Another One Bytes the Dust
THEY ARE AMONG the only products we receive (sometimes at great expense) and immediately gush over them, embrace them and show them off to friends or even strangers. A year later, we decide the models we have are antiquated and toss them in the trash. Then, without blinking, we reach into our pockets for a couple hundred bucks to replace the outdated accessory with something faster, smarter, sexier and with more blinking bells and whistles, which we adore for about a year before repeating the cycle once again.
In the world of promotional products, this kind of fickle love/hate relationship makes the industry swoon. Jeff Thompson, vice president of sales, corporate markets for Victorinox Swiss Army, Monroe, Conn., explained, "Two years is like 20 in tech years. Things are advancing at an accelerat[ed] rate, so while most [high-tech] products you purchased two years ago will still work, new products will be more robust, allowing you to do more in less time." Because the pace in this sector is so rapid, Thompson suggested distributors should update their product offering in this niche on an annual basis.
Kenneth Huang, president of KTI Promo, Houston, echoed the changing nature of the industry. "There is no magic bullet that applies to all marketing campaigns," he said. "The technology space is fluid in nature. What is hot in January may be perceived differently later in the year." Aside from selling the latest and greatest, staying on top of new technology can ensure annual reorders from early adopters and forward-thinking clients.
The little Giant
In 2010, distributors have access to a wealth of new and innovative product retail offerings, such as micro-projectors, E-book readers and travel mouses, just to name a few. But according to Patricia Vissers, CMO of Sourcery Solutions, New York, "There's ... [a] big disconnect between what is innovative and exciting coming to market, and what products or technologies have real potential in the promotional products industry. For a variety of reasons, frequently the most cutting-edge technologies are just too expensive for our market."