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  March 16, 2010

Are USB Flash Drive and Memory Sticks Still a Good Promo Item Option?

USB Silk
For a while it seemed as if everyone was giving out branded USB flash drives at trade shows, seminars and conferences. There seemed to be an overabundance of these highly prized portable drives everywhere. So the question arises, is it still a strong strategy to use branded USB flash drives to promote your business, products and/or services?
That answer, of course, is resounding yes.
It’s safe to say, in fact, that branded flash drives will probably become the best selling item in the category in recent memory. This is for several key reasons:

A strong brand connection
Flash drives are a great promotional item because they get a lot of use. They rarely end up in a junk drawer. Instead, the recipient uses them at home, at work and everywhere in between to carry, transfer and share data, from family photos and music to department projects and homework. They are used every day in every way imaginable. And with them goes your logo and brand message.

They are highly prized
Let’s face it. How many key chains or koosh balls can one person have? With USB flash drives, one is never enough. They are instantly recognised as being valuable to the recipient and having several is far better than having one (and one on a key ring is particular welcomed).

An easy sell
Almost every promotional item outside of USB flash drives is static. In other words, the item has your logo and message printed on the outside of it, but that’s it. With flash drives, however, you can preload your sales materials onto it, from self-running presentations and catalogues to product sheets and website links. These can even be setup to run automatically the first time the recipient inserts the drive into their PC. We’d like to see a flying disc or baseball hat do that!

Small package with big potential
The size of the USB flash drive has two big bonuses. First, it’s easy for the recipient to carry around with them on a daily basis and second; a lot of them can be shipped for a small amount of money. If you’ve ever shipped a thousand mugs from Point A to Point B you know how costly that can be. A thousand USB flash drives, however, one small box.

Relatively cheap
Flash drives aren’t the most inexpensive promotional item out on the market today, true. Mugs, key rings and hats are all less expensive, particularly in quantity. But the base cost is only part of the equation. When comparing the items, you have to factor in the cost of printing, shipping, storage and warehousing (when no one wants another ball cap or mug). These can quickly make branded USB flash drives as affordable if not more so, particularly if you order the versions with less storage. Plus, you have to factor in the cost of having any promotional item miss its target, ending up in a drawer or in a kid’s toy chest. Cutting a few cents here and there can be the difference between having your message out in front of people every day and ending up in the toy chest next to Mr. Potato Head.

When shopping for the next big thing in the promotional item, it’s often tempting to go with something breathtakingly new and fresh. But there’s always the inherent danger that today’s trendy gift becomes next week’s corporate joke. Koosh balls flying around the office were never appreciated. And you certainly don’t want your promotional item (and by inference your brand) to become the next item reviled by bosses everywhere.