Since early in January, we have been on a mission to determine the best way for PMA to move forward into the future. Our goal has been to recapture the vitality of PMA, and its ability to fulfill the changing needs of the photography industry. With that goal in mind, we have sought input and direction from hundreds of industry members, gathering insight into their business challenges and how PMA can help address them.
With the impassioned support of so many, and in conjunction with a very motivated staff and Executive Committee, we have conducted interviews, scheduled in-person visits and made phone calls. We have attended conferences all over the world; we have surveyed the industry; and we have gathered leading representatives from across the imaging spectrum for a two-day strategic retreat, held last month in Virginia.
All these efforts have provided us with a wealth of information. After carefully analyzing it all, together with the Executive Committee and staff, we have determined four key pillars that will be the cornerstones on which we will build the new PMA. We are delighted to say the PMA Executive Committee voted unanimously, on May 13, 2015, to move forward with this strategic direction.
• Empower businesses to effectively serve and sell to the consumer
We will provide tools and resources to help you build your business, and to increase consumer enthusiasm for photography products, services and equipment. Our goal is to create a better and more direct connection between consumers and service providers.
The first example of this effort is already well underway – it is our National Photo Month website, at www.natlphotomonth.org. This site offers a constantly expanding menu of photography tips and inspiration for consumers, as well as business tools and ready-made marketing materials for our members, to take full advantage of the excitement around National Photo Month. It’s also home to the first in our new series of photo contests. Prizes, awarded at both the professional and the hobbyist level, are worth up to $3,000 in each category. This site has tips and resources that can be used by PMA members internationally, even though its current focus is the U.S. National Photo Month event. After May, the site will transition to a permanent consumer-facing site, Celebratephotos.com, to keep the excitement growing worldwide on an ongoing basis.
• Evangelize, advocate and promote overall industry interests
PMA will advocate on behalf on the industry to encourage positive press and government action in favor of photography businesses, developing an outreach strategy for educating and informing federal agencies about the real consumer benefits that flow directly from local businesses. We are already working in this arena, with the help of Don Kennedy from our U.K. office, on preventing the passage of legislation that would allow “selfies” to be used as passport photos. Similar legislation has been proposed in the U.S. and other countries.
• Provide knowledge and expertise, so the photography businesses can grow and thrive
PMA is poised to become the “go-to” resource for any and all photo industry related information. To accomplish this, we are implementing a new, online “knowledge hub” that will offer not only all the valuable content you’re used to finding in PMA Newsline, PMA Magazine, and on the PMA Podcast, but also analyst insights, resources and tools for your business, trend data, and marketing research information and reports from leading industry research firms, and more.
In addition, we are launching a new PMA website that will allow you to connect with the PMA communities you are most interested in. Here you will be able to interact with your colleagues across the entire spectrum of the imaging industry, and in any segment that interests you.
The greatest opportunity for learning and interaction will always be in-person events. PMA is currently planning the first of our next-generation photo business and technology summits, which will take place this fall in California.
• Create, support and promote industry-related guidelines and conventions
PMA will develop common conventions and guidelines that allow open APIs, standards and “future proof” interoperability to remove the barriers to greater consumer action around photo products and services.
In addition, PMA is further developing certification programs and best practice guidelines, as well as a ”train the trainer” program to help you and your staff become an education source for consumers. These will provide significant points of differentiation from your competitors, help you create greater passion for photography in your community, and give your business the edge it needs to grow to higher and higher levels of success.
As you can see, with these initiatives now in place, your PMA staff is already hard at work developing practical tools, resources and events to deliver on the promise they hold. We will continue to expand on these initial objectives as the needs of our members evolve.
We are so excited for the future, and we thank you for your enduring support.
Georgia McCabe & Gaby Mullinax
PMA CEO PMA President