Springin’ to Summer!

I know it is only February, but the weather here in sunny Miami has me in a summer state of mind!

And with many enjoying this time of the year with family and friends on vacation, I think it is the perfect time to highlight a few fun-in-the sun promo items that will be of a great use no matter where you are vacationing this year!  

A vacation essential is a good tote bag. Whether is for the beach or to hold your belongings while sightseeing, it is important to bring a tote bag that is practical and will also have just enough space. I love this great tote bag from Leeds.com, the Sun & Sand Cotton Beach Tote. With is fun, bright colors and mesh bottom hidden by a bottom flap, it allows you to store all of your vacation necessities without getting sand stuck everywhere. We also love the foldaway shopper totes, such as the one below. They foldaway into a corner drawstring pouch, taking up less space in your luggage, yet the nylon fabric makes it great for carrying wet clothes/towels home from the beach.   

Vacationing means always being on the go, and we love items that come as “kits” and include multiple items to keep you always ready. Tekweld.com carries great sunscreen and outdoor kits as well as first aid kits that will always keep you prepared. They feature various kits that can be customized to your clients’ needs and will surely be useful on their next outing. Kits include sunscreen, bug repellent, body lotion, and stain removers.

Waterproof phone cases have been very popular that past couple of years with the evolution of technology and social media. We simply want to share all of our experiences with friends and family, so why let a little water stop you! We love the water proof pouches and breakaway neck cords making it easy to keep your mobile device on you at all times. Be sure to include a pair of sunglasses inside the pouch as a great bonus that will surely be appreciated.

I have a great appreciation for receiving promotional items that are not only trendy but that are also useful and I will want to bring it everywhere, any chance that I get. Those items for me this year are the beach towel and selfie stick. I can always use an extra beach towel living in Miami, but it is a great way to catch the eye of not only who is receiving it but who will be seeing it. Towels have become a great way to promote and please as I like to call it, serving its purpose on many levels. When you wrap yourself up in a great, bright, eye catching towel, you feel a sense of instant gratification and appreciation. Selfie sticks provide that same instant gratification, literally! There is no better vacation accessory at the moment than the selfie stick! Hand’s free connectivity with our smart devices will always win over the recipient, and provide a great “walking billboard” of some sorts to any brand!

 

Branching Out: Innovative Promo Items!

2016 is promising to bring more innovation in promo items thus far!

We are starting to see more origination and creativity, apart from the traditional embroidered cap or duffel bag. Don’t get me wrong, a pen still proves to be one of the most highly effective promo items, as we like to call them “traveling billboards”. They go everywhere with you. However, promotional items have evolved into being more useful. Our client’s want their clients to receive a promotional item that they will use every day effectively.

2,600 "Kissable" Power Bank from Orig Audio, a must-have!

2,600 “Kissable” Power Bank from Orig Audio, a must-have!

Wireless technology has taken over promotional items with the rise in power banks, Bluetooth headphones and wireless speakers. But the items that stand out are the ones that catch the client’s eye and they will want to carry with them everywhere they go, for the simple “wow” factor. One of my favorites is this lipstick tube power bank from origaudio.com, perfect for any woman on the go! A perfect example of a popular promo item, but with a twist of innovation and creativity to it. A great way to stand out from the crowd and leave others wanting to know, “where did you get that?!”

Speaking of women on the go, really any on the go can benefit from the next innovative promo item. The desire for RFID protection incorporated into our traveling promo items has risen dramatically (and we really need it here, down in Miami). From passport holders and travel wallets to luggage tags and journals, RFID technology takes the next step in what would be just an ordinary travel accessory. Protecting your personal information with these great items provides you the peace of mind you need while staying stylish and organized.

So cozy with SoHoodie!

So cozy with SoHoodie!

And while on the go, we need to keep our heads warm right?! One of the most innovative promotional items that I have seen introduced in the past year is from SoHoodie.com. It is a standalone hoodie that can be worn anywhere with anything! I mean, who doesn’t like the cozy feeling of a comfy sweatshirt hoodie? Customize it with your brand or logo and you are certainly going to be turning heads while keeping yours toasty!

These items above all have one thing in common: they took a rather simple, common promotional item and put their own whimsical twist on it. You want the promotional items you choose to not only stand out from the rest, but also to make your audience want to use them every day and for their most important functions.

 

The Simplest Business Tip

Woody Allen Woody Allen once said, “80 percent of success is just showing up.” He has a point, but he should also add a caveat about showing up on time. I’m about to get on my soapbox, so brace yourselves…

Do you have friends who always seem to show up late or cancel plans at the last minute? I did, but to be perfectly honest, we’re not really friends anymore because I never see them! I also have some suppliers that are frequent cancellers. They schedule appointments to show off their new product lines, then either call at the last minute to postpone or cancel, or they don’t show up at all. Guess what? I don’t give them business unless I absolutely have to!

Now, I’m not saying that I’m the perfect friend or businessperson who never has to change an appointment; however, I do try to limit it. Actually, at Gossett Marketing we make a point of planning our days so that we have plenty of time to get from meeting to meeting (although sometimes Miami’s traffic tries its hardest to throw off our scheduling!). It’s not that we’re uptight, we just respect our customers’ time: doing so is important to business and, well, it’s just polite.

I know that this is just about the simplest tip that I can give anyone, but it’s a pet peeve of mine so I thought I’d get it off of my chest. Does anything that your customers/coworkers/fellow business people do really irk you? If so, please tell us in the comments below – maybe we can change their behavior!

Make Your Customers VIPs: They’ll Reward You

Stone Crabs
This weekend is sad day because it marks the end of stone crab season! Stone crabs are a delicious South Florida tradition. I grew up in Miami, so I’ve always eaten my fill, so when I moved to Nashville for college I was shocked that so many of my friends had never heard of this delicacy. I remember lamenting the lack of stone crabs in Tennessee and my roommate (from Ohio) responding to my complaints by asking “what’s that?” I explained about eating the claws, the mustard sauce, etc. and somehow mentioned Joe’s on Miami Beach. Well, she had never heard of stone crabs, but she knew about Joe’s!

Joe’s Stone Crab is a Miami landmark. It opened in 1913 and first started serving stone crabs in 1921. It’s always been a favorite spot for the rich and famous and, aside from the crabs, I think that Joe’s is most known for its exclusivity. You see, it is only open for about 10 months each year and you can’t make a reservation! People are known to try to slip the maître d’ big tips for a table, and everyone knows somebody who knows somebody who can get them in, but in reality, if you go to Joe’s you just need to be prepared to wait. It is a restaurant known for long lines, and that seems to add to the allure and, well, the legend.

Joe’s has been around for almost 100 years and is world famous; unfortunately, most of our companies cannot say the same thing! However, we can all learn from their exclusivity. Now, I’m not saying that you should keep your customers waiting for hours; rather, you want to make them feel like insiders – like they knows somebody who knows somebody who can get them a table at Joe’s. For instance, you can thank them for their business with a “special gift” that is exclusively for them (maybe a high-end golf shirt with your logo discreetly embroidered on the sleeve). Or extend them the price that is reserved for only your best clients. They don’t have to know that all of your customers get the same thing. Make them feel like they’re “in” and they will keep coming back for more.

How do you make your customers feel like insiders?

Brand the Sand: A Fun Summer Item

Flip Flops

Even though it is only May, it already feels like summer here in Miami. The days are long, the sun is bright, and it is hot. So hot, in fact, that I am planning on hitting the beach this weekend- a nice dip in the ocean will refresh this overheated blogger!

A great perk to working at Gossett Marketing is the fun, branded samples that we receive. One of my favorites is a pair of rubber Havaianas-style sandals that we had made for the Orange Bowl a year or so ago. They’re black and have silver “Obie” logos. Subtle but cute! And you can bet that they will be on my feet when I hit the sand on Saturday.

While I love our Orange Bowl flip flops, I wish we had added one thing to them. If I had my way, we would have carved their logo out of the sole of each sandal. That way, when the wearer walked on the beach a logo imprint would have been imprinted in the sand. Imagine giving your customer sandals that literally branded the beach for you! If that person was on Miami Beach, then thousands of viewers could potentially see your company name. It’s a creative promotional product that is ideal for the summer – what an impression custom-soled flip flops could make! (Sorry for the bad pun, I couldn’t help myself!)

Awesome Promotional Marketing

photo from mangoandlime.net

photo from mangoandlime.net

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!

Welcome Back, Eastern!

photo from miamiherald.com

photo from miamiherald.com

Did you know that Eastern Air Lines is making a comeback? The fabled carrier – part of the original “Big Four” airlines – is re-launching with its home base in Miami. It will begin as a charter service, and with 20+ jets on order, it will expand from there. The great news is that Eastern is expected to bring about 2,000 jobs to the state of Florida. Now that’s exciting news!

To learn more about Eastern Air Lines, visit their website by clicking here. And look out for their livery in the skies above sunny South Florida in 2015!

Show Some Personality when Networking

photo from socialmediaimpact.com

photo from socialmediaimpact.com

Going to networking events, to me, does not feel like a normal, natural thing to do. It’s not in my wheelhouse to want to walk into a roomful of strangers and start chatting with the first person I see. Nor am I so gregarious as to be the person who spots the obvious group of “cool kids” and marches up to them to join their clique. But in order to expand my business I force myself to behave as if I was a born extrovert when I’m in a networking situation.

Forcing myself to behave like someone I’m not seems a little disingenuous, though: like I’m pretending to be someone I’m not. So in order to combat that feeling at a networking event, I am also sure to let my personality shine through. But how? Well, if you’ve read this blog then over the years you’ve come to know a bit about me. I love to travel, live for good food, I’m on the goofy side, I attend too many weddings to count, I’m a big Miami sports fan, etc. So much like I do in this format, when I’m at a networking event I think it’s totally OK to talk about those aspects of my life as well as the business side.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t walk up to the first businessman I see at a chamber of commerce luncheon and immediately tell him about my friends getting married in Amelia Island. But once we’ve exchanged elevator speeches and learned a little bit about each other’s businesses, what’s the harm in asking someone if he likes the fact that the Marlins signed Giancarlo Stanton? I actually find that that type of casual, less business-y conversation breaks the ice a lot better than something more professional. It also makes our interaction more memorable, I think, so hopefully when he or I calls or emails to follow up, we will know who the person on the other end of the phone actually is (rather than trying to picture a random person in a suit).

Networking events are unnatural to begin with, but if you let your personality peek through your business persona, they might just feel a little bit more normal. Plus showing your true colors might ultimately increase the amount of business that these meetings bring.

A Good Use of Promotional Products

photo from www.germany.info

photo from www.germany.info

My husband Nick and I spent Thanksgiving in Berlin, Germany – I mean, where else do you celebrate the most American of holidays other than Europe?! Joking aside, we had an absolute blast exploring the city, visiting historic sites, learning about the culture, and we even liked being cold (we live in Miami so it was a great change). But overall, our absolute favorite part of the visit was getting to go to the Christmas Markets that sprung up throughout the city during our stay. They were so festive and all different! What a great experience!

If you’ve read this blog for any time at all, then you know that I can’t help myself – I must relate seemingly every experience in my life to promotional marketing products. My visits to the Christmas Markets in Berlin is no different, it is about to get the promo items treatment! As I mentioned, it was cold in Germany. Very cold. So when we visited the outdoor markets we had to do something to stay warm. For my husband that meant eating a variety of delicious foods. And for me, staying warm meant that I had to drink some gluhwein.

If you are unfamiliar with it, gluhwein is hot mulled wine, often brewed with spices, citrus, and sugar. Honestly, it’s not my very favorite beverage, but when the thermometer read 0 degrees, I did what I had to do to warm myself up. And after the first mug it just keeps getting better…

When you visit the Christmas Markets in Berlin, and presumably the rest of Germany, gluhwein is served in decorative glass or ceramic mugs emblemized with the name of the market and often a Christmas-y scene. When you order your drink you pay a certain number of Euros, and then upon returning your mug you received a deposit back – generally about half of the initial amount you paid. Or if you wanted the mug, then you just kept it. It was such a unique use of promotional products because many of the people who ordered gluhwein photographed themselves with their mugs, and probably shared that image on social media, which is a great promotion for the market in question. And the people who kept their mugs now have that promotional item to remind them of their time in a given Christmas Market. It’s good marketing!

If you ever head to Germany during the holidays, be sure to enjoy some gluhwein – and do with your mug as you see fit!

Promotional Products for Kids

photo from www.ispot.tv

photo from www.ispot.tv

I often blog about the various festivals held around Miami and today is no different. This past weekend was the Chamber SOUTH South Miami Art Festival, an annual event that, while smaller than some of the other art fests in South Florida, is always very nice and well-attended. It was our first weekend of really nice weather, so the festival seemed even busier than usual this year – hopefully that brought the artist and other vendors some good sales!

I live near the site of the South Miami Art Festival so I was in and out of it quite a bit and one thing that kept catching my eye was little kids holding plus replicas of GEICO Insurance’s gecko mascot. I did not immediately spot the insurance company’s stand but when I did I spotted the mounds of stuffed toys – and I spied tons of children dragging their parents over to claim their geckos. The “dragging the parents over” aspect of that last sentence is definitely what GEICO counted on when they ordered their custom promotional marketing products. A parent was not going to turn down a free toy for their child, and when families approached the table insurance representatives pounced on them!

Now I have no idea how many parents signed up for GEICO insurance when they claimed their gecko stuffed animal with their child. However, I do know that all of the little people at the festival – and it was a lot of them – were happily walking around with a promotional product, giving the company a ton of brand exposure in the process.

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