PPB June 2022

to be produced and delivered to the customer. “The pulse of business today is totally different,” says Geiger, whose company has been in business for 144 years. “Businesses are smart and adaptable, and no matter what happens, we have to adapt.” Geiger says that right now business is very strong, and his first-quarter sales were better than he’s seen in two years. “Ours is a very durable business, and what we are doing is of great value. So unlike so many other types of media where ads come and go, ours persists. It has a genuine value. I think no matter what, our industry survives. It may suffer some ups and downs, but it will persist.” Even though Geiger is enjoying strong sales now, he recognizes the exhaustive toll the supply chain disruptions are taking on his employees. “It’s not easy to be a salesperson or an employee in a distributorship today, and I’m sure that’s the same with a supplier,” he says. Neaman also sees a bright future for the medium. “Promotional products are very efficient in terms of what they accomplish,” he says. “They’ve proven on a ROI or cost-per-impression basis to be very effective. It’s non-intrusive. It’s B2B as opposed to B2C. People’s savings can erode, but business investment will still go on. Consumer spend may slow up, but business investment will continue.” Riordan thinks that if inflation stops now and levels off, it won’t affect businesses too much. But if it continues, it will affect the industry overall. He’s concerned most with rising interest rates and the possibility of a recession. “But not this year, because demand exceeds supply so much. For the economy to slow down, you’ll need to see a pull back in demand, and I don’t see that out there,” he says. A recession later this year or early next year is a real possibility—and it could prove to be a much bigger issue than inflation. “If you get into a recession, that’s when everyone pulls in their horns,” Geiger says. “Instead of substituting a product to meet a budget, your budget gets slashed or eliminated.” Geiger adds, “The economy to this point has been very buoyant in popping out of the COVID pandemic. But it could turn in three months, six months, next year. Anyone in business is mindful of what can happen, but at the moment we have other fish to fry—secure the goods, deliver them on time and keep customers happy.” Filipski is the former editor and director of publications at PPAI. Rising Inflation | FEATURE | JUNE 2022 | 23