Promotions 2.0

Technology has transformed how we live our lives. In many ways, it has made life better, easier and more fun. We can utter a command (“Alexa, turn on the light!”) or push a button to do virtually anything. Technological marvels such as self-parking cars, smartphone-controlled homes and smartwatches that reveal sleep patterns may have once seemed futuristic but have become integrated into today’s world. You might even soon see drones dropping packages or your dinner order on your doorstep. Amazon received a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a drone that adjusts its behavior depending on reactions from human bystanders.

Author Arthur C. Clarke said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Many people aren’t just fascinated by technology; they depend on it. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of Americans say they can’t live without the internet, according to Statista. Sixty-eight percent of people say they sleep with their smartphones at their bedsides, according to TIME, and 29 percent say it’s the first and last thing they look at every day. Overall, almost half (42 percent) of Americans say technology has made their lives better, according to the Pew Research Center.

But while technology often unfolds in the digital realm, people can touch and feel promotional products. There’s something powerful about holding an actual item in your hands. That’s why in the workplace, many companies are instituting tech-free meetings—even those in the tech industry—which discourage the use of laptops, cell phones and iPads. Surprisingly, researchers at Princeton and UCLA have discovered that employees retain more from meetings and brainstorm more creative ideas when they take notes using a pen and paper rather than a digital device.

Missy Kilpatrick, CAS, vice president of new business development at The Book Company, finds incredible value in going tech-free, even though it’s not an official mandate at her company. “We have found if you really need all participants to concentrate solely on the subject and give their undivided attention then this is the way to go,” she says. “Tech-free meetings help cut down on the distractions that can be caused by emails, phone calls and texts that may come in during a meeting. It’s really no different than texting while driving—you can’t completely focus on the task at hand.”  

Kilpatrick adds that just as people read printed books despite the launch of e-books, technology users will also continue to use journals. “My opinion is that nothing will ever replace the pen and paper, at least not in our lifetime,” she says.

Technology companies across the spectrum strive to solve a problem, fill a need, and connect with consumers in new and meaningful ways. To help technology clients charge boldly and brightly into the New Year, check out the trends, insights and ideas on the pages ahead.


Market Snapshot

Millennials lead the way in technology usage, but Baby Boomers and Gen Xers aren’t far behind. Ninety-two percent of Millennials own a smartphone, compared to 85 percent of Gen Xers and 67 percent of Baby Boomers, according to Pew Research. 

When they’re on their devices, Millennials are more likely than older generations to use relatively newer social media platforms such as Instagram (52 percent) and Snapchat (47 percent). Although Boomers aren’t as quick to adopt new technology, they’re more likely to own a smartphone now (67 percent) than they were in 2011 (25 percent).

All generations tend to believe the internet has been personally good for them, although younger individuals (73 percent) are more likely to say the internet has positively impacted society. However, in general, Americans feel less positive about the internet’s societal impact now than they did four years ago. In 2014, 80 percent of Gen Xers felt the internet was mostly positive, but only 69 percent feel the same way in 2018.

 Home Smart Home

  • By 2020, the global smart home market is projected to surpass $40 billion
  • 47 percent of Millennials own smart home products
  • 57 percent of Americans say smart products in their homes save them 30 minutes per day
  • 45 percent of Americans say smart home devices save them an average of $1,179 annually
  • 70 percent of consumers say buying one connected product made them more likely to buy another

Social Media Stats To Know

  • More than 3.1 billion people use social media, up from 13 percent from 2017
  • The average American spends about two hours a day on social media
  • The typical American uses three of the eight major social media platforms 
  • Approximately 2/3 of Americans use Facebook, making it the most popular social channel
  • 11 new people begin using social media every second of the day
  • In 2019, social media marketing in the U.S. is expected to expand to $17.3 billion

Digital Detox

  • In 2017, more people made a New Year's resolution to quit social media than to stop smoking, according to a story in Harper's Bazaar
  • 26 percent of people feel guilty if they don't promptly respond to work-related messages outside of normal work hours
  • 66 percent of people take their mobile devices to work instead of their lunch


Campaign Collateral

Share delight with the sweet treats cookie crate. Bite-sized, chef-created cookies are packed in individual boxes and tucked inside a logoed crate that can be used to corral catalogs after the confections are gone. 

Maple Ridge Farms, Inc. PPAI 114165   /


Any brand becomes a showstopper with the Vandella. This wireless speaker is customized with a VividPrint™ logo on the fabric speaker cover. Features include self-standing leg support and a built-in microphone for hands-free calls.

St Regis Group   /   PPAI 230188   /


As the tech-free meeting trend continues in 2019, custom journals allow brands to stay front and center in the workplace. Options abound when it comes to styles, colors and sizes. You can also opt for interesting features such as magnetic flaps or color stitching on the spine.

The Book Company   /   PPAI 218850   /


With a sleek platinum barrel, an eye-catching ridged trim and a highly sensitive stylus, the X2 stylus will become recipients’ go-to writing instrument. Grooved grippers make it a pleasure to use.

Hub Pen CompanyPPAI


The Paws N Claws silicone pocket keeps logos visible whenever recipients reach for their phone. The sticky pocket adheres to the back of a mobile device, allowing users to easily store credit cards, business cards and ID. 


Crown Products   /   PPAI 113430


Wherever recipients take the bottle rocket wireless speaker, your brand goes along. This portable, rechargeable speaker boasts stereo-sound quality, a built-in microphone and LED indicator lights. Charge it up with the included USB cable.

Sweda Company, LLC   /   PPAI


The Textari comfort stylus offers the best in high-tech writing enjoyment. A stylus is designed with increased sensitivity using touchscreen devices while a rubberized finish adds a comfortable touch.

Hub Pen Company PPAI


Ulla, the world’s first hydration reminder bottle attachment, acts as a personal hydration coach by helping the user drink three times more water throughout the day. Ulla can be mounted on water bottles of all sizes and materials, and attached to any standard glass or mug. Pricing includes a one- to four-color logo imprint.

Hirsch Gift, Inc.   /   PPAI


Tap Into These Five Tech Events In 2019

IBM Interconnect
San Francisco, California

Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

Google Cloud Next
San Francisco, California

MIT Sloan CIO Symposium
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Cisco Live
San Diego, California


Getting In On The Ground Floor

The best tech gifts make life easier or more enjoyable for recipients. Plug into these ideas as you consider different ways to spark delight in your target audience.

At home:A logoed, wireless speaker provides music for recipients’ ears and smart branding for your client. Statista data reveals that 84 percent of Gen Z and 73 percent of Millennials listen to music every day. 

At work: A custom journal and stylus pen combo comes in handy for meetings, conferences and events. Use this gift to welcome new employees to the team or prepare office staff for an upcoming seminar. 

At play: Whether recipients are powering through a workout or romping around with their kids, logoed wearable technology helps them log their physical activity and stay on track with their fitness goals. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of Americans work out at least once a week, according to a fitness survey by Timex.


Audrey Sellers is a Dallas, Texas-area writer an former associate editor of PPB.

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