Wacky Promotional Products

Sports Drink Dispensers

If you’ve ever read the “Promotional Marketing Tips” section of our blog, then you probably know that I’m a big advocate of promotional products that are useful, but also those that are distinctive. For the most part, I think that giveaways should be handy because the more times a logoed promo item is utilized, the more times your logo will be exposed to new audiences. However, not every practical product is going to be used because, well, sometimes practical can be dull. Take a white t-shirt as an example: it is certainly functional, but it’s pretty boring – this might not entice its recipient to wear it, so your marketing dollars are wasted.

As you can see, the majority of the time I (like everyone at Gossett Marketing) advocate taking a unique-but-useful approach to promotional products. But every now and again I like to throw you a curveball – a totally wacky promo item that enhances your marketing because it’s a weird conversation piece, not because it’s practical at all. And boy do I have one of those for you today!

While perusing the most recent Advantages magazine, Danette stumbled across a sports themed drink tube. It’s a drink dispenser with a 100 oz. capacity that is designed to showcase a particular sport. You’ll notice that the image above has a football helmet for a base, but there are also hockey, baseball, and basketball options. Now, I’m sure that these dispensers aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I think that they are excellent giveaways for teams. I can imagine the Miami Dolphins or Miami Marlins putting their logos on the base of the football or baseball versions, respectively, and giving them to season ticket buyers to either utilize at their tailgate parties or to simply have at home – perhaps in their “man caves” or memorabilia rooms. Whether they are taken to events or they sit on a shelf, they’re going to attract attention, which will definitely get the teams’ logos noticed by sports fans – and maybe that will motivate them to, in turn, buy their own tickets!

I truly believe that the majority of your company’s promotional marketing budget should be spent on practical but distinctive items; however, it doesn’t hurt to go a little crazy every now and again. Maybe sports-themed drink dispensers aren’t for you, but I know that, no matter what your industry, there is something fun and unique out there that can serve as a conversation piece and enhance your marketing!

Don’t Waste Your Tradeshow Dollars

Flying Teacup
Are your promotional products boring? Do you just slap your logo on sticky notes and hand them out at tradeshows? So many companies do just that – their giveaways are an afterthought and, well, that’s why they end up in the trash can!

As I’ve mentioned before, at Gossett Marketing we strive to provide our customers with unique and different promos, and that often means that we create completely custom pieces for them. When I meet with new people and I tell them that, they generally balk and say something like “we don’t have the budget for custom items,” but custom does not equal expensive! For instance, we had a “U”-shaped stress reliever made for the University of Miami Health System. It’s a great piece that I’ve seen sitting on countless desks, and it did not break the bank. We can have “Silly Bandz” made in the shape and color of your logo for pennies. And completely unique lapel pins and buttons can be produced for less than one dollar.

If your company does have a bit larger budget, then the possibilities are truly limitless. We designed and produced a “flying teacup” for Virgin Atlantic Airways. Then there was a “flamingo in a can” for the opening of the Loews Miami Beach Hotel. And some of my favorite promotional products have been the distinctive acrylic and pewter Miami-themed frames that we created for the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Promotional products shouldn’t be throwaways – they should be different and interesting so that they do not end up in the garbage. For the same price as a notebook you can give away something completely unique. To me, that’s a much better bang for your buck.

What is the most creative promotional product you’ve ever given or received? Leave your comments below.

How Promo Items Lead to Networking

photo from calendar2015.loveitsomuch.com

photo from calendar2015.loveitsomuch.com

You know how I always tell you that promotional products are smart giveaways because they help your customer remember your name? Well I’m not lying! For the last few holiday seasons Gossett Marketing has sent a single-page annual calendar to our customers in lieu of cards. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve walked into a customer’s office and seen it tacked to their bulletin board, meaning that they see our company’s name each and every time they glance at it. Well, last week – months after the calendars were delivered – I received an email from a customer that read, “Just want to let you all know that the 2015 calendar card you sent for the holidays is a great help and useful. I look at it every day to help me schedule things throughout the year without having to flip through a monthly calendar.”

That email let me know that our own giveaways are working!

You might wonder why I am using the networking portion of our blog to sing the praises of promotional marketing products when the latter subject has its own category. You see, the prom item that we sent to our customer months ago inspired her to reach out to me. She was then at the top of my mind and when I had a vendor meeting later on, I saw a new item that I knew she would enjoy. I got her a sample and, lo and behold, she ordered it! Essentially, my promotional product spurred networking and got me a sale!

Why Old School Marketing Works

Running Shirt
When people ask me what my company, Gossett Marketing, does and I tell them that we are promotional products distributors who specialize in custom creative giveaways, I often get weird looks. Their faces seem to be saying, “Promotional products have been around forever, how creative can they be? And why should I use them?” Well sure, promotional marketing items are old school, but companies continue to use them because they work – here are three reasons why.

1. People are thieves. Whether they do so intentionally or not, individuals regularly walk away with other people’s writing instruments. Take restaurants as an example – how many times have you signed your bill and pocketed the pen? Well, that can work to the restaurant’s advantage if their name and contact information is imprinted on that ballpoint. The pen thief will continue to use that writing instrument, and continue to see the name of the restaurant, until he or she loses it. Then the next person to pick it up will, in turn, see the name or logo and perhaps be inspired to try a meal there. This isn’t just a “for example” story – one of our customers, the Blue Ridge Grill in Atlanta, has told us about getting a phone call from New Jersey because someone found their pen! People are thieves and it can help gain your brand unexpected exposure.
2. Promos make your customers walking billboards. If you’ve ever read our blog, then chances are you know that I’m a runner. Whenever I enter a race I receive a technical shirt that wicks moisture and has flat seams to prevent chaffing – they are ideal running shirts, so I wear them frequently. These shirts also happen to be emblemized with the name of the race and its sponsors’ logos, meaning that everyone who sees me jog by is also seeing all of those different imprints. In fact, whenever anyone receives promotional t-shirt, bag, or cap and subsequently uses that item, they are marketing your company to perfect strangers – they are voluntarily serving as your walking billboards.
3. Promotional products are rewarding. If a member of your team has had an exceptional sales quarter, why not give her a brand name promotional product as a reward? For instance, Orrefors makes gorgeous crystal stemware that can now be etched with a subtle logo. A pair of such wine glasses would be a lovely gift to give your top salesperson, perhaps with a fine bottle of wine. When that employee toasts with her crystal flutes, she will always remember her accomplishment, plus she will think of your company long after she’s moved on. That’s a fabulous reward that will provide the company with discreet marketing that lasts.

I recognize that with the advent of online marketing, the idea of utilizing promotional products can seem antiquated. However, as you can see from the three examples above, items that potentially allow your customers, employees, and total strangers see your logo 24 hours a day work – so embrace “old school” marketing and start giving away promotional products.

And just because I find it funny, here is a YouTube clip from the movie Old School!

Promos: Practicing What We Preach

Self Promos
As Account Director here at Gossett Marketing, it is my job to tell people (my blog readers included) about why they should purchase and give away promotional products imprinted with their own logos. If you read this blog or attend meetings or networking events with me, you might say that I beat you over the head with info on promos, but I really do believe that they work. Well, I thought that today I would take the opportunity to let you know that I/we here at Gossett practice what we preach. Our offices are loaded with our own promotional items and we give them out wherever we go, but if you haven’t had the opportunity to receive any of our promo gifts I thought I’d fill you in on what we like to give out. Here is our most recent lineup of promotional products:

  • Hand Sanitizers – We have two hand sanitizer sprays in our present arsenal. I recommend giving away the FDA-approved variety that has 62% alcohol, that way anyone, even healthcare professionals, can use it. It’s a great promo gift because people carry it around and see our logo whenever they use it.
  • Sunglasses – Ours are goofy because they have imprints on the lenses, but any logoed sunglasses are great items to give away. People can always use a spare pair in their car, and whether they have a logo on the lens or something more subtle on the arm, the recipient will appreciate you when they need them.
  • Pens – Writing instruments are always excellent promos. Even in this digital age, I think you’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t pick up a pen or pencil every single day (or hundreds of times per day if they are like me). People also pass them along, so who knows how many pairs of eyes could see your logo before it runs out of ink?
  •  Microfiber Cleaning Cloths – Cleaning cloths are great for glasses, but they also work for all of the handheld electronics that we carry around. I most frequently use mine on the touchscreen display in my car, which gets filthy very quickly. No matter how they are used, though, it’s great that they can be printed all across one side in high quality digital images – you’d be hard pressed to find a detail too small to print cleanly on microfiber.
  •  Flashlights – We are located in Miami, and hurricane season is just around the corner, so we give flashlights to help our customers prepare for that eventuality. I particularly like the ones that we have currently because they are magnetized, so you can stick them on something metal and they stay put. Handy!
  •  Lip Balm – Much like hand sanitizer, lip balm makes a great giveaway in that people carry it around and use it. Thus, they see your logo time after time.
  •  Mini Desk Kits – I don’t know about you, but I can never find a paperclip when I need one, which is why I think our mini desk kits are nice things to give customers. They are short rulers filled with clips and sticky notes. I like that our customers can keep them on their desk all of the time and easily spot our contact info.
  •  Notebooks – I could ramble on and on about our promos, but I’ll stop with this one. It’s actually my favorite thing right now. We have refillable orange notebooks that are imprinted in such a way that our logo appears to be glowing. The picture above does not do it justice, but trust me when I tell you that it looks like a neon sign in person. Very cool, and everyone who has received one has inquired about ordering their own.

So yes, we certainly do follow our own advice. Promotional products are an excellent marketing tool and you should use them just like we do!

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Start Surprising & Spoiling Your Customers

As an Account Director at a promotional marketing products distributor, I always practice what I preach. That is, I give out promotional products to my customers and potential business contacts because I know that having an imprinted item that they can touch and feel on their desk will keep Gossett Marketing’s name top of mind, meaning that they will call me when they need more giveaways. Generally, the items I give my customers are small but useful – lately I’ve made the rounds with a ruler filled with paperclips, a gel highlighter, cinch bags, and notebooks – and I think that my customers look forward to these little leave-behinds.

While I love to give little promotional items to the majority of my customers, sometimes it’s nice to up the ante with those who order the most or who give the best referrals. That’s why the crew here at Gossett Marketing recently ordered leather-wrapped travel tumblers with our logo debossed upon them that are wrapped beautifully and come with a bag of M&M’s. The plan is to stop by their offices when we know that our most exceptional customers will be there and surprise them with an unexpected, nicer-than-usual gift. I can’t think of anyone who dislikes getting a present out of the blue and by hand-delivering these treats, we will have another reason to interact face-to-face with these special customers.

Some of you are probably thinking, “but my customers are all over the country!” So mail them their gifts with a hand-written note. If they have any sort of common courtesy, they will either pick up the phone to thank you or at least send you an e-mail. Either of these responses by your clients will open a dialogue between you and hopefully spark some business.

Give promotional products whenever the opportunity arises because it will greatly enhance your marketing. Then when you build a special relationship with a customer, surprise him or her with a promo item that is a step or two nicer than your usual giveaway. It will make him or her feel recognized, it will give you another excuse to communicate, and hopefully it will lead to even more business in the long run. So start surprising and spoiling your customers with promotional marketing products!

And because I like surprising and spoiling you, my readers, allow me to share the following YouTube video – a cute kitten acting surprised!

Particularly Popular Promotional Products

young men's t-shirt
According to the most recent Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) study, imprinted t-shirts are the second most popular promotional marketing products, following writing instruments and ahead of bags. I often recommend giving away t-shirts for marketing purposes because they really do get worn – the next time you run into the grocery store on a weekend morning, you’ll notice that half of the shoppers are in promotional shirts! Plus, when someone sports a logo across his chest or back, the people around him will see it – allowing it to make multiple impressions while being worn. And lots of eyes on your logo is always a good thing!

Clearly I like promotional t-shirts, and I’m not the only one! According the ASI study almost half of US consumers own one, regardless as to their income levels. The study also points out that 46% of men own promo shirts, as opposed to 41% of women and that young consumers, between the ages of 21-34, are the portion of the population most likely to own one. Based on this information, I’d suggest that companies who cater to younger men should strongly consider giving them t-shirts because they are group who will probably wear them most.

Not surprisingly many of our corporate apparel suppliers have begun to sell t-shirts that are geared to the 21-34 year old age bracket. They have a more modern (read: fitted) cut and are offered in more fashionable colors and styles than your traditional Hanes or Gildan crewneck. Similarly, many of the decorators who actually imprint the logos on t-shirts have come up with really unique methods for doing so – they can give a distressed look, a 3-D effect, or even laser etch upon them, making promotional shirts look very “retail” instead of looking like cheap giveaways.

I recommend that anyone give away promotional shirts, but video game companies, record labels, teams, and anyone else who caters to the 21-34 male demographic should really take note of the ASI study and start giving them out with gusto. If they’re not doing so, then they’re missing out on a huge marketing opportunity!

To see a ton of imprinted t-shirts in a short amount of time, check out this YouTube video of a man setting the Guinness World Record for the most t-shirts worn at once!

Why & How to be Memorable at Events

stand out from the crowd I was recently at a Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce luncheon where, during the networking portion of the event, I had great conversations with very interesting people. I learned a lot about their businesses, they learned a lot about my roll at Gossett Marketing, and I walked away from our encounters with the understanding that we would follow up with one another and try to work together in the future. Then came the actually luncheon portion of the program – I had talked to so many people during our designated networking time that I had to grab one of the only seats that was left. As it turns out, my table mates were all accountants or lawyers and when we went around to introduce themselves, that’s all they said. No one said “I’m an accountant specializing in X and I’m looking to expand my business by connecting with Y.” No one explained that she was an attorney who sought to grow her corporate litigation practice in Latin America. It was just, “my name is Mary and I’m an accountant” or “I’m Joe and I’m a lawyer.” You know what? Although I sat with these people for much longer than I spent with the individuals I met during the networking half-hour, when I left the event I barely remembered them!

The point of that little tale is to point out how important it is to differentiate yourself at networking events. There are lots of accountants and attorneys out there – there are lots of promotional marketing product distributors running around too – so if you want to get noticed you need to make yourself and your business stand out from the pack. For example, when I introduce myself to someone at an event, my elevator speech includes the fact that I am an Account Executive at Gossett Marketing, a certified woman-owned business that has been around for 20 years and that while we do provide our customers with “standard” promos, our specialty is completely custom giveaways. If the person that I’m speaking to wants more, then I elaborate by telling them that we are the exclusive promotional products supplier for Baptist Health South Florida and explain the online store and incentive programs we’ve created for the company. Sure, it’s a lot to fit into about 30 seconds, but I think (I hope) it makes me memorable. If nothing else, it provides sufficient information to start a conversation.

I can see how some people might not be comfortable telling total strangers all about their job, but that’s what you’re at a networking event for, right? If you tell me that you’re a lawyer and that’s all the information you’re willing to volunteer, then we’re going to part ways and probably never speak to one another again. But if you tell me that you love being an immigration attorney because you form such a deep bond with your clients, then I’ll remember you! It doesn’t take much to make yourself memorable – elaborate on what you do, tell me what kind of business you’re trying to gain at the event, heck, tell me about your dog! Just do something to make yourself memorable, and I’ll try to do the same so that we can both benefit from meeting one another.

Boring Promotional Products: A Necessary Evil

promotional products
Oftentimes this blog finds me harping on the benefits of custom promotional marketing products, praising their effectiveness, and swearing that they don’t have to cost a bundle. That is all true and it’s why we here at Gossett Marketing specialize in customizing promos for our customers; however, I do recognize that due to time or budgetary constraints, it’s not always possible to make your own unique giveaways. So what do I recommend in those situations? Here are my favorites:

  • Bags – As I’ve said before, imprinted bags are arguably the best promotional product out there. Why? Because people use them, and when they do, many of the other people who cross their paths see your logo. And you really don’t have to spend very much – imprinted grocery totes are a very hot seller for us because they’re budget friendly and they get used until they fall apart, thus providing our customers with months’ worth of marketing. In fact, we recently delivered three significant grocery tote orders to Baptist Health South Florida and I’ve already seen all three styles around town.
  • Pens – I carry a pen in every one of my day-to-day handbags and to be perfectly honest with you, I have no idea where I got the majority of them (which makes the fact that I often find myself chewing them particularly gross). I really never go out and buy writing instruments, I guess I just filch them from waiters and stores. The neat thing is, they usually have a logo that I glance at when I use them, which will then bring certain hotels and restaurants to mind on a regular basis. And because my pens are occasionally taken from me (karma…), the individuals who take them are marketed to as well!
  • First Aid Kits – When someone hands you a pouch that contains bandages and topical ointments? Surely you don’t toss it because those items really do come in handy and never seem to be around when you need them. I’ve received two first aid kit giveaways in recent years, and one lives in my car while the other is in my hurricane preparedness kit. While I don’t see the imprint on these items every single day, I am exposed to the companies’ logos whenever I use the kits. And because I find them convenient, I refill them whenever necessary, meaning that I’ll see those logos for years to come.

Now I know I didn’t blow your mind with these ideas, but they really are useful giveaways that people, well, use! And every time they do so, you’re getting marketing exposure. So don’t make a habit of it, but sometimes giving away boring promotional products is a necessary evil.

When Promotional Marketing Goes Wrong

alarm clock Last week television network BET committed a promotional marketing blunder. The network sent out packages that were meant to publicize a new program, and, well, it didn’t go so well. You see, one of the items in the packages an alarm clock. As alarm clocks are wont to do, those that were included with the shipments emitted beeping sounds that could be heard through the packaging. Unfortunately, those beeps resulted in a bomb scare that resulted in the evacuation of a 27-story office building in Los Angeles. Oops.

Here at Gossett Marketing we try not to trigger bomb scares when we send out promotional products to targeted recipients. Had I been working with BET, I would have suggested some alternative ideas that wouldn’t have been perceived as a security threat. For instance, if they wanted to stick to the alarm clock theme, I would have pushed them to ship it with batteries included – but not installed. The package would have been basically identical to the ones that they did ship; however, no panic would have ensued because the alarms would not have actually sounded. Another idea that keeps with the “alarm” theme is an egg timer imprinted with the show’s logo. Not only is it useful, but it certainly delivers a similar message to an alarm clock. Or if “time” was the idea, then BET would have been well served to send out a nice clock that did not feature an alarm function; thus, no risk of the alarm going off unexpectedly!

The promotional products that companies like BET give away should get noticed for the right reason – not because the products make them look silly. So before purchasing giveaways, really think about any potential repercussions. Don’t let your promotional marketing go wrong!


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