Flash Drives… Tangible and Hip!

Published by Steve Manicor | Topics: Conferences

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15 years ago, the new thing for conference materials was to scan hard copy, convert it to PDF and put it on CD-ROM. Today, most everyone can create digital files (PDFs), so scanning paper is a thing of the past. However, outside of putting content online, flash drives are the replacement media to CDs for meeting content.

Here are three reasons flash drives work for events:

  1. Tangibility
    If I can touch it, I find value in it. Putting content on flash drives allows me to walk into and out of the event with my conference content in my pocket. I don’t have to battle poor internet connections in the break rooms. I don’t have to ask ten people where the handouts are online. I can just reach into my bag, grab my drive and voilá, I have access to all the conference content. There’s something to be said about being able to hold and touch something.
  2. What’s a CD Drive?
    For about $300 anyone can own a powerful, lightweight, netbook computer that gets 6+ hours of battery life and doesn’t take up half the table when you open it. However, these mini-computer laptops don’t have a CD drive. So what good does a CD do me at the event if my computer doesn’t support it? One con to offering flash drives though is that iPads do not support CD drives or USB port.
  3. Long-Lasting Sponsor Value
    Flash drives are not something you just throw away or digest (like empty bottled water containers, cheap conference tote bags or lunch which companies seem to enjoy sponsoring). Yes, they sometimes go into my desk drawer, but they rarely hit the garbage. So it’s a place to highlight (on the drive or the lanyard) your main sponsor’s logo or your organization. It becomes a reminder to each attendee long after the event.

I am not going to tell you flash drives are the end-all solution for conference materials. Flash drives cost a lot more than publishing content on a CD. They have less room on the face of the drive for imprinting logos, etc.  But the fact is, they’re hip and they’re different. It might be the change you need.

There’s more than just putting files on a flash drive

If you’re considering sharing content on any media, creating an branded interface to make finding content easy is important. Just placing a bunch of PDF files in a folder makes it tough for attendees to find content and it’s a bad reflection of your organization. Creating a easy-to-use interface and making the content searchable gives value to what you are giving away. After all, you are spending money for the media, why fall short with what’s inside it. This goes for CDs and placing content online as well.

Do online conference materials provide value?

I know putting presentations and handouts online is probably the most popular way to share content, but there are inherent problems with that too. First, there’s no tangibility. This may send the message the cost of providing educational materials isn’t worth it for attendees. Next is the issue with protecting content from the public (if you choose to do this). And, making sure your attendees can actually find the content is a complete different issue. Last, the internet at every meeting site is different (e.g., slow, connection issues, costs money to access). All these are things to consider, but that’s not to say you can’t do this effectively. Unfortunately, I just see too many events throwing their meeting content into the internet fray expecting I will love it and it will work.

Too many choices for flash drives

At Omnipress, we produce tens of thousands of flash drives for events each year. There are many styles and options to choose from. There are even features like note taking capabilities on the drive that are available. We’ve boiled all this down. Done our homework. Feel free to learn more at about this hip, no longer new media on our web site:



About Steve Manicor

Steve is Omnipress' Director of Business Development. He has over five years serving the meetings and training industry. He leads our product/service leadership and development teams. ...read more

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