, a good Twitter following, and a nice Facebook fan page. All of this great social media exposure has gotten them attention from WLRN, the Herald, and Deco Drive, a local television show.

As Miami Bike Polo expands, I think they should throw promotional products into their marketing mix. During TV spots, it would be great logo exposure if the interviewee was wearing a polo shirt that featured their logo. And regular participants need bags to carry their mallets and helmets! Exposing their logo to more pairs of eyes would definitely pique the public’s curiosity: I know I would ask someone who was drinking from a Bike Polo water bottle about the sport.

Keep up the good marketing work, Miami Bike Polo. And when you need promotional products, please do not hesitate to contact Gossett Marketing!

Click on this YouTube video to see Miami Bike Polo in action:

Remember Your Customers so They Remember You

photo from danoah.com

photo from danoah.com

Ever find a blog that you really like, read it religiously for a while and then totally forget about its existence? I hate to say it, but I’ve definitely done that on several occasions. It’s no one’s fault but my own – I read a lot of articles every day and some just slip through the cracks, even if I follow the blog’s author/company/the blog itself on Twitter and/or I’m connected on LinkedIn. Sometimes I miss new posts, and when that starts happening I simply lose track of the site. Fortunately for me, it is easy to not miss a post and therefore not forget about a particularly good blog: simply subscribe to it! That way new posts are automatically routed to your inbox where you can read them at your convenience.

I’m sure that you know all about the magic of subscribing to blogs, but do you do it? You should! Especially if your customers or people who you want to be your customers are its authors. By subscribing and thus reading what they write, you can easily get to know them better and ultimately better anticipate their needs. For instance, Gossett Marketing is a promotional products distributorship, so let’s say that I’ve subscribed to my customer Sally’s blog and she posts about an event that she is planning. A good idea for me would be to write her an email saying something along the lines of, “I read your blog and I think that giving away imprinted favors at your event would be a strategic marketing move. Here are my suggestions…” That type of email is a proactive way to get a sale or to at least remind my customer as to who I am and what I do.

Don’t limit yourself to just subscribing to your customers’ or potential customers’ blogs. Keep in mind their YouTube channels, Tumblrs, Spotify playlists…whatever! If you want to do business or expand your business with someone, be sure to stay in touch with them on as many social media platforms as possible. Keep their sites top of mind to help yourself stay on the top of their minds as well.

Marketing with Mundane Promotional Items

photo from innovation-line.com

photo from innovation-line.com

Very often in this section of the blog I talk about the unique, custom promotional products that we have produced for our customers. Those items are fun to discuss because they are unusual and hopefully will inspire you to get creative, but if I’m perfectly honest with you the vast majority of the promo items that we distribute are far more mundane than that. That’s OK, though, because sometimes it’s the mundane things that get you the most brand exposure.

I think it’s fair to say that most large companies require their employees to wear name badges (or at least the large companies that we work with do). Well, if you have to display a name badge at all times while at the office, then you need something to hold it, which is why so many of our customers order large quantities of imprinted retractable badge reels and/or lanyards. Their employees attach their badges to either of those items in the morning and most likely do not remove them until after work. That’s a good thing for their employers because that brings them marketing exposure all day long.

Although people who are wearing name badges are probably at work for the bulk of the day, they still leave for lunch, pick their kids up from school, and run errands during the workday. Chances are they will not take off their name badge because doing so would risk losing it, so whether they are wearing a badge reel clipped to their belt or a lanyard around their neck, the people who they encounter will see their company’s logo.

If you are an organization that requires your employees to wear a name badge, then you should certainly consider giving them imprinted badge pulls or lanyards. Why waste money on something that doesn’t give your branding a boost when instead you can take mundane items and make them work to your advantage?!

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