Effective Trade Show Tactics

For many industries the fall is Trade Show season. I’ve exhibited at many trade shows and open houses over the years and some have definitely been more successful than others.

For me, early planning for the show was a big component of the success. I like to know who will be attending and try to tailor our booth presentation and gifts accordingly. Some shows will actually give you a list of the attendees ahead of time so you can send them an invitation to come to your booth. Of course, you need to be prepared with a hook. Bring this card for a free gift for instance.

And “that” free gift can be the key to successful traffic to your booth. You don’t want to be giving out something that is really cheap looking; you want something that will make people stop and talk to you.

Branded Items Key for Sucessful Show

Branded Items Key for Sucessful Show

Of course, if your budget allows, we like to recommend you have levels of gifts to give out. Something for everyone, then a slightly nicer item for a new potential prospect and then an even nicer item for those that actually talk to you and now seem like a qualified prospect. Think, Good, Better, Best! It works.

I’ve attended shows where people were standing in line to talk to an exhibitor so they could get the better or best gift. Of course, you may waste some time, but you may also leave with some great new “hot” prospects.

There are several schools of thought on the actual type of gift. No matter what you want it to represent your brand. I’ve never understood people that would give away an item and not tie into their company or promotion. We do have levels of gifts. Our recent primary gift was a ruler that was also a mini office that included post-its and paper clips inside. On the outside is our logo with the tagline “Where Effective Promotions Rule”. Our “better” item is a journal book with pen. It’s neon orange and our logo looks like it’s glowing. Then our “best” item is a USB. All are always appreciated and I can definitely point to new business received as a result.

Imprinting Class: Embroidery

Embroidery A large majority of my blog posts involve me harping on the importance of putting your logos on promotional products. Now, I know that you know what promotional products are (giveaway t-shirts, stress balls, padfolios, koozies, bags, pens, etc.), but what do you know about the actual imprinting processes? This is part one of an informative series about those processes. Today’s lesson: embroidery.

The MacMillan online dictionary defines embroidery as “the activity of decorating cloth with [colored] stitches.” That’s easy enough. A design – in this case your company’s logo – is sewn onto fabric. But how do we get from your logo on paper to having it sewn on a cap?

First the logo must be converted into stitches, a procedure that we call “digitization.” This involves figuring out exactly where which type of embroidery stitch will be used, how letters and symbols will be connected to one another, and logo sizing. It’s an involved process that ultimately determines how much your embroidery will cost.

Once the logo has been digitized, an accurate stitch count is determined. That is, we know exactly how many times the needle will need to pass through a piece of cloth to achieve an embroidered logo. Higher stitch counts are more expensive than lower ones because they require more time on the embroidery machine and they use more thread.

But price is not decided by stitch count alone, the cost of embroidery is very dependent upon quantity. Setting up the machines for each logo is a lot of manual labor, so if you are only sewing your logo onto 6 polos (Gossett Marketing’s minimum order quantity), then the price will be higher than it would be for 500 shirts. Basically, if the cost of the setup is amortized over fewer shirts then the price is higher.

And that’s what it takes to embroider your logo onto fabric! Leave a note in the comments below if you are interested in embroidered promotional products.

Click on this YouTube video to see an embroidery machine in action:

July 4th Promotional Products

Apron

The 4th of July is coming up. Of course it is a day in which we all celebrate the birth of our nation, but it can also be a day to celebrate your brand! Give your customers and employees one (or more) of the promotional products listed below – they’re perfect on the 4th and all summer long:

Caps: protect your customers’ skin with an embroidered cap.
– Beach Towels: your logo can be huge on these!
– Sunglasses: it’s always great to have an extra pair.
– Coolers: ideal for picnics or days at the beach.
– BBQ Tools: yes, you can put your logo on these too! Great for, well, barbecues!
– Hand Fan: they’re inexpensive and have a large imprint area.
– Sunblock: put your logo on high quality sunblock, something everyone should use.
– Matches and Lighters: your employees have to light their grill and sparklers.
– Koozies: they work for beer or soft drinks.

If you’d like some additional ideas, contact the Gossett Marketing team! Have a safe and happy Independence Day!

And to get you excited about the holiday, watch this amazing fireworks display on YouTube:

Bolster Your Business Card

Business Cards

To me, networking events can be overwhelming. I meet dozens of new contacts in a short period of time, and, not being particularly good at remembering names or details of new people in general, I often find it difficult to recall too much about a person once he or she walks away. That’s why I love individuals with good business cards.

I like a card that gives me more than just a company’s name, person’s name, and his or her contact information. Give me a clue about what you do! For instance, my card tells you that I am an Account Executive at Gossett Marketing and that we deal in “Creative Promotions & Products.” It also indicates the professional organizations with which we are affiliated – Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, Advertising Specialty Institute, Promotional Products Information Center, etc. You get the drift.

Aside from content, I love unique designs that make me take notice of my new contacts’ business cards. I recently received one that had a space for notes on the back – no more writing tiny, later-illegible notes to myself! Some have beautiful graphics that are spot varnished. Those are always memorable to me. Others are in unusual sizes or shapes. That style of card isn’t my favorite because it won’t fit in my business card holder, but it does stand out, and there’s something to be said for differentiating yourself. And I actually once received a nail file that served as someone’s card: it’s still in my handbag!

Your business card might be the only thing that your new contact can remember about you, so it should make an impact. Keep that in mind the next time you re-order!

Do your cards stand out? If so, please tell us why in the comments below.

Great Promotional Marketing Tool

UM Sunglasses
Although we try to make it as easy as possible, I understand that purchasing promotional marketing products can sometimes seem like a daunting task. You’re generally buying thousands of items at once, so you definitely want to get it right! No one wants 2,500 bags in a color that clashes with their logo! The good news is, we are now able to provide “virtual samples” prior to your order. These virtuals show a particular product, in the color that you prefer, with your company’s logo in the location and colors that you’re considering.

Virtual samples are a great tool that we can offer, at no cost, for most of our promotional products. So if you like to look before you leap, ask your friendly Gossett Marketing representative for virtual samples prior to placing your order!

If you look above, you can see a virtual that we provided the University of Miami for some really fabulous sunglasses. The virtual below was for Royal Caribbean International – it’s a notebook with several different imprint methods. Pretty cool, huh?

If you’d like to see some virtual samples for items that you’re interested in, leave a comment below or shoot us an e-mail!

Royal Caribbean Notebook

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!

How to Give Effective Promotional Products

Lip Balm I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: when you give away logoed promotional products, be sure to give away items that your customers will actually use. That way, they will see your company’s logo whenever they utilize the gift you’ve given them, and, better yet, if they have it with them in public, then they will be marketing your company all around town!

If you regularly read Gossett Marketing’s blog, then you know that I always recommend imprinted bags as giveaways. I also tout the virtues of embroidered polo shirts, brand name merchandise, and even water bottles – they are all items that individuals appreciate and put to good use. Some other great promotional marketing products are truly indispensable: consider giving away toiletry items.

It sounds weird to say that you should give away logoed toiletries, but I’m not talking about imprinted nail polish (although that is an option!). The cosmetic products that I like are things like lip balm, packets of sunscreen, and even hand sanitizers. These are unisex items that people actually carry around with them and use in public, so if they have a snazzy imprint on them, then they will catch the eye of those around the user. The latter two items (sunscreen and hand sanitizers) are also frequently shared – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used a spritz of another person’s sanitizer spray. When that happens, your logo is literally in the hands of another potential customer. You can’t ask for better marketing!

Not only are toiletry products useful promotional marketing tools, but they’re also inexpensive! So the next time you need a fun giveaway that will give your logo exposure time and again, consider one of these fabulous items.

Just for kicks, click on this YouTube video, which shows “beauty tips” from Ursula, the sea witch from Disney’s The Little Mermaid:

Promotional Products Work!

promotional products work week
Every spring promotional marketing products professionals celebrate “Promotional Products Work! Week.” Created by the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI), it is a weeklong celebration of what we do (designing, creating, and selling promotional items) and why we do it (because these products bring our customers excellent brand exposure).

In addition to creating a celebration of all things promotional products, PPAI is also making my job easier by providing videos to support their case. Check out the YouTube clip below to see which items people love in the workplace – and how they help their recipients remember your company’s name.

Before watching, did you know that writing instruments, hand sanitizer, USBs and stress relievers were some of the most popular at-work promotional products? Or that 74% of people have at least one promotional item in their office? The fact that of those people, the majority remember the advertiser whose logo is on them. That tells me that people keep logoed giveaways around for a long time and that they actually use them.

So, to get a great return on your marketing investment, give people items that they actually want – useful office items. Promotional products work!

Increasing Cotton Prices

Cotton

Like seemingly everything else these days, the price of cotton is on the rise. Now, this doesn’t affect most promotional products – pens, desktop items, stress relievers, etc. tend not to be made from the stuff. However, at Gossett Marketing we produce a tremendous amount of logoed apparel for our customers, so we take note when there are fluctuations in the price of cotton.

The cost of golf shirts, caps, and some bags are all on the way up, but t-shirt prices seem to be taking the hardest hit. Mainly because they are in constant demand so they are continuously produced. Due to the fact that they don’t spend very much time in storage, when you buy a t-shirt you are paying for cotton that was purchased rather recently. Thus, the price jump for the raw materials is more apparent than with the items that I mentioned previously.

Unfortunately, the cost of cotton does not look like it is going to go down anytime soon. While we do extend case quantity pricing to our customers who order t-shirts (and other apparel), it does not necessarily offset the higher prices, so my recommendation is always to buy your t’s sooner rather than later. Would the elevated cost motivate you to buy t-shirts now instead of waiting? Leave your comments below!

Preparation: The Key to Networking

Shaking Hands I believe in being prepared for networking events. Think of them like a job interview. The first thing you want to do is sell yourself in your elevator speech (click here to read my previous post on that topic). Then it’s important to learn about the person with whom you are connecting: does it seem like he or she will benefit you or vice-versa? It’s like figuring out whether a position in a new company will work for you. Then it’s time for the end of the interview, when my least favorite question arises. Much like I find, “Do you have any questions for us?” to be a stumbling block, when a new contact asks, “What can I do for you?” I sometimes have a hard time answering immediately.

To get over my fear of “What can I do for you?” I’ve come up with a couple of stock answers that work for me. My go-to is to ask for referrals. As you know by now, Gossett Marketing is a creative promotional products distributer. While I believe that every company needs some sort of promotional products, not every person within that company is going to be buying them. Let’s say I’ve just met a doctor from the Jackson Memorial Hospital. When he asks what he can do for me, I’m not going to tell him I’d like a free yearly physical; instead, I’d ask him to please refer me to his department’s marketing director. Or if he seems to know several people at the event, I’d ask him to introduce me to them right then and there.

If the person with whom I am networking does seem to be someone with whom I’d do business, then my “What can I do for you?” answer is always the same: I suggest that we schedule a meeting. We generally do not set a date then and there, but it opens the door for a future appointment. I also make sure to follow up with that person the next day – don’t drop the ball when someone wants to meet with you!

Those are two really easy stock responses to what I find to be a difficult question. Of course, if you are a networking pro who doesn’t get tripped up when put on the spot, go ahead and be daring with your answers! But having these two in my back pocket makes me infinitely more comfortable when meeting new people – like a job interview, in networking preparation is key.

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