Monday, July 16, 2012

Gigmark Reinvents the Flash Drive

Based in Knoxville, Tennessee, Gigmark Interactive Media is breathing new life into the humble USB stick. Gigmark's interactive flash drive or IFD turns the familiar storage solution into something more – a marketing platform that allows companies to engage their customers sans paper catalogs. Co-founded by entrepreneurs Parker Frost, Rob Balchunas, and Mark Myers in 2008, Gigmark is evidence that the USB stick is here to stay.

“People are saying the flash drive is dead. The flash drive isn't dead. Millions of these devices are still being sold and used. What we're doing is taking it to the next level,” says Balchunas.

Basically, the Gigmark IFD is a really smart USB stick. The physical device itself can be branded and built to clients' specifications and comes loaded with customized interactive software to present a brand and its objectives through an attractive interface. If a business needs to edit its information, then the IFD will automatically update its contents to reflect the latest version. It also sends user analytics back to its home base, so businesses can see what content is being read and how often to better understand their customers' needs.

Dura-Line, a plastic pipes manufacturer in Knoxville, is one of Gigmark's many clients. Dura-Line's IFD, which looks like the company's colorful piping that's used to protect electrical and fiber-optic cables, allows customers to place and customize orders straight from the device.

The IFD isn't just limited to businesses – artists such as Cody Canada & The Departed have also joined in. The band released its record This is Indian Land with a specially designed IFD that looks like a backstage pass lanyard. The 2GB  “Boarding Pass”, as it is called, contains a full-length digital album, as well as exclusive behind-the-scenes photos and videos and tour information.

In 2011, Gigmark's sales reached $10 million. Who said the flash drive is dead?

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