Thank Those Who Refer You

If you’ve ever read this section of our blog before, then you probably know that the Gossett Marketing team is very involved with networking. We do so through our local chamber of commerce, running and golf groups, and more recently via Twitter and other online channels. You get it: we’re out there, we network, and we want you to do the same! So what if you are already a networking pro? How can we help you take it further?

Well, if you are networking successfully then certainly you are getting referrals. You’ve met so many business contacts through your efforts and you have made such a great impression on them that they want to help you grow. I sincerely hope that this is the case, and if it is, then kudos to you! Other than assisting the individuals and companies to whom you’ve been referred, what do you do when you’ve received a glowing recommendation from a business contact? One thing that I like to do is to say thank you with a hand written note and a gift – nothing extravagant, just a token of appreciation that makes me stand apart from the pack.

One gift that I’m loving right now is a nice metal pen inscribed with my referrer’s name. Sure, you can give them something that is imprinted with your company’s logo, but personalizing the pen helps to ensure that they do not lose it, plus it shows that you took the time to think about them – you’re not just giving out a promotional product that is taking up space in your gift closet.

If you know your referrer very well, then you can give him or her something more personal. Does he enjoy wine? Then what about a pretty corkscrew or bottle stopper? Or if she’s a golfer, then a ball marker would come in handy. Maybe she talks about her dog all of the time – get Fido a colorful bandana! The world is your oyster, I’d just be sure to have any of these items imprinted with your company’s name to keep you top of mind.

If an individual takes the time to refer you and your services to his or her business contact, then certainly he or she deserves a thank you. If a thank you and a smile go far, then think about how much your referrer will appreciate a thank you and a gift! And every time they use that present, you and your company will come to mind.

referral

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!)

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.

Is it a Promotional Product?

photo from www.startswithyou.com

photo from www.startswithyou.com

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!

Buying Promos? Think Logistics!

photo from www.wanderingearl.com

photo from www.wanderingearl.com

Most of the time when we advise our customers as to the type of promotional products that we think will suit their event, we base our recommendations on the theme. Are you hosting a dinner at the Zoo Miami? Maybe you should give a leopard-print bag as a parting gift. Is your meeting in a conference room of a very corporate-feeling establishment? If so, then I would suggest something business-centered like a padfolio. While choosing promo items that are appropriate is important, there is something else that I think is crucial to consider: that is the products’ portability.

Have you ever been given a take-home gift that you’ve left at an event because it was just too impractical to carry? I know that I have; in fact, I distinctly remember being given a large – heavy – book at some function that I just could not bear to schlep to my car during a hot summer day, so it stayed behind when I went home. That is such a huge miss for the company who furnished that promotional product! They spent money on a logoed item, so the whole point was for me to keep and use it, thus ensuring that I kept their organization top of mind. However, I neither kept it nor do I recall whose gift it was. That, my friends, is poor promotional marketing.

So before spending your marketing bucks on a product that is destined to be abandoned, think about how someone can get it back home with them. For instance, say you are planning a board retreat in a tropical climate. Your first instinct might be to give board members a fluffy, luxurious beach towel with your logo embroidered on it. That is definitely a great gift, but if said board members have to stick it in their already-full suitcases, then it might not make it onto their flights home. In that case, maybe a fabulous pair of imprinted flip flops would be a better choice. Or give them the towel and pair it with a roomy beach bag so that they have the extra space to accommodate the items that they have received.

Promotional marketing does not work if your target audience does not keep the items that you give them, so make sure that your promo products make sense thematically and logistically.

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.

My Current Favorite Promotional Products

microfiber cloths
I’m pretty adamant that, by and large, the promotional products that you give away should be useful items. That way people will utilize them and see your logo and other imprinted information regularly. That keeps your company top of mind and helps you build business. Simple! One of my favorite such promotional products right now is inexpensive, functional, and provides a great imprint area: it’s the humble microfiber cloth.

So a microfiber cloth might not sound like a life changing promotional product, and if I’m being honest it’s not. However, it is incredibly useful. I have them squirreled away in my car, various purses, and at my desk and I use them to clean my sunglasses, my car’s center display, and my phone. I probably use these cloths at least once a day, and they’re all imprinted so I am being delivered marketing messages daily.

One of my many, many microfiber cleaning cloths is actually emblemized with Gossett Marketing’s logo. We give these to our customers (and use them ourselves in a pinch), and the reaction that we have gotten has been tremendous. The recipients begin to use them and almost everyone who has gotten one has gone on to order them for their own company. Thus, we’ve customized them with the image of a beautiful pool on South Beach, a bar in Hollywood, a staid firm’s logo, multiple pineapples, and even a caveman! The businesses who have ordered these diversely-imprinted items are as disparate as their cleaning cloths: hotels, law firms, hospitals, and tech repair companies to name a few.

Microfiber cloths might not be groundbreaking, but they certainly are good promotional marketing products in that anyone and everyone can use them. And at $1.00 or less per piece, they fit even the tightest budget. So get creative and get your company’s logo on these great promo items!

Promotional Product Ideas for the Florida Panthers

Florida Panthers Rats The Florida Panthers have banned the sale of plastic rats at the BankAtlantic Center. For those of you who are unfamiliar with South Florida’s hockey team, that probably sounds really bizarre, but it is a tradition that has been going on since 1995. During that year the Panthers had a record run, and it was all attributed to a rat! Before a game that October, then-Panther Scott Mellanby was approached by a rat in the locker room. He promptly hit it into the wall and killed it – then he went on to score two goals in the win over Calgary. After the game, his teammate said that Mellanby hadn’t scored a hat trick, but instead got a “rat trick,” and a few games later, fans who heard the joke began throwing rat figurines on the ice after victories. While Panthers supporters love the tradition, the NHL thinks less of it – in 1996 they ruled that the home team can be slapped with a penalty if their fans throw objects on the ice!

Just because the NHL doesn’t like South Florida’s rodent affinity doesn’t mean that we have to give it up entirely, although we should restrain ourselves so that the Panthers don’t get penalized. Rather than throwing rats, here are some alternatives to keep the tradition somewhat alive:

  • Custom foam wavers – you know the foam “#1 fingers” that are sold at sporting events? Well, those can be customized. I think it would be fun to see a whole arena filled with waving foam rat hands!
  • Imprinted sunglasses – we are in South Florida, after all. A step and repeat pattern of rats over a Ray Ban Wayfarer-style pair of sunglasses would allow fans to show their support all over town.
  • Plush toys – we’d have to make sure that no one threw these on the ice, but I think they’d be a cute promotional product for the Panthers. It would help them get kids in Florida into hockey – not necessarily the easiest thing to do.
  • Drinkware – I love imprinted, reusable plastic cups because I know that people use them long after the game is over. I’d like to see the team distribute cups with their logo in the middle and rats scurrying around the bottom. Or they could encourage “green” drinking by giving out reusable water bottles with a similar imprint.
  • Bags – logoed bags have the greatest ROI of any promotional marketing item, and a tote with an embroidered rat on the side would definitely be a conversation starter. People would carry them and talk about these bags, so that’s great marketing for the organization!

So there is my unsolicited advice for the Florida Panthers – hopefully they’ll give Gossett Marketing a call and avoid any unwanted penalties during this playoff run!

Check out this clip on YouTube – the rats were back (for a while, at least)!

Don’t Stop Giving Promo Magnets

photo from howaboutorange.blogspot.com

photo from howaboutorange.blogspot.com

Not too long ago I wrote a blog post about clips that will stick to any smooth surface without magnetization or adhesive that leaves a residue. I praised those items specifically because of the prevalence of stainless steel and other decorative refrigerator faces that are not magnetic – I like the clips because they replace old fashioned ‘fridge magnets that we all used to post schedules, pictures, invitations, and the like in the kitchen. But don’t worry, magnet lovers! I am writing today to tell you that magnets are still great promotional products.

Magnets might seem like incredibly boring promo items, but they offer a lot of possibility. Flat magnets can be die-cut into virtually any shape and imprinted with a four color process, full-bleed design that allows you to customize them for very little money. Magnets can take the form of clips, to-do lists, frames, dry erase boards, mirrors, schedules…you get the picture. There are really endless possibilities. But what about the non-magnetic refrigerator problem, you ask? Well, that appliance is not the only place where you can hang them. I know that our office is full of metal filing cabinets – and that whenever any of us receives a magnet from a supplier or a restaurant, we throw them up there! Most of the offices I visit, it seems, do the same thing. I have to say, giving an inexpensive magnet to someone who is going to hang it somewhere visible in his or her office, where it will be viewed by coworkers and visitors, makes a lot of sense from a marketing standpoint – it provides a ton of logo exposure for very little money.

Sure refrigerator styles have changed and many are no longer the magnetic bulletin boards that they used to be, but don’t discount the humble magnet as a promotional product. Rather, give them to people who will hang them in their offices and give adhesive clips to those who you think would rather have a promotional item in their kitchen!

Auto Emergency Promos

roadside safety kit
As I pulled into the parking lot of my condo complex recently, one of my neighbors flagged me down. His battery had died and he was wondering if I had jumper cables. I knew that my old car didn’t have them, and that neither did my husband’s – my battery had died right before I sold my trusty old sedan and we searched through both vehicles back then. But, as I mentioned in an previous post, I recently bought a new car, so I checked the trunk. Lo and behold, there was an entire emergency kit (imprinted with the Cadillac logo, of course) stashed neatly in there!

I love the fact that my new car came with an auto emergency kit – complete with the aforementioned jumper cables, tire gauge, flashlight, reflector, etc. But clearly these aren’t a standard feature in every automobile. That’s why I think it is an excellent gift to give a respected employee or a good customer. I know that we have several suppliers who sell the same type of roadside preparedness kit that I have in my trunk, and several times as I flipped through their catalogs I thought to myself, “I really need to get one of these,” but I forgot to do so each and every time I made that mental note. Emergency necessities are something that I – and most people – forget about until we really need them, which is why you should consider being proactive with your employees’/customers’ safety and car needs.

As a promotional product the auto emergency kit is pretty unique too. To be honest, your customer or employee will receive it, toss it into his trunk, and most likely forget about it. That is, until he really needs it. When that day comes (and it will come), he’ll remember that it’s back there and see your logo in his time of need! This will absolutely make him associate your company with something positive – safety/help – in addition to making another general marketing impression upon him. If you ask me, that positive association alone is well worth the price of a promotional product.

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