Mar-Lan Industries is a 50+ year old Texas-based supplier of electrical products to the marine industry. 12 days ago Jim Desai, the company's CEO, posted a small but sincere offer for a free calendar in a group I run on LinkedIn for boaters to network with each other (FirstBoat Business Networking Group).
I was impressed that Mar-Lan - a B2B company - seemed to get social media. The offer was from the CEO himself, and he didn't "spam" the discussion group with a blunt message like "Click here to view our electrical accessories" - he was smart enough to know that people viewing the offer in his post could find out more about his company if they were so inclined.
I signed up that day to get a free calendar.
And within 7 business days, I had my new calendar (pictured here). Turns out it's a nice wall calendar with motivational slogans on each page below pictures of outdoor adventures - from kayaking to surfing to mountain climbing. Mar-Lan also sent a "happy holidays" note on company letterhead with the contact info for their key customer-facing employees. Oh, and of course the calendar has Mar-Lan's contact info including web address across the bottom of the calendar so that I'll look at it all year.
Now, I am admittedly not necessarily Mar-Lan's target audience. But if anyone ever asks, I'll speak of Mar-Lan with a warm fuzzy feeling because they gave me something for nothing. And heck, I might even blog about them...