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Why cheap handouts are a bad idea, and how should you handle this
Anyone who ever attended a conference or exhibition has gotten a free gift or merch bag, usually filled with the traditional notebook, pen, or flash drive, at least once. The quality of these handouts is generally low, which leads to 90% of these bags going straight into the trash can, which is bad for the environment.

Referring to Ibisworld portal data, the Fastcompany portal has reported that advertising handout production profits in the USA are about 24 million dollars, with 2.5% growth over the last five years. This industry employs 26,413 companies and 392,820 workers. The data shows that demand for these promotional products is, if not growing, at least remaining at a high level.

High competition forces companies to reduce product prices and, accordingly, production costs. Most of these handouts are made in China, which is basically characterized by low wages, tax breaks, and weak environmental legislation. Fortunately, this trend may change soon.

According to the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI), the tariffs that USA president Donald Trump levied will lead to prices increasing by 25%. This will be a serious blow to the industry. Some promotional companies are planning to move their production to other cheap labor markets, such as Malaysia, Africa, or Mexico. Others are even considering bringing their factories back to the United States.

Moving factories to the USA will allow industry representatives to change course and present themselves as eco-friendly companies, like many other major brands do now. This will inevitably lead to price increases, which means that clients will start looking for new ways to present themselves and will refine and renew their PR strategies.

Of course, there is a solution to all this. For example, abandon the idea of hundreds of useless flash drives, pens, and notebooks, and stop investing company money in cheap disposable garbage. Content has prevailed over presentation, so now it's more profitable to invest in information and technology.

If you want to create a pleasant image, then bring in a traveling massage room, organize a yoga class, or offer conference guests some exotic food and drinks. Bags filled with handouts can be replaced with a special mobile app where participants can find all the information they need: from a plan of the venue to a list of exhibitors. Moreover, an app like this will allow attendees to set up meetings and communicate with potential customers. These marketing hooks will make a positive impression, and invited guests and partners will remember the event positively for a long time.

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