The year is 2014, and the robots have finally taken over. Did you notice? Probably not—their rise to dominance was swift and silent. Now, though, it's impossible to miss the signs. Suddenly no one (save for the most ardent orienteers and doomsday preppers) can read a paper map—we wait for the robot with the soothing voice that's mounted on our dashboard to tell us to where to turn left. We can't remember anything without the robot in our pocket buzzing at the appropriate time to remind us it's our birthday. And as a society, we now collectively ignore the people talking to themselves on the street because we know they're really talking to the Bluetooth robots that live in their ears.
Basically, we are lost, forgetful and lonely without our robots, and this is excellent news for marketers. As Reggie Gonzalez, vice president of sales for Seattle-based iClick, noted, "Every day a business has an opportunity to reach someone, somewhere with their brand."
Here are four computer accessories that are quickly growing to be today's most awesome promotions.
Data in a Flash
Whether it is their portability, light weight or infinite use, we're not sure, but USB drives are still huge hits. "USB flash drives continue to drive this segment of the industry," Gonzalez said. When considering the range of technological savvy your end-users may have, flash drives are a safe bet, because nearly everyone can figure out how to operate them with minimal frustration.
But that's just your basic USB, of course—and as we all know, the not-so-basic is where things start to get fun. "New technologies, such as 3.0 speed of flash drives [and] micro USB drives for smartphones, tablets and cameras, [have] opened up new revenue streams for this segment," Gonzalez said. For example, he pointed to iClick's Longmont, a pen/USB combo, that's been a top seller for the company. Looking beyond the classic USB in favor of a multiuse style gives a promotion added value and also increases the number of times an end-user will reach for the item (and by extension, see the branding imprinted there).
Got You Covered
Covers, skins and sleeves are another great option because. Jeff Lederer, president of Prime Line, Bridgeport, Conn., pointed out why. "Most business people spend a good part of their day in front of a computer. They're used in conjunction with [our] primary communication tools," he said. Whether it's a laptop, tablet or a smartphone, being able to become part of that everyday routine is an important factor in creating a strong campaign. Of course, since these items can vary in both size and popularity, it becomes all the more important for a distributor to do their homework ahead of time.
"A distributor must be able to have a discovery conversation on who the recipient is for the promotion," Gonzalez said. "It has to be targeted." Lederer also suggested looking at trends to determine which products to bring to market—and when looking at laptop skins and sleeves, that means being aware of popular colors, trends and design innovations as well.
Needing a charge and not having one is certainly one of today's more panic-inducing human conditions. Imagine the promotional possibilities of being able to save the day for your end-user. Lederer pointed to the mobile charger as one of Prime Line's most in-demand items. So much so, however, that the company's website provides distributors with a helpful guide comparing the different mobile charger versions.
Mobile chargers are a higher-tech version of a regular wall charger—simply put, once the mobile charger is juiced up, and end-user can bring it anywhere to power up their mp3, tablet or phone when they don't have access to an outlet. And with many professionals using more than one mobile device while they're on the road, said Lederer, the utility is unmatched.
Bits & Byte
Finally, when thinking of computer accessory promotions, there are all the small things that come in handy constantly. Gonzalez pointed to mouse pads, earbuds and screen cleaners as new revenue streams for iClick. "Also, Bluetooth technology to listen to music remotely from laptops or desktops," he added. And it's no wonder. These items are always needed, but when we're all distracted by the pretty, shiny robots, no one wants to think about the accouterment that goes along with them (which is precisely why these items are so important!).
Plus, there's room for customization. Lederer shared a case study in which Prime Line helped create a customized accessory for a tuition-free online school. Inspired by print collateral for the company, they created a computer mouse fashioned after a yellow school bus that was given out to more than 10,000 students and parents.