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!

Promo Products Production Times

alarm clock
If you work with a promotional marketing products distributor, then you will learn that he or she can provide you with completely customized items. He or she can also probably deliver some imprinted items to you very quickly – maybe even on the day of your order! However, your distributor most likely cannot get you totally customized items at breakneck speed.

Here’s the thing. If you order a custom promotional item it takes time to create. A supplier will need to create a mold, dye fabric, tweak machinery, have quality control tests run, or take any number of other steps to start producing your customized product. Doing so could take months! And most of this is done in China or other far-flung parts of the world, so delivery adds additional time to the process.

Promotional products that can be delivered super quickly are a bit less involved than their custom counterparts. They arrive at our suppliers’ warehouses completed and when an order comes in, they’re pulled, printed, boxed, and shipped. It’s a fairly straightforward process and you can still get awesome marketing items by going this route.

If the timelines for ordering custom versus stock promotional items seems logical, it is. Clearly starting from scratch and creating something totally unique will be a lengthier process than picking out a t-shirt and silkscreening it with a 1-color logo. However, we quite often get last-minute requests for highly customized items, and I always feel bad telling my customers that we can’t do it. So if you want something really special, be sure to plan ahead and order your promotional materials early!

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:

White Hot Promotional Products

photo from snapbackswebsite.com

photo from snapbackswebsite.com

In 2003, the Miami Heat began giving away promotional t-shirts to every fan at the team’s playoff games. That year the t-shirts were black because the Heat were “Back in Black.” And every time we (I’m a fan so I say “we”) have reached the playoffs since then, we have adopted a certain color for fans to wear. As I said, it started off as black, but then it moved to red, and in the 2005-2006 postseason, the White Hot Heat was born.

Initially the White Hot promotion involved the team giving away t-shirts so that everyone in the arena was wearing the same thing – creating a very united fan base. Well, the Heat has been White Hot for so long now that they don’t necessarily have to give t-shirts for fans to show up wearing white. It’s just a part of the Heat culture! In fact, rather than giving shirts, now the Heat sells them – and they account for over a third of the team’s retail revenue! Talk about putting a promotional marketing product to work!

My White Hot team is back in the playoffs, and even when I’m not at the games I wear white when they play. So does everyone else I know! The team’s t-shirts were not just great marketing pieces, they changed our culture as a fan base, and continue to make a lot of money for the organization. Check out this article from Forbes for a more detailed account as to how they worked!

Your Promos are a Reflection of Your Company

Swarovski Pen
If you’ve read this blog for a while, then you know about our company, Gossett Marketing. We are a promotional products distributorship located in Miami, Florida. We provide our customers with the imprinted marketing items that they need for their events, office use, employee recognition programs, and the like. We also develop company stores featuring carefully-selected items so that the various departments in large, decentralized organizations all order approved merchandise that enhances their brand. Basically, we work very closely with our customers to make sure that the items they buy reflect their organizations’ principles and values.

If you’re not in our business, then you might not really think about the fact that promotional marketing products are a physical representation of the company that is giving them away. But it’s true – you are what you give, even if what you are giving is a $1.00 pen at a career fair. Let’s say you work at a law firm and you are charged with ordering new pens for the office – would you go for the Swarovski crystal encrusted ones with violet ink? I hope not! Rather, you’re going to go with something more subdued and serious: think brushed aluminum with a subtle, engraved logo. But if you worked at a hotel on South Beach, then the aforementioned sparkly purple pen might project the fun vibe that you’re going for!

It should probably go without saying that the promotional products that you give away should echo your company’s core values, but you would be amazed by the requests that we get on a daily basis! When you order your own promo products, just remember who you work for and try to convey your organization’s tone through the items that you buy and distribute.

4 Things to Consider when Purchasing Promos

photo from warpandwoof.org

photo from warpandwoof.org

Very often when people call me to order promotional products they will already have something specific in mind, so I simply find the best-priced version of that item and send them a quote to get the order process started. Because they do not say, “I have X event coming up, and I need to order Y for it,” I frequently do not know exactly what the promo items are going to be used for. This is unfortunate because as a promo products distributor, I am very familiar with the items we sell. So if I know what they are being used for, then I can help people select more appropriate promotional products than they might otherwise purchase. Here are four questions that I consider when suggesting promo items – questions that most people outside of our industry might not think about:

  1. Where will it be used? Today I was looking for dry erase boards at a customer’s behest. When I called one of the vendors whose items I thought might fit the bill he asked, “will this be used in a hospital? If so, I would recommend adding a special coating to protect it from the harsh chemicals that hospitals often use to clean.” This was a great bit of information that I was able to pass along to my customer – yes, a hospital – so that they do not wind up ordering something that will be accidentally ruined by their cleaning crew.
  2. Who will receive these promo items? Did you know that products that are distributed to children are required to have a General Certificate of Conformity? A lot of people do not, and that’s why you hear news reports about, for instance, the toys in a box of cereal being recalled – they might have contained lead or been choking hazards or anything else that was not in compliance these General Certificate’s guidelines. You definitely do not want to have a promotional product recall on your hands, so be sure to let your distributor know if kids will be your target audience.
  3. Do you need something that adheres to safety standards? Much like there are specific safety considerations when items are given to children, there are also requirements that pertain to high visibility clothing. So if you simply asked a promotional products distributor for a neon green vest with your logo printed upon it, it might not be up to par with the American National Standard’s Institute’s standards for that type of apparel – and that could put your employee in danger.
  4. Do you want something creative and different? As I mentioned, we promotional products distributors know a lot about the items we sell, so if you tell us what kind of event you are planning, we might have a unique idea that would not have thought of. Or if you want to get truly creative, we have the resources to have custom promo products made for you.

Promotional products are not just imprinted pens, bags, and t-shirts. So the next time you decide that your company needs to order some, provide your distributor with as much information as you can about the event or recipient. That way you are sure to give something that won’t be ruined by a cleaning crew, that is compliant with safety regulations, and that is something creative and different that your customers and employees will love!

Promo Products and Brand Loyalty

photo from 9gag.com

photo from 9gag.com

You may have read my recent post about picking out my own car for the very first time. I ended up buying a Cadillac that drives like a dream and has the neatest “CUE infotainment system” (their words) that is truly amazing technology. I love, love, love it but the decision process was less than fun, as it found me driving all over the city of Miami to see various auto brands.

Because this was the first time I’ve ever bought my own car, I did not realize how arduous it is. As I said in the previous post on the subject, I had no idea what I wanted, so I shopped around a lot and took a good number of test drives. And I learned that it takes forever. The salesperson at each dealership would meet me, start to tell me about his line, disappear for a while to grab literature, come back, have me agree to a test drive, disappear again to grab the keys, etc. So I had a lot of time to kill, which I generally did by puttering around the dealerships. What I learned is that they are promotional products central.

Did you ever see the episode of Friends where Joey picked up women by wearing Porsche-branded hats and jackets, thus making them believe that he owned an expensive sports car? Well, as I car shopped I learned that every car maker has similar merchandise for sale in their show rooms. It makes sense: people are often passionate about what they drive (or pretend to drive) so they buy logoed shirts, mugs, and even bathing suits to show their brand loyalty. In doing so, they are marketing for their preferred automobile manufacturer – and paying to do so!

Sure, many car dealerships also give away other promotional items with their logos on them – I got a keychain with my dealer’s imprint and their roadside assistance number printed on it – but it fascinated me that so many people are willing to give the auto manufacturers even more money by buying their items. People do it, though, which is a fabulous example of brand loyalty and a great use of promotional marketing materials.

Just in case you don’t know the Friends episode that I mentioned earlier, here’s a YouTube clip:

Tips to Get Your Brand in Front of Your Clients

In this new video blog post, Danette Gossett from Gossett Marketing and InterestingMarketingTidbits.com sits down with Eric from Spector, one of our company’s favorite suppliers of higher-end promotional products. Eric stopped by to tell Danette about a cohesive collection of promo products that are a great way to get your logo in front of your customer’s faces time and again.

The Fabrizio Collection is an elegant grouping of promotional items, featuring a card case, luggage, tag, PDA case, tablet sleeve, portfolio, travel wallet, journal, and two sizes of padfolio. They’re all made of a really attractive vinyl (don’t wrinkle your nose, it’s pretty), available in Brown, Grey, Black, and White. Very elegant with a unique strap closure, the Fabrizio Collection is an opportunity to give a series of related gifts, ultimately creating a unique gift set. The wide variety of items means that these imprinted items will be seen time and again – in offices, airports, and beyond.

One of the interesting features of the Fabrizio Collection (and many of Spector’s items) is that it can be imprinted with variable data. So let’s say that you want to deboss one of the pieces with your company’s logo, you can do that plus you can include the recipient’s name and position. For instance, Eric shows Danette a luggage tag that has an imprinted logo, plus “Anita Turner Montreal Branch.” You could give Joe Smith of the New York Branch the same piece, but with his name/branch on it instead. Pretty unique!

So if you want to get your logo in front of your clients on a regular basis, consider giving out pieces of a cohesive collection on a regular basis. And definitely consider variable data imprinting – people love and use personalized products.

fabrizio collection

How to Give Promos that Stand Out

Virgin Atlantic Mug, University of Miami Stress Reliever, Sunglasses

Virgin Atlantic Mug, University of Miami Stress Reliever, Sunglasses

When you hear the term “promotional marketing products,” you probably envision imprinted pens, paperweights, t-shirts, and the like. It’s that old “trinkets and trash” mentality – people think that promo products can only be X,Y, or Z and that those categories have been beaten to death. Well, I’m here to tell you that those people are wrong (which is fortunate for me – I would be bored to death if I had to talk about pens all day). The options for promotional products are endless, and given enough time, the Gossett Marketing team can have pretty much anything you want or need imprinted with your company’s logo. Here are just a few examples of custom promos to get your creative juices flowing:

UHealth Stress Reliever

U-Shaped Stress Reliever – we did these for the University of Miami Health System in the shape of their logo. Trust me, the “U” is ubiquitous down here, so they are immediately recognizable and they’re a great reminder that UM has a hospital.

 

 

 

Children's Sunglasses

Children’s Sunglasses – these specially-sized Wayfarer-knockoffs were distributed at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival this year. The allover pineapple imprint was a huge hit with recipients and we saw thousands of little kids protecting their eyes with these fun, lime-green shades.

 

Virgin Atlantic Teacup

 

Jumbo Jet Tea Cups – the tea cups that we produced for Virgin Atlantic combined the British passion for tea with the shape of the jets that the UK-based airline operates. These whimsical promos were adored by their recipients, many of whom begged for more!

 

 

Sure, you can get plain old promotional stress relievers, sunglasses, or tea cups, but those are not nearly as memorable as the three custom pieces that I just mentioned. So be sure to stand out in your customers’ minds by getting creative with your promotional marketing.

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