Across the Keyboard
Announcing the iPhone 34. Well, not yet, but before you know it, the iPhone will have as many new versions as the Now That's What I Call Music mix CDs (which were up to 49 at print time). It seems like a new smartphone/tablet/e-reader/watch/time machine is introduced every month, which makes products for earlier models seem outdated to users. That custom iPhone 3 case isn't giving many impressions at the bottom of a junk drawer, now is it?
Matt Malone, partner, sales, marketing and web for Flexible Innovations, Forth Worth, Texas, suggested selling products that work with any tech item. "Items that are universal, and not made for a specific devices, are the easiest to sell," he said. Todd Gabel, president of Chicago-based Toddy Gear, agreed and advised asking yourself this question: "Can the product be used with any electronic gadget on the market?" If it can, you have a winner. Here are six winning trends that work for any portable electronic device.
Products manufactured or assembled in the U.S. are in high demand in most markets. The portable electronics category is no different. "We have seen a much greater demand for products made in the USA," Gabel said.
2. PORTABLE POWER SOURCES
"It's all about power!" said Shawn Hood, vice president of marketing for WOWLine, Jericho, N.Y. "Portable chargers are becoming a must-have, especially for travelers or business professionals making sales calls and presentations," he said. "The trend of portable power is evolving quickly as new technologies allow for chargers to hold even more power," he added. Hood noted that WOWLine offers chargers with up to 11,600mAh, which help charges last longer in smartphones and tablets.
3. CLEANING CLOTHS
Malone mentioned that the popularity of mobile devices has led to increased sales of cleaning cloths. "Over the last few years, mobile phones have become larger; they hold more data and have higher-resolution touch screens. This trend strengthens the usefulness of both egrips and DigiClean products to help protect and clean these valuable [consumer electronic] devices," he explained. Gabel added that microfiber cleaning cloths are great for distributors, end-buyers and end-users who may not be tech-savvy. "Distributors selling microfiber accessories do not need to be very technical to be successful," he said. "The beauty of a microfiber accessory product is the very non-technical result, just a clean screen and great brand visibility," he said.
4. PERSONAL DEVICES
There is often a divide between office tech promotions (keyboard cleaners, chargers) and personal tech promotions (headphones, speakers), but Hood thinks there shouldn't be. "Accessories such as headphones and Bluetooth speakers would more often be used for personal use, but they make great business gifts to clients and staff," he said. He added that Bluetooth keyboards are good for office or personal use as well. Malone agreed that personal and corporate tech promotions should address the same needs. "If I were going to choose a method of marketing [electronic] products, it would be to address common problems we experience on [electronic] devices in general, like keeping them clean and protected," he said.
5. AUGMENTED REALITY
Malone mentioned that augmented reality (like the Layar-powered links that appear in Promo Marketing's pages) is the newest trend in tech-friendly items. "QR codes are still useful additions to promotional items, however, [augmented reality] aims to take scanning products to another level," he said.
6. PRODUCTS IN USE
Showing how useful a product is may not be a trend, but it will help you land the sale. "When a client sees the case, charger or other accessory in use, they can better see the value," Hood said. If you are selling a case, put your tablet in that case; if you are selling a charger, charge your phone with that charger. "Better yet, charge their phone or tablet while you are meeting with them," he added.