Attend any decent trade fair, and you are bombarded with all sorts of promotional giveaways by companies determined to turn your head.
At a recent event, we left with posh carrier bags stuffed to the brim with the usual leaflets, packets of sweets, endless pens, notebooks, drinks coasters, an insulated coffee mug, and – of course – USB memory sticks.
We cannot deny, we hung around certain stands because we coveted their beautiful black notebooks with chunky pencils; and we worship the company that let us have the coffee mug, even though we haven't quite got round to taking out of the box three weeks later.
But it is still the USB memory sticks that grab the executives, buyers and browsers at trade events.
Any stand that had memory sticks on display attracted delegates like ants to a picnic, just so they could get their hands on that sweet, sweet flash memory, all packaged in a pocket size case embossed with a company name.
We're heavily biased, but our own observations show that technology is the most appreciated gift of all among conference and trade fair delegates, and they will long remember the names of generous organisations even if they palm off their gains to colleagues or their own children.
Of course, people demand a minimum standard, and a 512MB usb stick which might have been seen as generous just a year ago might now be viewed as a little cheap because technology moves on with leaps and bounds. Big memory opens eyes.
But whatever the capacity, a memory stick, pre-loaded to the gills with promotional material is a ticket direct to the eyeballs of people who might be interested in your company.
We once attended a conference where a major blue-chip company left impressive-looking boxes on delegates' seats during the tea-break. At the end of the day, you could count the abandoned contents of these boxes (branded post-it note dispensers) by the dozen. Of the branded USB sticks left by a smaller, tech-savvy company, there were none left behind at all.
Read into that what you will.