Tyson Associates is a 24-year-old Connecticut based circulation outsource management and direct marketing firm whose clients include consumer and business publications — both paid and controlled circulation.

Elaine is a guest lecturer at the Columbia Publishing Course, a seminar leader and frequent speaker at trade functions. She is a member of the Kable Client Advisory Board and has more than 40 years experience in the publishing business.

Q: What do you think was the most significant development for circulation professionals in 2005?
A: Although not confined to 2005, the Internet continues to make our lives more complicated. You have to manage a lot more things as a marketer now. Most circulators are responsible for web sites, e-mail, e-newsletters and digital editions. It all competes for your time and circulation departments aren’t getting any bigger. Then, of course, you need to think about how to take advantage of the opportunities the Internet offers as well as figure out if there are better ways to increase income from the company’s web site.

Q: What was the biggest obstacle for publishers in 2005?

A: It’s difficult to pick just one but I’d have to say the changes in audit bureau regulations had a major effect on circulation practices as did the disqualification by ABC’s Board of Directors of paid circulation from the EBSCO Consumer Magazine Services and InFlight agent programs. This resulted in quite a few missed rate bases and a lot of scrambling. Then, there’s the competition for newsstand space that is just enormously frustrating for publishers.

Q: Finish this statement – in 2006, publishing professionals will have to…in order to generate sustainable revenues?

A: There are a couple of things I think publishers need to look at carefully in the circulation area. First, we need to concentrate our circulation acquisition programs on renewable sources such as direct mail, insert cards, trade shows, our own web sites and avoid less renewable (and therefore less desirable) agent sources. The over reliance on less renewable sources rather than dealing with rate base issues forthrightly has had a negative effect on circulation economics. Publishers make their money in circulation on renewals. Second, we have to learn to manage print and digital products together to avoid competition with ourselves and to maximize sustainable revenue. We need to keep in mind that the people who read our print magazines may not be the same people who use our web sites. We may need to offer them different content, different products and different services to increase and sustain income.

Q: If you weren’t working in publishing, what profession would you most likely enjoy?

A: I enjoy teaching and do a fair amount of it. I worry that new people in the industry don’t get much training anymore and I think that’s a shame. The best way to learn is by working with experienced people who can explain how to do things correctly and share the history of the magazine publishing business at the same time. I’ve also been an antiques collector for many years so I might enjoy buying and selling antiques. I love history and seem to be most comfortable surrounded by other people’s lives and memories.