Serving Both Membership and the Industry at Large
Why association publications are well-suited to step in where traditional B2B media falls short.
This is the twelfth in a series of Q&A's with speakers at the Folio: Association Media Summit on May 3rd in Washington, D.C.
While catering to the needs of its many members, the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), based in Washington, D.C., also strives to serve the needs of the broader industry. Using its flagship Electrical Contractor (EC) magazine and other emerging media tools, NECA is working to solidify its well-established spot as a leading industry voice, says John Maisel, EC publisher.
Having served as EC publisher for 14 years of his 35-year-career in B2B publishing roles with McGraw-Hill, Cahners, and others, Maisel is uniquely well-positioned to talk about the challenges involved in defining an association’s communication mission.
Below, enjoy a preview of some of the insights Maisel will share when he serves on the panel, “Defining Your Mission: Member Benefit or Industry Voice?” at the Folio: Association Media Summit on May 3rd in Washington D.C.
Folio: How would you characterize NECA’s communications mission?
John Maisel: Editorially, the mission is to provide a broad menu of award-winning content that addresses the varied and changing informational needs of our audience, and deliver that content cross a broad venue (print; various digital media, web, apps, e-newsletters, social media, video, webinars, etc.). Audience engagement is routinely measured and monitored for new opportunities.
Folio: How does EC fit into that?
Maisel: EC is a bit unusual in that NECA's charter directs it to reach, with its media offerings, every known contractor, regardless of association membership. That results in greater than 90% market coverage.
It has also become the leading industry provider of formal market research. In development is proprietary, monetized research for the advertiser base as a new and potentially lucrative venture.
And, while EC serves as a strong advocate for NECA policies and events, content is primarily directed to the overall market.
Folio: Where does the magazine stand in terms of reach?
Maisel: EC has never been in a stronger position of industry dominance versus any of its non-association competitors. Depending on various measured sub-segments of the industry, share of market and overall voice is between 50 and 75%. We are number one in every measurable media area, from advertising to readership to market coverage and more. Our competitive position is to dominate—head-on. We are the voice and information fount of the $130 billion electrical construction industry.
Folio: How do you see association media evolving?
Maisel: I firmly believe that with all that’s going on in the publishing business (print, digital, VR, etc.) most associations have a tremendous opportunity to grow their share of voice over the next several years in whatever channel they operate. With many of the traditional B2B "big guys" in a severe state of disruption and confusion as to direction, etc., associations are in a unique position to offer leadership, direction, stability, and dominance in their respective spaces.