Why Online Promo Products Stores?

photo from www.shumsky.com

photo from www.shumsky.com

As any reader of this blog well knows, I work at Gossett Marketing and we are a promotional products distributorship located in Coconut Grove, Florida. That means that we sell the imprinted promo items that keep your logo in front of your customer 24/7. Traditionally promos are sold when we talk to a customer, determine the type of product that they need, make suggestions, secure the order, process it, and have it delivered. Pretty straightforward. Well, we’ve found a way to make ordering even easier – by offering our customers their own online promotional products stores!

Online stores can work a couple of ways. One is to have a traditional internet-based marketplace where imprinted promotional products are sold directly to the public. So if someone is particularly passionate about, say, a hotel chain, they would be able to buy its branded items. The other way to handle a promotional products online store is to create one that is for a company’s internal use: this is the way we have been creating and utilizing them lately.

We do a lot of work for large, decentralized companies. They all have their own marketing departments who determine their logo standards, but very often that information is slow to trickle to each and every affiliated entity. Therefore, although the organization is only supposed to give away promotional products with its logo imprinted in a specific PMS purple color, very often the distant branches might miss the memo and give away orange-logoed pens. That’s not great for creating a consistent brand, which is why a corporate online store is an excellent way to ensure continuity.

When we set up online stores we tend to work with an organization’s marketing department to select appropriate promotional items – very often it’s hundreds per store! – so that when it is mandated that their promo products must be ordered through the online store they know each item lives up to brand standards. Additionally, when we sit down with a marketing department to better understand the types of items they feel comfortable imprinting with their company’s logo we are also able to learn more about their logos. So when a distant branch wants that pen with an orange imprint, we can nip that in the bud pronto!

Whether you are interested in selling your promotional marketing materials directly to the public or if you would just like for those types of items to consistently reflect your brand standards, you should definitely consider taking the plunge and setting up an online store!

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!

What is a Promotional Products Wholesale Supplier?

I spend a lot of time writing about promotional marketing products, but I’ve never really addressed where they come from. Fortunately, Danette has that topic covered in her SalesPromotions.org site. Click here to learn the “birds and bees” of promo items!

Chinese New Year & Promotional Products

Chinese dragon dance

Chinese New Year is quite different from our Western New Year’s celebrations. It is a 15 day long festival and is considered to be the most important holiday of the Chinese Lunar Calendar. Central to the celebration is family – meaning that individuals who have moved away from their ancestral homes travel great distances to return for the festivities. China does not necessarily have the level of infrastructure that we are used to, so travel times can vary widely. Some workers might spend over a week trekking to see their families – and don’t forget that they have to make that journey both ways!

While I’m thrilled that the hardworking Chinese people have an extended opportunity to celebrate the New Year and to visit with their families, Chinese New Year is difficult for the promotional products industry. Like seemingly everything else, the majority of promotional products are produced in China, then our suppliers ship them in and imprint them with companies’ logos domestically. During the Chinese New Year celebration, the overseas factories shut down so that their workers can celebrate – a closure that results in zero new marketing products entering the US from China for about a month! So if a supplier runs out of an item that one of our customers wants to order, then I have either find a different supplier with the same product or our customer is just out of luck. The result is lost orders for our suppliers and extra work for us.

As I’ve mentioned previously, Gossett Marketing produces a large amount of custom promo items for our customers. Again, these are mostly made in China, so during the New Year celebration we are unable to get accurate price quotes from the Chinese factories and the orders that have been placed have to wait for about a month to be completed. Frankly, this makes meeting in-hands dates difficult without proper planning.

Chinese New Year’s Day is on February 19, 2015, so whether you are ordering promotional marketing products or something else around that time, be aware that this celebration can make receiving goods difficult.

Take a look at this YouTube video of lanterns being released – a traditional, and beautiful, part of the festivities:

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.

Unique Promotional Products, Volume 1

photo from snipe.net

photo from snipe.net

By and large when our customers approach us looking for promotional marketing items, they want something pretty simple and straightforward: pens, notepads, water bottles, stress relievers. I think those requests are great because those products are things that their target audience will use, and because they are imprinted with my customer’s name, it helps boost their brand’s exposure. But, to be perfectly honest with you, sometimes it gets a little old putting together presentations with the same old stuff, which is why I love it when my customers hit me with oddball ideas. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Rubik’s Cubes: although I’ve never been able to solve one, I can certainly get you custom-printed Rubik’s Cubes. If you give them to your customer, I guarantee that he will test his wits against it!
  • Dog Collars: we had a customer who was doing a dog walk for charity, so she asked for dog collars. Fortunately, we have suppliers who will print them, making Fido and Rex your brand ambassadors. Too cute.
  • Mugs: mugs don’t sound like very exciting promotional products, but when they are in a custom shape they are. We’ve done them in the shape of an airplane and explored several other options (pineapples and University of Miami’s “U”- shaped handles come to mind).
  • USBs: like mugs, USBs don’t sound particularly groundbreaking, but they’re pretty neat when they are in the shape of, say, a cruise ship. We’ve done custom USBs for various cruise lines down here depicting both their ships and their logos, and they look great! Plus, they are a little more fun than the usual thumb drive.
  • Snow Globes: if you have enough time and need enough pieces, then snow globes are a fun route. They can depict your building, your logo, something about your industry…really, your imagination is the only limit.
  • Costumes: does your company have a mascot? Or do you produce a particular type of item? Then why not make a costume to represent that? We have a fruit distributor who wanted to send its employees to trade shows dressed as bananas, and we were actually able to source those outfits for them.

Now that my coworker and I are brainstorming, we’ve come up with tons and tons of different/fun/strange items that our customers have requested of us. I’ll leave you with these six, and maybe they will get your creative juices flowing! Stay tuned for more volumes of unique and different promotional products.

On a different note, can you solve a Rubik’s Cube? Check out this YouTube video and see people who definitely can:

A Successful Business Promotion Is Key to Growth

photo from salespromotions.org

photo from salespromotions.org

Last week I wrote a piece about how we here at Gossett Marketing practice what we preach in that we give away logoed promotional products, just like we tell our clients to do. Well, great minds must think alike because I was perusing our sister site SalesPromotions.org and I noticed that Danette had also written a post about our promo items. Hers focuses less on the items themselves and more about the reason for giving them away. Namely, to keep our name top of mind with our customers, which makes them great networking tools. There is no sense in reinventing the wheel, so click here and head over to that site to check out her thoughts on our promotional items and how they help us build our business.

Top 10 Personal Promo Items

Promotional Products
People always ask me to name my favorite promotional marketing items, and it’s kind of hard to narrow it down because there are just so, so many different things out there.  So when pressed, rather than give a general list I like to share my favorite items for certain types of people – think techies, sports enthusiasts, etc.  So here are my favorite promotional products are ideal for your on-the-go customers. They will get a lot of great use out of them, and in doing so they’ll also be showing the world your logo!

1. Umbrellas – useful and they have a lot of room for your logo
2. First Aid Kits – who couldn’t use a few extra bandaids?
3. Water Bottles – these can be small, large, stainless steel, or BPA free plastic
4. Nail files – personally, I have one in every handbag
5. Bags – as simple as cinch bags or as nice as brand name luggage
6. Travel Pillow/Blanket – a thoughtful gift for weary travelers
7. Stadium Cushions – perfect for Florida Marlins games
8. Notebooks/Agendas – busy people need to stay organized
9. Pedometers – help your customers stay fit and let them flaunt your logo
10. Hand Sanitizer – gel, lotion, spray, foam, or wipes

What is your favorite on-the-go item? Please let me know in the comments below.

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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Marketing (or anything) Tip: Plan Ahead

plan ahead The team here at Gossett Marketing often jokingly refers to our organization as Gossett Rush Marketing because each week we get a slew of last-minute panicked phone calls from customers who have forgotten to order promotional products for upcoming events. Fortunately, we have great suppliers who are often able to help us with quick turnarounds – our silkscreener once delivered imprinted shirts for us on the same day that we ordered them – but it’s not always possible. We love our customers, even the self-professed “Queen of Rush Orders,” so we are always disappointed when we cannot meet their needs, but there comes a point when I want to shake them and say “you have known about this event for months – give us a heads up!”

Most of the promotional marketing items that we produce are used at events: health fairs, galas, golf tournaments, etc. Some are also used as part of marketing campaigns – for instance, many of the cruise lines send travel agents promo items to boost awareness of their brand. These aren’t the kind of things that just pop up out of nowhere, most require months of planning. I recognize that when someone is planning an event or a marketing campaign, promotional products might not be the first thing on their mind, but they certainly shouldn’t be the last thing either. Rush orders generally cost more, provide limited options, and if there is any mistake in the order, then there is no time to rectify the situation.

The moral of the story is to plan ahead when ordering promotional products – or really when you’re doing anything for your business. Sure, there are unexpected circumstances that will pop up and surprise you now and again, but the vast majority of events/marketing campaigns/general projects are well thought-out and planned, so make sure that their promotional products (and everything else associated with them) are as well.

For more information about planning ahead, check out this YouTube video from John Maxwell, a renowned speaker, author, and leadership expert. Good stuff!


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