POINT, Click & Accessorize
DURING THE DOT.COM era of the ’90s, computers themselves were all the rage. Thousands of Internet-based companies sprung up, providing a variety of work-from-home options for office-weary workmongers and investment opportunities for business trailblazers.
But while computers continue to remain relevant to all things personal and professional, it is now the accessories that go along with them that have captured the attention of end-users and consumers alike. From earbuds to flash drives and digital photo frames to USB pens, the category provides unlimited promotional appeal for tech-savvy distributors and their clients.
Why computer accessories?
According to Scott Meng, marketing coordinator at Houston-based KTI Promo, the items offer more diverse ways to promote a customer’s brand than other promotional products. “In addition to the logo, why not pre-load a flash drive with a catalog or PowerPoint presentation? Or install a link to a Web site where end-users can watch a video demonstration,” he suggested. “Upsell these features, and you can increase your profits while further promoting
Are they worth the sell?
Meng thinks so, and stated computer accessories are “high-margin, high-value” products. “They do cost more than the average promotional product,” he admitted, “but that means [distributors] don’t need to sell 10,000 pieces to make a healthy profit.”
Meng further informed that innovation can also be a measure of profitability. “The computer accessories category is always generating ... new products to expand the marketplace and potential for business,” he said.
What’s hot and what’s not?
To hear Robert Victor, marketing manager at Sussex, New Jersey-based CD Source Direct tell it, CD business cards are a perennial “it” item.
“It is always a strong trade show and conference item,” he said. “Not only is it unique, but it also offers a functional solution to distributing large amounts of information about products and services.”
To that end, Victor highlighted the item’s eco-friendliness, stating although the product is made from plastic, the sustainable benefits stem from the amount of information that can be stored on compact disc. “It can hold literally hundreds of pages of information and will save the cost of paper, ink and associated freight,” he explained.
In addition, Victor pointed to the eMedia Post Card as one of CD Source Direct’s most innovative products this year. “We can affix the CD Business Card or any CD/DVD media disc onto a postcard,” he said. “The package ... sails through the mail safely and will not go unnoticed.”
At KTI Promo, Meng cited this year’s innovations in computer accessories as incorporating “fresh designs and colors” on traditional items. Furthermore, he said there is also demand for “anything that consolidates our increasingly digital lifestyles, such as USB hubs, memory-card readers and multifunctional tools for the office.”
However, Meng cautioned distributors to be aware of “dying” technologies and promotional products that are tied to them. “For example, we used to use 3.5" floppy disks, but now they are virtually irrelevant,” he said. “Taking the long view, we might see a similar fate for the CD, due to advances in flash memory.” He also said wireless technology could result in the decrease of “anything with wires or cables.”
What’s the best way to sell these items?
Meng offered several tips distributors may find useful in selling
1) Think beyond the logo and explore what the item can accomplish within a larger campaign. “How can you tie in the product choice with the client’s objectives,” he asked.
2) Learn the technology, but sell the benefits. Meng stressed the necessity of distributors understanding the product features, but also having the ability to translate them into how they help accomplish specific campaign goals.
3) There are no stupid questions. “If you are not familiar with technology, just ask,” he offered. “Let’s work together to make the sale.”
What should distributors sell?
With new technology becoming available every second of the day it seems, there is no shortage of computer accessories that can be found within the industry. KTI Promo carries flash drives, digital frames, computer peripherals, USB pens and corporate gifts. “We introduced the USB flash drive into the promotional market and that line is still our best seller,” Meng noted. “Our new line of digital frames, however, is quickly becoming a close second.”
Victor said distributors can find everything associated with the manufacturing and packaging of CDs and DVDs at CD Source Direct. “One of the most lucrative and fastest-growing computer accessory is recordable CDs and DVDs,” he noted. “We use the same high-quality imprint on our recordable discs as with the custom-manufactured
To whom should distributors sell?
“We have imprinted recordable media for a wide variety of businesses, including banks, professional engineers, title companies, accountants and universities,” Victor said. However, he noted the most rapid growth is found within the medical community. “Radiology labs and hospitals are converting from expensive, bulky film to delivering patient tests and records on CD-R,” he said. “There is a huge potential for repeat business with this kind of sale.”
Meng agreed, and stated: “Broadband connection and cheaper computers are allowing almost everyone to access the Internet, creating branding opportunities in many nontraditional markets, such as financial, medical, hospitality and education.”
Full Steam Ahead
“As the younger generations continue to take over through the natural attrition of the older generations, there will be an even greater need and universal acceptance of computer accessories,” Victor noted. And if this industry has anything to do with it, computer accessories will be around for a very long time—at least as long as computers are found to be relevant.
“In the ever-evolving world of technology, it will be interesting to see what current products will expire and what new, unimaginable products will take their place,” noted Meng. “Whatever changes [do] occur, it is certain that computer accessories will be a staple in the promotional products industry.”