The old stereotype is that association magazines are less-than-equal. Lower quality editorial, half-hearted sales efforts, backwater member benefits.
I’ve believed for some time that that’s not true. Some of the best publishing in the magazine industry is done by association magazines;mainly on the b-to-b side but also in such consumer magazines as AARP the Magazine and others.
To the contrary, association titles have enormous stature in their markets and a variety of editorial tools at their disposal that their commercial brethren don’t have:
ﾕ Access to association-funded research that converts to fresh, high-quality editorial and to market knowledge that can be used in ad sales.
ﾕ Stature in the community that converts to loyalty among readers and suppliers.
ﾕ Membership benefits that mirror the affinity-club model.
ﾕ A membership recruitment process that often produces member
(read: subscriber) information that commercial titles can’t always get.
So the associations have an extraordinary arsenal as they send their publications into battle. It’s up to the individual organizations whether they take advantage.
Now comes one strong indication that they are. Our 2005 circulation salary survey, published in this issue on page 44, reveals an interesting trend: Association circulation executives consistently get paid more than their commercial counterparts. It’s not even close.
Top association CDs make an average of $90,200, compared to $83,200 for consumer circ executives and $73,400 for b-to-b circulators. The same applies as well to circulation managers and to entry-level circulators.
Yes, part of the reason is that these circ professionals may also have member-development duties, but in a way, that’s the point. If we’re really media agnostic, and if we really want to surround our markets with products, we should emulate associations.
Also check out our new Idea Exchange, the concept here is to deliver you a series of quick, actionable ideas for challenges across the business. Some of you may remember Folio: Plus and how valuable it was. This is a new version of that department, updated for the realities of publishing, circa 2006.