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What does one do with a paper USB drive?

Alan Kegel - Friday, March 25, 2011

A paper USB sounds like an interesting twist… but let’s consider the practicality of this nifty idea.



Promoted as "the First Paper Integrated" USB Drive.

An interesting article by Howard J. Sewell, publisher of The Point blog, a B2B marketing veteran of some twenty years, recently came across my desk in which he touts the resurgence of Direct Mail marketing, based on the fact spam killed email as a B2B marketing and lead generation tool. Mr. Sewell goes on to point out that the problem with traditional Direct Mail is it's a clunky medium when it underpins an electronic marketing campaign, due to the fact that it requires recipients to do some fairly tedious keyboard work to access the promoted website. That nuisance was overcome by direct mail/marketing campaigns using CD-ROMs that self-launched and automatically connected the recipient to a marketers website but... he laments, "CD-ROM seems so 1990's these days" compared to USB Flash drives. And this is where he makes his point of departure to a product called USB Insert... a proprietary USB Flash drive product that is crafted between a couple printed sheets of thin card stock, cut to shape, and mounted into a matching die-cut card stock folder or similar paperboard mailer. A paper USB sounds like an interesting twist... but let's consider the practicality of this nifty idea. USB Flash, in and of itself, is a spendy marketing tool especially considering its cost per MegaByte. This presents a challenge for marketeers when compounded by its perpetual price volatility; many campaigns take so long to develop that price jumps at the time of release often kill affordability. The costs mount when you combine a proprietary, non-standard, media configuration with novelty die-cuts for single-use throw-away marketing. In terms of its stickiness... what does one do with a USB Flash drive made of thin card stock made to look like a brown prescription bottle? Contrast that with a standardized USB Flash drive: they can be direct-mailed in any standard media mailer, use any standard data-loading method, can be procured in any quantity and, because they are standard, are delivered in just days, not months, as is the case with a proprietary scheme. What does one do with a paper drive after its 10 minutes of novelty has worn off? Unlike a standard USB Flash drive, its a good bet, before too long its tossed into the trash and on its way to a landfill. Think Green... standard USB Flash makes sense.
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