Dan's Blog

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    Integrity in Business Decisions

    Back in the 1990s, I worked in technology sales and service in a developing country. The Requests for Proposals we received for technology needs (hardware, software, networks, training, support) went to a number of competing companies, one of which was owned by a powerful political regime in the country at the time. Upon submitting our bids, we were regularly dismayed at how this competitor could underbid us, given that we were dealing with tiny margins. It turned out that this competitor did not have to pay import duties on any imported hardware due to their political connections. They also paid a mole inside our company to send them a copy of our bids before they were submitted.

    When we discovered the first problem, i.e. that we had to pay import duties and they didn’t, we realized …



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    Unsettling Times

    Unsettling times. On so many levels.

    The last year has been a challenging one for millions of people. If we look at broad strokes, bigotry, racism, poverty, violence, and hatred all raised their ugly heads at points during the year in the US and abroad. Across the Americas we witnessed oppressive regimes cracking down on their opponents violently and fatally. Radical, extremist groups killed and wounded across the globe in various attacks. Greed flourished. Power dictated. Scandal abounded. It has been a year that proved that humans can really be horrible to one another.

    A bit closer to home, many of us experienced the difficulties of our human condition: friends and relatives were diagnosed with terminal illnesses, addictions were revealed, mental illness identified, and loved ones …



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    7 Steps to Guaranteed Failure When Shopping for a Major Software Application

    Over the decades, we have heard horror stories of organizations who have chosen the wrong system or application to accomplish some major task (sales order processing, subscription management, CRM, membership management, etc.), so we’ve honed a list of the steps, which, when strung together, can guarantee failure. That is, the wrong system will be chosen, which will cost your organization lots of money and years of wasted time. Now, it is possible that failure will occur by simply executing any of the 7 failure steps! So, if it’s failure you’re chasing after, you could be closer to it than you think.

    1. Make sure you are unclear about your requirements, so you can’t communicate them to the software vendor. After all, if you’re clear, you might slip in your communications and let the …



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    R & D Review

    R & D activity in 2018 has been lively, to say the least. Here is an update.

    Integration with Salesforce and Dynamics: We recently tightened the integration between Advantage and these applications. Many of our prospects and clients use one of these CRM applications to manage sales leads and want a seamless integration between said package and Advantage.

    For example, a user in Salesforce or Dynamics might want to enter a quote and have that result in a quote in Advantage. At the same time, they may wish to view information in Salesforce or Dynamics about orders taken or payments made in Advantage. They may also wish to view information managed in Advantage which is not in the CRM application, such as information about an existing subscription agreement.

    Current technology allows a …



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    Conference and Trade Show Highlights

    I just returned from my 3rd conference/trade show in 4 weeks. Others on my team attended 3 more that  during this same time. June is the busiest month of the year for conferences & trade shows---by far!

    Two of the trade shows I attended were focused on membership associations: AMS Fest in Chicago and Society Street in London. As a showcase company at AMS Fest (AMS = Association Management System), we were given 2 opportunities to demonstrate our software to membership organizations shopping for an AMS. This is a great event---well-organized, effective, and informative. One of my favorite sessions was one where 3 experts from different consulting firms sat on a panel and fielded questions about how to implement a new AMS. They have decades of wisdom among them and can help a membership …



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    Some Themes from Digital Innovator’s Summit in Berlin

    Philippe van Mastrigt and I recently attended Digital Innovator’s Summit, the 2-day event run by FIPP and VDZ in Berlin each March. AdvantageCS exhibited at and sponsored this event.

    The audience at this conference is strongly German and Nordic, with a number of AdvantageCS clients attending and speaking (A-Lehdet, Aller Media, Bonnier, and Egmont).

    Trends that were mentioned in 2017, such as a shift from social network and ad models to subscription and reader revenue, were confirmed by a number of the speakers. “We are at the end of the beginning of a new age” was mentioned in the introductory remarks.

    Facebook was dragged through the mud a number of times in the wake of their data scandal with Cambridge Analytica. It is clear that Facebook will not save media companies, but work …



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    CMO Roundtable – an Excellent Opportunity to Share Challenges and Successes

    Earlier this month, AdvantageCS hosted a CMO Roundtable for our clients in sunny Orlando, Florida. The 11 marketing executives who participated represented different kinds of organizations – B2B and B2C publishers of magazines and newsletters, an academic journals publisher, 2 scholarly membership organizations with their flagship publications, and 2 special interest publishers of religious books and curricula:

    Daryl Berver, Chief Operating officer, The AgoraGrace Epperson, Vice President of Marketing Intelligence, The AgoraElizabeth Solaro, Director of Marketing, American Medical Association Jennifer Mosley, Group Director, Audience Development, Crain Communications Bonnie Roche, Managing Director – Audience, Marketing, Product, Crain Communications Cason Lynley, Director of Marketing …



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    Five Lessons from 2017

    2017 was a year.

    I know…that seems obvious. But 2017 was loaded with the good, the bad, and some lessons learned from it all. Here are 5 that jumped out at me as we finish up 2017:

    1. Publishers are moving into membership modelsSome years ago, we had a publishing client who published books and magazines around various special interests. But you couldn’t “subscribe” to the products; you had to be a “member” to get them. Their belief was that a “member” was more loyal than a “subscriber.” Given the interest areas they served (hunting and fishing and the like) I suspect that their low attrition rates were also due to the passion of their readers, rather than exclusively due to a clever marketing ploy around the word “member.” But lo and behold, Meredith (who is in the process of buying …



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    An annual tradition in publishing: the Frankfurt Book Fair

    Every year, for the past 14, we have attended the Frankfurt Book Fair, which takes place in October in Frankfurt, Germany. If you’ve never attended the “Frankfurter Buchmesse,” it is difficult to paint a picture of just how gigantic this event is. This is the largest trade fair for books in the world. http://www.book-fair.com/en/

    It has been an annual event going back over 500 years to 1454, soon after Gutenberg invented the printing press, when the first book fair was held by local booksellers. It has evolved into the event for negotiating international publishing rights and license fees, and is surrounded by technology companies and other vendors to the industry who are able to do business with many publishers, authors, librarians, and agents in a short span of time.

    AdvantageCS …



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    SFG – AdvantageCS Partnership – Who Wants to Outsource?

    In May, we announced a new partnership between AdvantageCS and SFG (see press release here).  SFG is a service and technology company located in Big Sandy, Texas, with decades of experience serving organizations in such areas as order processing, fulfillment, call center, payment processing, and lettershop services.  We at AdvantageCS have been seeing a growing trend over the last 10 years: publishers want to outsource some or all of these functions.  Many prospects have already outsourced them and come to a software supplier like us expecting that we will provide the software platform and we have partners that will handle the rest. 

    Prior to this partnership, publishers had few choices if they wanted to outsource these functions but stay on Advantage.  There are a number of service …



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