Do you Cancel Plans?

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Over the years I’ve written a lot of posts on this blog. I can’t seem to locate the one I have in mind, but I’m pretty sure that one of these was a rant about people canceling plans. I have so very many friends with whom I can make plans weeks in advance only to receive a text the morning of to say that our outing is a no-go. And it must be contagious because I very frequently schedule meetings with business contacts and get a last-minute email postponing our sit-down. It drives me nuts! And it makes me want to just disregard friends and associates who cancel too often. Is that an overreaction? Yes! And I learned recently that I should give cancelers a pass.

The gang over here at Gossett Marketing has been sick lately. It’s probably my fault. A few weeks back I thought to myself, “wow, I haven’t been sick in ages!” If kind of thinking is not a surefire way to jinx yourself, then I don’t know what is because just days later I was battling a major head cold. I got better, but not before passing my illness to my coworkers. We used a lot of sick days and even more tissues during those congested, sniffling weeks!

Back to my point: on the day that I came down with my cold I was supposed to have lunch with a former coworker who now uses us for her promotional marketing products. I was sick and I didn’t want to give her a cold, so we rescheduled. On the day of our next lunch date, I was feeling much better but one of my coworkers had called in sick – naturally, that meant that we were slammed with orders so I could not leave work and I had to cancel again! Now, if I had been pushed back twice in a row I would have gotten irritated, but my sweet friend/former coworker/customer is much more patient than I am and she graciously agreed to a new date. We finally had our lunch together today and not only was it wonderful to catch up, but I’m helping her with a new project!

I guess the long and short of it is, try not to cancel if you’ve made plans with someone. And if you are the person who is canceled on, have a good attitude about it and don’t write someone off too quickly!

Awesome Promotional Marketing

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Every once in a while I attend the Pinecrest Gardens Farmer’s Market. It’s a small event that happens every Sunday and whenever I do go I always end up enjoying myself, buying lots of delicious produce, and – my favorite – partaking of an iced coffee from Imperial Roasts. So if I like the Farmers Market so much, then why do I not attend every weekend? Well, to be honest with you, I forget about it.

Among my friends, I’m pretty notorious for not leaving my “bubble.” I live in a great part of town with lots of things to do, so I generally stick around in my neighborhood. While I probably miss out on many of the exciting things that Miami has to offer, I don’t really mind. I like what’s near me – and I definitely appreciate skipping out on South Florida’s nasty traffic. Anyhow, the Pinecrest Gardens Farmer’s Market isn’t in my typical “bubble” so it honestly slips my mind until I drive by and remember to pop on in.

As I pulled into the Market the last time, I remember telling my husband that I need to try to remember to come more often. Then I thought to myself, “the organizer should definitely be giving away promotional products.” Because if I received, say, a grocery tote with the name of the Market printed on one side, then I’d use it during my weekly Publix run and be reminded about the event. Then maybe I’d ditch the Publix produce and run down to the Farmer’s Market instead – giving them more sales and myself better-tasting produce!

Print advertising is great. A sign on the side of the road reminding us that there is a Farmer’s Market on Sundays is excellent. But a promotional item that a potential repeat customer can carry with them and use indefinitely? That’s truly awesome marketing!

A Good Networking Event?

Networking EventWhat makes a good networking event? I am sure it’s different for everyone. For me, it’s a good combination of people – those I know and don’t know. As well as individuals that are there to meet people – not just sell.

I prefer an event where there are a few people that know me and are willing to make introductions. I find it helps put most people more at ease rather than walking up to a stranger and introducing yourself.

I was at a function recently at the Ritz Carlton Coconut Grove and was introduced to a woman starting a new company. We discussed many aspects of her company and as I offered her my card I told her not to hesitate to contact me with questions or if she felt I could introduce her to some prospects. Her response was surprising. “Wow, at most events I go to, no one ever offers to help. It seems they just want to sell me their products.”

A good reminder for any networking event – it’s give and take. Not all take. How many times have you been at an event when someone interrupts a group to push their business card into your hand with not even an attempt to understand what it is you do or need. First impressions count. So don’t be remembered that way or not at all because I throw those business cards away

While we are all out there trying to make an impression and market our small or large business, we also need to be willing to listen and understand the needs of the people we meet.

Is it a Promotional Product?

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I attended the Coconut Grove Arts Festival this year and one thing that struck me was the sheer number of businesses that were raffling off items. You could add your contact information to an insurance company’s email list and be entered for a chance to win basketball tickets, if you listened to a pitch about a new real estate development then you could have won a bike, and – my personal favorite – if you went to the H&H Jewels tent then you had the opportunity to obtain raffle tickets and a prize was given away each hour!

Full disclosure: I am an H&H customer. I think they have beautiful pieces and that their customer service is excellent. But I also have to say that I think they won the Grove Arts Festival’s promotional marketing and their social media. You see, the jeweler announced the winners of its various raffles over Facebook and showed the beautiful pieces of jewelry that each winner received. Which leads me to my question: are these bejeweled giveaways promotional marketing products?

Although a piece of jewelry is nothing like a logoed t-shirt or an embroidered bag – either of which would distinctly promote a brand by showing people its name – I do think that the jewelry items raffled off by H&H Jewels do serve as promo materials. Why? Because each and every time the recipient wears her bauble she will think about how she got it, and because I’d be willing to bet that she will tell someone the story behind the piece! Therefore that one piece of jewelry will provide excellent brand recall for the wearer and a good dose of word of mouth marketing for those around her.

So, although pieces of fine jewelry are not your typical promotional marketing materials, I do think that they fit the bill quite nicely in this situation. Well done, H&H Jewels! Next year I just need to win the raffle!

Men Behaving Badly

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There has been a lot of talk about two men lately: Kanye West and Brian Williams. The former because of his antics at the Grammy Awards, and the latter for his statements misrepresenting his experience covering the war in Iraq. Both men have been widely admonished for their actions, and I am pleased to see the public’s disappointment in each of them.

Let’s look at Kanye first. He disagreed with the Grammy voters and did not think that Beck deserved the Album of the Year award, thinking that it should go to Beyoncé instead. Therefore, when Beck took the stage to retrieve his trophy and make an acceptance speech, Kanye went up too – it looked like he was going to reprise his Taylor Swift stunt, but he ultimately sat down again. After the show in an interview, though, he told the world what he thought about the winner, saying “Beck needs to respect artistry and he should’ve given his award to Beyoncé.” You know what? That’s just rude. The people who weigh in as to who should win this award found Beck’s album to be better than his competition, and he won fair and square. No way should he give it to someone else. It’s one thing for Kanye West to have a dissenting opinion, but keep it to yourself – don’t broadcast it across basic cable networks. Get over yourself, man! Also note that Beyoncé is no damsel in distress, and while you seem to really want her to win everything, she can take care of herself and would probably prefer to not be humiliated by her friends.

Brian Williams, a national news anchor about whom I’ve never heard a bad word spoken, came off, I think, looking even worse than Kanye West this week. Williams’ job is to report the news, meaning that he needs to be a trustworthy, impartial source. Well, when it turns out that he tells his own news story inaccurately, it must make us all question what else he has said that is either embellished or else an outright lie. That is a really bad situation for one of the faces of NBC News. (If you’ve somehow missed the Williams story, click here to read about it)

The fact of the matter is that both of these men screwed up. One forgot to mind his manners (again) and the other was caught in a lie. Now, either of these things can happen to any of us – but most people do not have a huge platform that makes these mistakes all the worse. And whether you think that the media and the general public are being too hard on either West or Williams, take their situations as a warning to mind your P’s and Q’s and to always remember that honesty is the best policy.

Use Valentine’s Day for Networking

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People have mixed feelings about Valentine’s Day. There are romantics out there who adore the opportunity to celebrate their love. Then there are those who decry it as a “Hallmark Holiday” designed to pad the bottom line of card stores, jewelers, florists, and candy makers. Wherever you stand on Valentine’s Day, I’m here to tell you that it has its upside – it is an excellent excuse to do a little bit of networking.

If Valentine’s Day is all about romance, how can you make it about business, you ask? Well, think back to when you were a little kid – didn’t you hand out Valentines to everyone in your class? I sure did, whether I liked them or not (full disclosure, my little Episcopal preschool had an all-or-nothing rule when it came to passing things out in class – I did not distribute candy to my 4-year-old self’s enemies out of the kindness of my heart). I say you do the same thing with your list of contacts. Send everyone a little Valentine’s email. It is an unexpected thing for a professional to do, so recipients are likely to open your message, making it a great reminder that you are around, you can do business with them, that you merit a referral – whatever!

I’m always looking for a reason to reach out to my list of contacts, so you’d better believe that if you’re on it, you will be receiving an e-Valentine this year! I hope that a few pop up in my in-box as well.

Slam Dunk Promotional Marketing

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Having season tickets, my husband Nick winds up going to a ton of University of Miami Men’s Basketball games. He enjoys them because the team is generally pretty good, he bumps into a lot of friends, the arena is close, and who doesn’t enjoy junky sporting event food?! While he attends many a game, Nick rarely takes any of the free promotional products that are occasionally given at games (we do not need any more promotional items or UM-themed stuff); however, the team recently honored former player Shane Larkin and he came home with the bobble head!

The somewhat-creepy likeness of this now-Knicks player wound up in my kitchen and I’m ready for him to move along, but for some reason I feel guilty throwing him away – maybe because his gently-moving head seems to shake in dismay when I go to toss him in the garbage. The thing about me is that I’m not one for dust collectors. Give me a promotional product that I can use (a shirt, a water bottle, a cap) and I’m happy to do your marketing for you by sporting it all over town, but I don’t really care for having more branded stuff just sitting around at home.

Fortunately for the ‘Canes, not everyone is like me. Very many people out there love sports memorabilia or collect bobble heads or just love Barry Larkin’s kid enough to want to have him sit on their desk for the foreseeable future. That means that they will be displaying the image of Shane Larkin in his Hurricanes uniform and hopefully inspire people to go to games!

To be a little broader on the topic, people really like bobble heads. They love to touch them and to, well, make their heads bobble. I suspect that when most receive them at, say, a college basketball game, they will keep it for a little while. They might ultimately give it away or just throw it out, but they probably let it hang around for a while. And if they ultimately become collectors, then your giveaway might stay in their display case forever. That’s a slam dunk! Easy marketing with promotional products!

Food & Flip Flops: Promotional Party Favors

South Beach Wine and Food Festival

February might be the best time of the year to be in Miami. Which is why it is our month of festivals. We have a boat show, a huge arts festival, smaller arts fests, and, of course, the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. I will not have the opportunity to attend this year’s SoBe Fest, but I have been on several occasions in the past. Check out this article from our archives to see some of the fun loot I’ve picked up at the amazing events!

Like last weekend, this weekend will be a busy one in Miami because two major events are happening: the South Miami Arts Festival the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. I am going to attend both, but I am particularly excited about the Wine & Food Fest.

The Wine & Food Festival is a huge annual event produced by Food Network and sponsored by Food & Wine magazine. It is a four day event that features celebrity chefs from around the world who spend the weekend in South Florida, giving lectures, doing demonstrations, and just hanging around at the parties. There are numerous events around town, including a “tasting tent,” lessons on cooking with kids, brunches hosted by Food Network personalities. My favorites, though, are the events that take place on the sand behind the Ritz Carlton. I’m happy to say that I will be attending one of these – the Food Trucks on the Beach closing party!

A couple of years ago I went to the Amstel Light Beer & Burger Bash, which was also on South Beach’s actual sand. I was apprehensive about attending, though, because I was wearing really great shoes and I didn’t want to mess them up, but nor did I want to carry them around all night. Well, wouldn’t you know it, the Festival organizers had thought of that! They had designated “Shoe Butlers” who would check your heels for you, but they didn’t leave you barefoot – they gave all of the attendees logoed flip flops to wear at the event, which we got to keep. I must admit, I wore my flip flops well after the close of the Festival – they were comfortable and I live in Miami, so I’m a flip flop gal. The strap had a subtle imprint, so everywhere I went, I was promoting the Festival, which meant that I was also doing marketing for Food Network and Food & Wine. That kind of party favor is worth every penny: it keeps guests happy and comfortable, plus if gives your brand exposure long after the party ends. A promotional marketing win-win for me and for the South Beach Wine & Food Festival.

I can’t wait to report back about Food Trucks on the Beach! Until then, check out this YouTube video all about the Festival….mouthwatering!

Wonderfully Weird E-Mails

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I’ve been communicating with one of my vendor’s customer service reps this week and she sends emails that are unapologetically wacky. The one she sent on Monday had a glittery GIF that says “I Heart Monday” and the note started “MONDAY MONDAY! Alohaaaaa…” and went on from there. Tuesday’s email was equally as wacky and included the line “Did someone say Two Steppin’ Tuesday!?!?!?!?!” and all of the different lines of text are in rainbow colors. As a professional businessperson I should hate these emails, but I have to say that I surprised even myself – because I don’t!

In this networking/business section of our blog I probably come off as a little uptight and/or cranky. I tell you guys how to dress for events, how to compose yourself at meetings, where to find new business contacts, etc. and I really do focus on being polished and professional. The emails I’ve received from my rep are anything but that, so you would think I’d be horrified. However, they have made me smile from ear to ear since I received them. I’ve also shown my coworkers each and every one of the kooky notes, and they’ve liked them too; therefore, whether or not it was intentional, my vendor is getting a good amount of exposure among promotional marketing products salespeople.

While I am not planning on sending any rainbow-colored emails anytime soon, I’m definitely not mad that I have received some. They were a fun change of pace from most of the mundane pricing letters I find in my inbox from other vendors. I’m definitely not saying that you should start sending emoji-filled emails to your clients, these were just a wacked-out little anomaly that I wanted to share with my readers.

“Super” Smart Promotional Marketing

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Although I’m not the world’s biggest Katy Perry fan, I have to say that I enjoyed her Super Bowl halftime show. Her entrance atop a gold cat (lion?) was fantastic and reminded me of seeing The Lion King in the theater. The songs that she sang with dancing sharks and palm trees were whimsical and fun. I always enjoy Lenny Kravitz, so I thought that his rendition of “I Kissed A Girl” was solid. It was hysterical to me to try to explain to my parents who Missy Elliot is. And I thought that the finale, where she flew around the stadium singing “Fireworks” was spectacular! Overall, I liked the halftime show a lot more than I enjoyed the game!

While I liked watching it, what I thought was the smartest aspect of Ms. Perry’s performance was her ability to capitalize on it. Super Bowl entertainers do not get paid – in fact, I have heard rumors that they pay to be there. Katy Perry, though, found a way to make at least a little bit of money off of her appearance at the big game. According to Miami’s NBC 6, “and Universal Music Group teamed up with tech firm Delivery Agent to make the items, including clothing and accessories, available for purchase via Twitter, YouTube, Shazam, Roku and on Samsung smart TVs.”

I was unaware that there was a social selling side to the Super Bowl halftime show, but I’ll bet that Katy Perry’s fans knew about it – and that they bought her limited-edition promotional products. If they went as far as to buy them, then you know that her fans are going to wear those “Katy Cat” backpacks and her branded football jerseys. Therefore, not only are her devotees padding her wallet by making in-game purchases, but they are also doing her marketing for her later on down the line.

In sum, Katy Perry is a smart cookie to both have an enjoyable Super Bowl appearance and to have the foresight to sell products during the game that will do double duty for her!


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