During the National Educational Computing Conference (NECC), the CB&A team hosted a series of Publishers’ Roundtable discussions. These brainstorming sessions focused on how educational marketers can expand their current marketing efforts and generate a greater return on investment by tapping into the new (and often customized) programs, products and services offered by the market’s leading print/Web publishers.
Linda Winter, president of the Winter Group, moderated six sessions during the conference. Each discussion included representatives from a member of the CB&A client family (CEOs, presidents, and executives from sales, marketing and product development) and representatives from education trade magazine groups (publishers, sales representatives, print editors, online editors, and special event managers).
One of the publications started offering “integrated campaigns” in mid-2008, shortly after the first Publishers’ Roundtable. Here’s a summary of what we learned this year:
- Editors at the leading trade publications are eager for best practices content.
- One editor described his criterion for selecting content to post online: “It’s about covering news and innovations in our industry.”
- Each publication we met with mentioned webinars, virtual meetings, and/or virtual conferences as part of its core offering – in fact, webinars were “the big thing” that was discussed in each of our sessions. One publication representative described an effort to blend online conversations with onsite meetings.
- The impact of the economic downturn was evident, with editors being as painfully aware of it as the sales reps and publishers. One editor summarized the situation this way: “We’re always looking for new ways to secure revenue.”
- Shifts from print to online spending were discussed. One marketing professional said that print is still a part of the marketing campaign, but no longer the primary component.
- One of the magazine groups will be introducing several vertical e-newsletters to groups of 10,000 to 20,000 subscribers at a time.
- Whether they are called “sponsored” or “chaperoned” mailings, lists of e-mail addresses rented from publications are proving to be a success for vendors. Carefully targeted e-mails have high open and click-through rates.
- Print advertising is down across all industry segments, but ed tech vendors who are buying print ads are seeing an increase in response rates. There are fewer advertisers, so it’s easier to stand out in the print issues.
- As we’ve seen in other markets, publications in the education sector are starting to sell on the “guaranteed clicks” model rather than the standard pay-per-click option.
Are you working with the magazine groups in your industry segment as a vendor, or as a strategic partner? What new publication offerings are you seeing? And what’s working for you?
We’d love to hear your tips for successful vendor-magazine relationships.