Getting in Sync (and I don’t mean the band)

Here is a question I hear at least once a day:

Hi, my name is (insert name here) and I am looking for a price quote. We currently use CD’s to distribute our content (digital catalog, music, software) and want to switch to USB drives. We don’t have a specific budget in mind, but we pay about $1-2 for CD’s. Do you have anything in the same price range?

Not only is the answer “no”, but this is absolutely the wrong question to ask. Here is the right question:

How would you suggest I change what I do so that when I purchase USB drives I get the most out of the money I invest?

In other words, if your method is wrong, a $2 USB drive will do you no good. You need to align your promotion / product launch / campaign with the tools you are using. A printed Flash Drive is a tool. You wouldn’t use a screwdriver to nail down a picture, nor would you use a garden hose to bathe your infant. So why do so many people try to use a Flash Drive to substitute for a CD distribution.

In his brilliant book, Meatball Sunday, Seth Godin talks about how in order for companies to benefit from “new” marketing (blogs, social media, viral spread of ideas), they need to align their organization to be in sync with this marketing. Same with USB drives. If you are looking to replace your CD distribution with USB drives, you won’t. They will never be cheap enough.

Here is a list of everything a USB drive is that a CD is not (don’t get me wrong, CD’s have lots of uses, they are just different)

  1. A USB drive is reusable (copy your files, then delete them, then copy them again)
  2. USB drives can be made into any 2D or 3D product (you can make a teddy bear USB drive if you want)
  3. USB drives are portable (I carry one on my keys that is less than an inch in length)
  4. You can run software directly off USB drives and have it save files right onto itself
  5. Finally, USB drives useful beyond the initial utility (that means the person who gets your drive will actually use it)

So before investing in some custom USB drives, you might want to think about the best way to approach your project, or call me for some ideas. They are always on the house.