Practicing what I preach
Last month in this editorial, I addressed the semiconductor industry segment of our readership about the importance of embracing aggressive “value-selling” principles in their marketing and sales strategies if they are to maintain their pace of technological advancement. This month, I think I will take a bit of my own advice.
The trade publishing industry is no different from any other in terms of the business challenges presented by cheaper, alternative suppliers. In fact, many of the same contamination-control companies that complain mightily about losing business to cut-rate/lower-quality competitors are the first to adopt a totally price-centric approach when it comes to their own marketing-expenditure decisions. And why not, if they aren’t clearly made aware of the substantial differences in value between alternative products?
For example, our Business Press Association (BPA) circulation reports clearly document the number, job level, and purchasing power of our readers. The cost to maintain and report the data needed to annually qualify for this auditing service is substantial. Yet, if our customers aren’t aware of what a BPA-audited publication is, or what it proves, then it will make little difference to them that we are the only contamination-control publication that has it.
Likewise, it may not always be recognized that CleanRooms is the only contamination-control publication with monthly staff-researched and reported feature articles and news stories. Again, there is a cost associated with this, but one we feel is justified if we are to properly serve our readership and the multiple industries we cover. Again, however, if our customers don’t recognize this distinction in their comparative evaluations, they will underestimate the value of the product.
As the Editor of the publication, I am responsible for maintaining a clear demarcation of church and state when it comes to “selling” this product to advertisers or potential advertisers. However, no such demarcation exists when it comes to my selling it to you, the reader. And guess what? It is our connection to you, our readers, that we sell to advertisers.
So, let me be clear. I am absolutely certain that CleanRooms magazine is by far the best available source of critical and practical information for the broad universe of contamination-control professionals who need it. The ongoing investment required to maintain this level of quality and value is not insignificant, however, and the business graveyard is rife with great products that lost out to inferior/cheaper offerings.
I’m therefore asking for your help in making the case. It can be as simple as sending me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to say, “Yes, I do see a difference in the value and utility of CleanRooms over other offerings in the contamination control field,” or “No, I couldn’t care less which magazine I get. You’re all the same.” And, as usual, I always want to hear how we can do a better job, regardless of your current opinion. If you do indeed see and appreciate a difference in your professional magazines, this few minutes of your time will help me ensure that you will continue to see it and, in fact, make it even more apparent as we go forward.