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?

Recognizing Administrative Professionals

9 to 5
Administrative Professionals Day falls on April 22nd this year, so there is still plenty of time to order gifts to celebrate those members of your team. Sure, you might be thinking about taking your employees out to lunch to celebrate, but how long does that type of recognition last? Through the end of lunch, that’s how long!

A physical gift that acknowledges an administrative professional’s hard work and dedication is a lasting reminder that you care about him or her. For example, an attractive paperweight will sit on his or her desk and serve as a daily “pat on the back.” A duffel bag that the employee carries to the gym would be a useful token of appreciation. Or if you are lucky enough to live in South Florida like we do, then an imprinted beach blanket would be a fun way to commemorate a job well done – plus you get the bonus of marketing your brand.

Lunch is great, but don’t your administrative professionals deserve more?

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!

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.

From the Archives: An Example of Effective Social Media

Miami Bike Polo Logo While I keep up with the news because I think it is important to be informed, my favorite stories are always of the quirky, human interest variety. The Miami Herald never lacks for this type of article – probably because we have so many quirky humans living in South Florida!

I just read a piece on their Herald’s website about Miami Bike Polo, a league that was created just a few months ago which really seems to be taking off. Bike polo is just what it sounds like: polo played on a bike instead of a horse. It was invented in 1891 but this is the first time I’ve ever heard of it. It’s probably the first time a lot of people have heard of it, but the Miami league is doing a great job of promoting itself. They have a blog that teaches visitors about the game and talks about events, a good Twitter following, and a nice Facebook fan page. All of this great social media exposure has gotten them attention from WLRN, the Herald, and Deco Drive, a local television show.

As Miami Bike Polo expands, I think they should throw promotional products into their marketing mix. During TV spots, it would be great logo exposure if the interviewee was wearing a polo shirt that featured their logo. And regular participants need bags to carry their mallets and helmets! Exposing their logo to more pairs of eyes would definitely pique the public’s curiosity: I know I would ask someone who was drinking from a Bike Polo water bottle about the sport.

Keep up the good marketing work, Miami Bike Polo. And when you need promotional products, please do not hesitate to contact Gossett Marketing!

Click on this YouTube video to see Miami Bike Polo in action:

Emergency Promotional Products

Hurricane Andrew Ahhh, summer in Miami! While the whole Gossett Marketing team loves living here, summertime is definitely not South Florida’s best season, and we only have the weather to blame. Heat, humidity, daily rainstorms, plus the threat of hurricanes…aren’t we lucky?!

We were actually briefly threatened with a tropical storm recently. It didn’t amount to anything, but it was a good chance to make sure our “hurricane kits” were ready to go. If you do not live in the tropics, you might not be familiar with such a kit – it’s a stash of water, non-perishable food, flashlights, batteries, etc. that are necessary in the event of a major storm. I looked through mine during our brief flirtation with inclement weather, and I was amazed by how many promotional products have made their way in! I have copies of important documents (insurance records and whatnot) in a plastic sleeve from Suntrust. One of my flashlights was a gift with purchase from Ace Hardware. My cat’s supplies were in a bag that included a pet-preparedness checklist from her vet. And I had a first aid kit from the University of Miami.

I hope that I don’t have to utilize my kit this year, but if a big storm comes, I’m very happy to have it. And I’m grateful that I haven’t had to purchase all of my supplies. The hurricane-preparedness items that I’ve received from various companies give their brand exposure every time my family and I look at them, plus they’re quite handy to me!

Even if your company isn’t in hurricane country, surely your customers must need some sort of emergency kit. Maybe they are on the west coast and face earthquakes. Or they’re in the northeast and they need to be prepared for another “snowpocalypse.” No matter where they are, your giveaways can help ready them for an emergency – and your logo will get exposure to boot!

Non-Traditional Networking

Plymouth Congregational Church

Think about the word “networking.” What immediately springs to mind? For me, it’s two of the business networking groups here in South Florida – the Coral Gables and Greater Miami Chambers of Commerce. They both host wonderful events that attract excellent professionals, and I’ve made good connections through both organizations. However, some of my best contacts have come from less traditional outlets.

If you’ve read this blog before, you probably know that I’m a runner. But you might not know that I actually lead a half marathon training group. We run extremely early on Saturday mornings because about 95% of us are business people and that’s the only time we can all get together. We come from all walks of life and professions and spending hours together each week has really allowed us to get to connect with each other. I know who to call when I need a top rated neurosurgeon, an architect, or a legal guru, and they know who to call when they need promotional marketing products (me!).

While I don’t go quite as often as my mother would like, I do frequent Plymouth Congregational Church. After Sunday service, there is always a social hour in the garden. While I don’t always talk shop with my fellow parishioners, I do develop bonds with them. Those bonds can ultimately extend to business – a man I met while sipping my coffee actually ended up re-roofing my parents’ house! And I know that when he needs marketing materials, I am going to be his first phone call.

Those are just two quick examples, but the moral of the story is that you can network anywhere! Get involved in groups that interest you, make new friends, and business will follow.

Uh Oh, it’s a Sharknado!

photo from darkhorizons.com

photo from darkhorizons.com

Well we’re smack dab in the middle of hurricane season here in Miami. It’s just a part of life when you live in South Florida. And while hurricanes aren’t any fun, at least they aren’t Sharknados! No, those mythical storms only happen on the SyFy channel, and they’re so bad that they’re good. The trailer for the next installment of the Sharknado franchise was just released, and we have been cracking up in our office, so I thought my readers might enjoy it. Without further ado, behold!

Seasonal Sales Boost Business

photo from shopcoralgables.com

photo from shopcoralgables.com

Coral Gables Restaurant Week is starting soon. It is an annual, city-wide dining event where participating restaurants offer 3 course prix fixe menus at a reduced rate.

Summer is a slow time in South Florida. It’s hot and muggy, so there are fewer tourists, and even locals try to leave town as often as possible. That’s why Restaurant Week is a terrific promotion for everyone involved: restaurants attract customers, and diners get a fabulous and inexpensive dining experience. Plus, I’ll bet some diners will like their meals so much that they’ll become regular patrons of a new dining establishment.

Seasonal promotions are a great tactic. We give our customers great pricing on promotional products year-round, but this time of year we like to give special deals on fun outdoor items – caps, sunscreen, and beach towels all come to mind. Our customers love these deals, and they’re great for business. Does your company do any special, seasonal sales? If so, tell us about them in the comments below.

The Gossett Marketing team is going to celebrate Gables Restaurant Week with a trip to Anacapri on Ponce tonight – yum!

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