While you're probably well aware that the creative and DIY industry is constantly growing and changing in numerous ways thanks to the Maker Movement, the good news is that there are just as many ways for your brand to keep up with the changes if you're willing to put in the time and effort. While online research on trends, news, and innovations in your creative industry is a great place to start, there's somewhere else you should be looking for information and valuable connections: networking events like AFCI's Creativation show.
When there are so many other ways to learn more about what's happening in your craft industry, what makes Creativation different and worthwhile? In this post, we'll explain why creative brands should attend Creativation (as either exhibitors or visitors) and what you'll get out of it if you make the trip.
What is Creativation?
The AFCI's Creativation show is the largest and longest running creative industry trade event, now held annually in Pheonix, Arizona. The event is focused primarily on product exhibition by manufacturers big and small, as well as educational programs and networking opportunities for crafters, small businesses, and the brands that serve them. By the numbers, Creativation has a huge reach and impact. Attendance is made up of over 3,000 buyers from 35,000+ storefronts representing a $36 Billion industry. Of those attendees (according to Creativation):
- 65% are interested in paper craft supplies
- 56% are looking for general craft supplies
- 42% represent art material supplies
- 24% represent jewelry and bed supplies
- 24% represent needlecraft, sewing, and textile supplies
Buyers also represent a variety of other craft industries as well, including paint, home decor, framing, holiday and seasonal crafts, furniture, lighting, containers and storage, woodworking, leather and metal working, digital crafts, instructional resources, models, hobbies, collectibles, kits, and kids crafts. Some providers of services for retailers are also present.
5 Reasons to Exhibit at Creativation
Creativation, at its core, provides an opportunity for makers to learn more about products, trends, and advice in their industry and for manufacturers and suppliers to get in front of their target maker audiences with exciting new ideas. From demonstrations to make & take projects to educational talks, Creativation is a platform for your brand's maker-focused voice. When there are so many other ways to reach out to the maker community today, especially online, why is it worth your time to exhibit at the Creativation show?
As long as you have a goal in mind and something worthwhile to say or show off, exhibiting your creative brand at this trade show can lead to a huge return on investment. Here are the top 5 reasons why you should consider exhibiting at Creativation:
- Spread brand awareness: The most direct reason to exhibit at Creativation, regardless of the size of your company, is to increase brand awareness among your target audiences. If you're a startup or a smaller brand, or even just need some more name recognition among end users in the industry, exhibiting at Creativation provides you with a huge audience in need of an introduction. Meanwhile, if your brand is already a big player in your industry, your presence at the event signals to attendees that you care about what they're doing and that you have new and exciting things innovations to share.
- Discover new trends: The educational aspect of Creativation isn't just for attendees! As an exhibitor, you can make the most of your time at the show by taking a peek at what other brands are showing off and gauging what types of products the makes are most interested in. You'll return with a better understanding of what's popular and what your target audiences are looking for in the near future.
- Make personal connections: When you exhibit at a trade show, you have the opportunity to put a friendly, knowledgable face to your brand and products. By representing your company in an authentic way in your booth, you can connect with potential customers on a much more personal level than digital conversations can allow. Just talking to real makers allows you to better understand their challenges, motivations, and goals in a way that can influence further communication or developments down the road, not to mention can leave a lasting, positive impression that makers associate with your brand going forward.
- Promote products in a hands-on way: Having a physical space to showcase your products opens the door to marketing opportunities that neither the internet or retail stores can replicate. In several of our focus groups with today's makers, we've learned that one of the biggest barriers in purchasing for several different industries is the need to try out a tool or a product first--to get the feel of it, see the results, and decide whether it can truly improve an individual's unique creative process. At Creativation, brands can get the most out of their time by providing product demos and small DIY projects that communicate the benefits of their products, new and old, to potential buyers.
- Learn industry insights: The reason creatives attend trade shows is to learn more about what they do and how to achieve their goals. As an exhibitor, there's no reason why you can't do the same. Take advantage of relevant educational programs, share advice with other attendees, and check out new techniques (for crafting or for business) that you might not be able to get anywhere else.
Why Creativation (and Other Creative Trade Shows) Matter
While a trade show is certainly a gathering of passionate, professional people, it's also a gathering of ideas. When you choose to exhibit at Creativation, your brand has the chance to make a big impact on creatives in your target audience. However, even if you choose to attend the conference instead of exhibit, you can bring back a lot of the same information and connections. You might even find it worthwhile to check out other creative trade shows or events in your area or industry--even those niche interactions can lead to future purchasing decisions and loyalty. All things considered, Creativation and other creative trade shows like it are an exciting, memorable way for your brand to reach out to the makers who need you and your products.
To learn more about Creativation or to register for the January 2019 show, visit http://www.creativationshow.org/.