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Why The Greeting Card Association Is Getting Into The Tradeshow Business

By / Aug 13, 2018 (Bala Maniymaran/Flickr)

Looking to make the most of a stabilized market where greeting cards are gaining in popularity again, the Greeting Card Association announced it would launch its own tradeshow in 2019.

With the internet, smartphones, and social media giving consumers a plethora of options to communicate with and stay connected to friends and family, one might think that an industry that relies almost entirely on snail mail is looking for ways to remain relevant.

But, according to the executive director of the Greeting Card Association (GCA), Peter Doherty, CAE, there’s been a shift in the industry in recent years.

“The consumer market has seen a resurgence in the popularity of products that can help consumers to stay connected in a more real, lasting, personalized way,” he said. “Add to that the consumer’s desire for more locally produced, homegrown, and unique products—not to mention the relatively low price points and variety of greeting cards in the market—and you have a period where greeting cards are trendy once again.”

That resurgence, coupled with changes to the timing and price of another long-running tradeshow that GCA thought would adversely affect its members, presented the organization with an opportunity to launch a tradeshow of its own.

“We were concerned that the shift of an important regional tradeshow from May to February would eventually lessen the exposure that the industry as a whole would have in what has in the past been a shrinking market, but one which has also stabilized in recent years,” Doherty said.

GCA’s executive committee voted unanimously to launch the show, which will be accessible to card makers, designers, and publishers of all budgets and sizes.

And GCA has good reason to think this will be the case. According to its May 2018 benchmarking study, 46 percent of card makers, designers, and publishers rated tradeshows as a highly effective selling option.

“[Tradeshows are] one of the best options for making connections with industry retailers, which vary widely from big box and grocery stores to small online stores,” Doherty said. “The willingness to engage like-minded entrepreneurs in this setting is certainly there.”

Ultimately, GCA hopes that this new show, which will take place in May 2019 at the Brooklyn Expo and include networking events and education programs, will become the gold standard for the industry.

The goal is to “offer an alternative to a high-priced show that some were leaving, and to give all companies, large and small, the best chance of showing their latest products, at a favorable time of year, and at an affordable price, and with a minimum of personnel needed onsite,” Doherty said.

Emily Bratcher

Emily Bratcher is a Contributing Editor for Associations Now. More »

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