Guest Column: These Are the Best of Times (Really)
These are the best of times. They should be, anyway. Never before have we been able to go beyond our roles as editors, circulation managers, sales representatives or publishers in the way we are able to today.
I’ve read all of the doom and gloom about our industry and the bloggers’ bogus opinions about how the industry is disappearing before our eyes. Maybe they’re talking about magazine publishers (read: dinosaurs). I work in the media industry and publish business-to-business magazines as one aspect of the business, and I tell you now: It is the best of times.
Today, a content manager (was: editor) can send out an e-newsletter and, within hours, view open rates, track Web site-traffic spikes and receive immediate feedback on his or her work. Blogs with RSS, and Twitter and Facebook dissemination of the written word produce immediate reactions from our followers˝—from both readers and industry suppliers alike.
These one-time editors have become technology-savvy users connected in near real time with the market. How cool is that? The circulation managers of the 1980s now manage deep, relational databases that tie print readers to digital-edition readers to e-newsletter opens and Web site visits. Today, our circulation managers not only know how big most of our readers’ businesses are, but they know what they want to buy, how their businesses look from a service-mix standpoint, what their growth rate is, and where their branch offices are—and can access all of it in moments. I hope yours can. “Brand reach” is the new term, and it better be independently audited by a credible source.
Sales representatives have evolved to marketers. We can argue about when that happened, and I’m sure some always were marketers. But I can guarantee that if your business is successful, you have sales representatives who think and act like marketers driving your revenue.