Walk through any trade show today and you’re sure to find hundreds of promotional products ranging from stuffed animals to the traditional pen. While it’s no doubt these products are many times successful in their attempts to entice people into an exhibitor’s booth, they most often fail to offer any lasting functional value which inevitably leads them straight to the trashcan.
Promotional product strategist, Mike Allemison, says, “Companies are falling short with their expectations for promotional products. If you’re going to invest in products for a trade show or other event, with new products available for branding such as customized flash drives and other computer-related devices, there’s large potential to give something that adds value and provides function in someone’s workday.”
The reality is billions of dollars are spent each year on promotional products. The cost of these items ranges anywhere from a few pennies each to hundreds of dollars per item depending on the objective the promotional product is trying to meet. David Henrison, founder of Taking Things Personal, says, “It’s hard to gain the attention of a prospect looking at multi-million dollar software with a plastic pen. Companies need to be strategic in their approach to finding the promotional product that fits their target customer.”
For companies looking for a sophisticated, customized promotional product, flash drives appear to be leading the charge. Firms like CFgear.com offer bulk flash drives with custom capabilities ranging from branded F: icons (displaying the company logo on the F: in the My Computer window) to preload menu screens to, of course, imprinting or laser etching.
Products such as customized flash drives are coined “functional marketing.” It’s a way to offer people a branded promotional item that actually performs a function versus merely sitting on your desk. As flash drive usage continues to increase across a wide range of industries, the demand for wholesale flash drives or bulk flash drives will also increase.
“We are seeing more and more sophisticated promotional items from exhibitors. Technology seems to be playing a strong role. Exhibitors are spending more on their trade show campaign, but because they are using technology-based promotional products, they are also able to measure the dollars spent,” says Susan Remerson, Executive Director of Tradeshow Affiliates International.
Just like not all promotional campaigns are equal, neither are the promotional products that are many times used to support them. The key to determining the right promotional product is to know your target audience. If your average customer still doesn’t own a computer or work in an tech-based environment, then of course you wouldn’t want to attempt to entice or reward them with something like a customized flash drive. In that case, simple may be better. The only down side is the simpler the promotional product, generally the more difficult it is to use the product as a vehicle to capture information on the customer.
“We deliver bulk flash drives that are customized to fit a promotional product campaign with precision. One of the more advanced methods we employ is to help clients design a branded preload interface so the user of the flash drive can easily navigate client brochures or hyperlinks to the client website. Depending on the client’s budget, we can even engineer customized flash drives that allow clients to track how many of the recipients plugged the flash drive in. The technology and data is available. It just depends on the budget,” says Chris Wagner of CFgear.com.