CHICAGO—Access Intelligence CEO Don Pazour began his speech as the opening keynote for the 2008 Circulation Management Conference and Exhibition here with a warning: Circulators who have been doing the same tasks day after day for the last 15 years might not appreciate his views on the future of audience development. The role of the circulator, said Pazour, is expanding to include a host of new responsibilities, central to which is the idea that audience—not content or commerce—is king.

Pazour ran down a list of e-media “pure play” companies, including Light Reading, Mediabistro and Tech Target, that—unlike magazine publishers—have taken the reins and are “eating our lunch.”

“These companies were able to focus, they took time to develop and they provided multiple revenue streams,” said Pazour, and, therefore, were able to secure superior audiences. This, he stressed, is what audience developers need to do for their companies in order to succeed in today’s rapidly changing environment. “With our intellectual and relationship capital we should be on top and we’re not.”

The need for a larger and more relevant audience, he added, is especially important for the b-to-b space where “flat is the new growth.”

“If you’re not growing, you’re dying,” he said.

Pazour also advised circulators who may not know how to confront their CEOs and get out of the back office to be persistent and find a voice. “If you feel you have a vision, scream to your boss and your boss’ boss,” Pazour said. “And spend time looking at competitive Web sites. Look at what they’re doing and dig deeper.”

While he didn’t entirely elaborate on why audience—as opposed to content—is king, Pazour agreed that audience developers should be at the forefront of the publishing industry.

“It’s the springtime of your careers,” Pazour told the crowd. “The future is wildly exciting and audience is king.”