Today’s consumers—and their internet-connected devices—are on the move
While the futuristic technological advances portrayed in the 1960s TV show “The Jetsons” haven’t all materialized yet, we’re getting frighteningly close. Self-driving cars, robots that deliver room service, small, wearable drones that can fly—these are all products in development. But one thing that the Jetsons’ creators didn’t envision was mobile phone technology, something that’s become a modern necessity.
People now use their mobile phones to access digital media more than laptops, and 64 percent of American adults own smartphones. Plus, with more than one billion people using tablets worldwide, brand promotion opportunities for the promotional products industry abound.
In the rewards and incentives sector, for example, digital technology has had a huge impact. “In the past decade, we have seen a shift in how we share information, communicate, entertain ourselves, shop and even connect with brands. Everything we want and do is a click—and now a swipe—away,” says Aubrey Collins, marketing and communications director at MediaTree (UPIC: tni), a digital rewards supplier. “Because of this, reward and incentive promotions must evolve with technology to meet changing consumer expectations,” she says.
“Promotions that include digital appeal to demographics across the board, and include items such as music downloads, movie tickets, magazine subscriptions, digital movie rentals and more,” Collins adds.
Beyond rewards and incentives, it’s clear that with more people attached to an ever-growing cache of shiny devices, promotional products that are related to those devices or that can be accessed from them, are growing in popularity.
When FedEx® needed a way to continually reward drivers for good performance and meeting operational goals, they implemented a rewards program that could be easily executed and provide a gift with high perceived value that would appeal to a wide variety of drivers.
To highlight its partnership with NASCAR®, the company rewarded drivers with branded stock car-shaped cards at themed events. These cards gave recipients a choice of five music downloads, one magazine subscription or one digital movie rental.
The simplicity and flexibility of reward cards made it easy for FedEx to have an interesting handout at their various events. Plus, having one card that was valid for several popular offers was significant in ensuring each attendee would receive something of value.
Business Bytes: Satisfy Mobile Appetites With These Digital Products
With the SpyderWeb™ band, users no longer have to fear their tablet falling or sliding while they swipe and type. Plus, when not being used to hold the tablet, the band keeps other accessories, such as a USB drive, notebook or phone, organized. It’s ideal for technology services companies.
Ad Bands UPIC: ALLI0001 www.ad-bands.com
The Comet makes digital experiences fun and memorable by infusing selfie-shutter technology, a microphone for hands-free calls and a high-quality speaker in one Bluetooth product. Strap it on a bag, golf cart or bicycle, or attach to a belt loop. Use the wireless shutter paired with your smartphone for selfies and group shots.
Sweda UPIC: SWEDA www.swedausa.com
Don’t fall prey to webcam spying while at home, work or traveling. Secure your privacy with a logoed webcam cover that fits cell phones, tablets, laptops and gaming consoles.
Solpals LLC/dba C-Slide UPIC:CAMCOVER www.webcamcovers.com
Why just give out a branded football when you can increase engagement with an Augmented Reality Sports Game? Compatible with Android™ and Apple® devices, the free Galactic AR app turns a promotional sport ball into an interactive court or field complete with sound and scoreboard. Brand just the ball or both the ball and the game itself. Logos can be placed in six different locations in the game.
Galaxy Balloons UPIC: GALACTIC www.galacticline.com
As the holidays approach, Acclaim Cards with musical downloads are a cheerful and different way for businesses to express holiday wishes and appreciation to their customers. Music download certificates with a URL and pin code are printed on the inside left panel. Supply a custom message or choose from stock verses.
Sound Line LLC UPIC: 1SOUNDLN www.soundline.com
Make fitness fun and fashionable with the Bandit, an easy-to-use, wearable wristband technology product designed to make well-being and fitness simple and trackable. Users can track their steps, calories burned, distance travelled and sleep patterns, and the competition mode lets users compare their performance against friends, family and coworkers.
LogoIncluded UPIC: 15111613 www.logoincluded.com
The traditional refrigerator magnet has a newer, better version: the Smart Magnet™ gives instant connection to a brand on the internet, either through plugging into a USB port or through NFC tags that allow access through a simple smartphone tap.
QPromo UPIC: USB2 www.qpromo.com
With everyone online all the time, companies that excel at social media strategy come out ahead. Help your clients achieve success online by giving the gift of knowledge with a book such as The Art of Social Media customized with a company logo.
The Book Company UPIC: BOOKCO www.thebookcompany.com
Digital promotions are best viewed with a clean device, which is why this double-sided imprint Microfiber Cleaning Cloth is such a useful promotional item. Use it to drive people to a website or app, or promote an online special or a new device.
Iline Promo UPIC: beads www.ilinepromo.com
Perfect for travel companies or outdoor water-themed events, this Hurricane Weatherproof Bag fits smartphones and has a large logo imprint area and an adjustable shoulder strap. It saves expensive phones from water damage at the beach, amusement park or while boating.
Logo Included UPIC: 15111613 www.logoincluded.com
The Internet Of Things
Q & A With Mike Reno, President of Supplier Kopy-Rite
What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?
IoT is broadly defined as devices talking to devices, usually through some sort of Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection, and sometimes through the internet. They frequently employ sensors that can read things like motion (such as acceleration, speed and incline), location (GPS), heart rate, temperature, light, sweat and so on. Devices collect this data and upload it—usually to your smartphone or tablet. IoT technology is poised to become the next new gold rush, much like the internet was in the early 1990s.
Why is IoT important to the promotional products industry?
IoT devices are incredibly useful and relatively inexpensive, which makes them perfect for new and unique promotional items. It is estimated that there were 10.3 billion IoT devices worldwide in 2014, and there will be nearly 30 billion in 2020. That’s a lot of opportunity for marketers—and for the promotions industry.
How are IoT devices being used in effective marketing campaigns?
As these devices are being integrated into our everyday life, they become a great branding opportunity. For example, John Hancock Insurance has a rewards program that is based on data they receive from activity trackers (such as a Fitbit) that employees agree to wear—a tracker that the compmany provides and brands. Self-insured large companies are looking to follow suit, offering discounts on employee premiums for those willing to share their activity level using a branded IoT device.
What can promotional product professionals do to capitalize on the IoT trend?
As this continues to spread, customers will need go-to experts; some place they can turn to keep them abreast of these new technology applications. More importantly, they’ll need some place to buy them.
What’s Next For NFC?
Near Field Communication (NFC) is digital technology that allows wireless data transfer without the need for an internet connection. If you’ve ever paid for something using Apple Pay or Google Pay, then you’ve seen the power of NFC technology. In the promotional products industry, NFC tags can be built into wristbands, posters, kiosks and more to transmit information such as a website, social media site, coupon or map to your smartphone.
NFC tags can also be used in a promotional product so companies can gather data to calculate ROI. Supplier Kopy-Rite (UPIC: kopyrite) teamed up with experiential marketing company 24G to help a major consumer electronics company promote its new products at the 2015 NCAA Final Four Fan Fest. Kopy-Rite supplied more than 30,000 NFC-enabled wrist bands that were given to participants at registration and linked to their name, contact information and social media accounts.
“Participants could go to different promotional gaming areas, tap their wristband on a tablet to check in and then the system would register the points they earned. When they got so many points, they could spin the custom-built digital prize wheel to get a promotional product prize,” says David Godin, vice president of business development at Clawson, Michigan-based 24G. Additionally, “When participants posted photos or videos of their performance in the events, such as the slow motion jump shot, to their social media accounts, the system could track that as well as all the shares and likes. The NFC wristband allowed a seamless, integrated brand experience for participants and we were able to collect an incredible amount of data for our client,” he adds.
Julie Richie is associate editor for PPB.