3. Know Your Devices
What's the difference between Apple's iPhone 5 and Samsung's Galaxy S II? Microsoft's Surface and Google's Nexus 7? Amazon's Kindle Fire HD and a paperback copy of Pride and Prejudice? If you don't know the answers (especially on that last one), you might want to brush up on your tech-market knowledge—not all devices are created equal, and you've got to keep compatibility in mind. "It's not all about PC vs. Mac anymore," explained Mehta. "Most of what's hot are items that are mobile and cross-compatible."
Ablauf agreed, citing the iOS vs. Android battle in particular as a major driver of consumer demand. "This battle really influences which products should be used as promotional products, because we all want to ensure compatibility for the end-user," he said. "My one suggestion—and one that drives our development as well—is to find products or solutions that can be used with both operating systems."
Still, that's not always easy. Device specifications vary from brand to brand and style to style (even Apple recently switched up its input jacks for the iPhone 5, to the dismay of iPhone-peripheral owners everywhere) making it tough to decide what accessories to pitch. When in doubt, go universal.
"Stick to items that are compatible with most devices," Mehta said. "This means items that use USB or the earphone jack and not a proprietary connector. Also, avoid items that relate to the device's size, like phone cases and certain kinds of docks," he continued. "Users are not only spreading across multiple brands now, they are upgrading frequently, and you want your promotional item to survive each generation change."
Next: Don't Get Gimmicky