Yesterday the Photo Marketing Association International announced their new moniker as CliQ. If you have attended one of their tradeshows in the past few years, you knew this was way overdue. Once upon a time, the PMA show was the big kid on the block, second only perhaps to Photokina. Pretty much every major player was there including all the usual suspects, Kodak, Fuji, Canon, Nikon, Noritsu, Ilford, etc. But over the years, the crowds started to dwindle as the booths grew smaller and the number of photo-related companies started to dwindle.
As a yearly attendee, I also noticed that most of the companies that did show up were more interested in selling to the Walgreens and Wal-Marts of the world rather than showing their wares to the actual consumers (see my previous post from 2008). In fact, some companies didn’t even have a booth, just a tradeshow meeting room. So what’s new this year? Well, it seems that PMA discovered that it’s no use helping companies sell their wares without any buzz from actual consumers.
The actual number of photographers has grown exponentially over the past few years thanks to the digital revolution. So while many of the big companies have vanished from the scene, there are more consumers in the photography marketplace than ever before. This means that companies need to be focusing more on getting their products noticed. And how do you do that? Simple, reinvent yourself as a show for photographers and then plan on being in Las Vegas at the same time as Photoshop World.
Then throw in some classes, workshops, and featured speakers such as Jasmine Star and Scott Bourne to really kick up the buzz factor. It’s probably no coincidence that Jasmine is one of the most popular photographers around and Scott brings the power of some 80,000 Twitter followers to the party.
I’m not sure if all of this will work but it’s nice to see that someone at PMA actually is getting the fact that it should be about the photographers and not so much about the suits. The new website says that the there will be even more information and resources available in the months to come.