It used to be that customer service in the United States was legendary. I remember flying on a UK airline with a stellar reputation years ago and being disappointed that they were unable to sit my wife and I next to each other, just because her flight had cost more and she was seated in the “premium economy” seats. This despite the fact that I had flown on that airline across the Atlantic 8 times in 8 weeks and there was plenty of room. When I told the gentleman behind the counter that they had upgraded my seat on the way to the UK from the US, he said “Oh, that’s because you had the American customer service person helping you. We’re horrible over here.” I was speechless. He was admitting that the American customer service agents have the flexibility on this UK airline to make such …
I joined a Facebook group from my childhood town some months ago. One day, a post appeared showing photographs of the wrecking ball tearing down the junior high school I had attended. One of the comments said “So sad.” A reply to this comment said “Progress is good.” What I later found out is that a replacement facility is being planned which will incorporate modern-day building codes and a more post-baby-boom scale appropriate to the demographics of the area.
Part of me experienced nostalgia at that moment. I was reminded of wonderful times in junior high, some good friends I made there, and some great teachers I had. But the other part of me welcomed progress. Building codes have evolved. So has education. So has technology, obviously. So has business, marketing, and content …
With apologies for the ending preposition, let’s think about this question for a moment. I’m personally a member of:
Delta SkyMiles (and about 7 other airline frequent flyer programs)
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
The Society for Scholarly Publishing
Hilton HHonors (and about 5 other hotel loyalty clubs)
My local public library
National Car Rental’s Emerald Club
Best Buy Reward Zone (and many other stores)
My homeowners association
Conservatively, I’m a member of roughly 30 organizations/clubs—not to mention my “membership” in my family, my community, the management team of my company and the human race! If you take the time to list your memberships, it’s likely you’ll find a similar amount.
Why do we join so many …
We have just finished up a season of conferences, summits, and trade shows in the industries we serve – publishing and membership associations. One of the things that sticks out the most for me at these meetings are the stories of how organizations are increasing their revenue. There appears to be no end to the tactics people have employed to multiply revenue by creatively looking for opportunities for repackaging their content, extending their brands, and thinking outside the box about new value propositions. One publisher we know sells design furniture on a website which extends the brand of their design magazine. Now that’s creative thinking. I don’t know many publishers who sell furniture.
Publishers, especially those in the B2B space, have been experts at diversifying …
I am excited to announce that Members Advantage, our new membership offering, is available this August. Consultants, clients, and prospects collaborated with us to produce a top-notch solution, suited for large, complex organizations as well as smaller clubs.
AdvantageCS has long been recognized for excellent publishing software solutions. First developed in the late 1970s for a book publisher, followed by a magazine publisher, Advantage has evolved into a suite of products which manage everything from digital entitlements to subscriptions to ebook sales to conference registrations to continuity series to donations, and on the list goes.
And now we’ve enhanced our membership management capabilities to meet the needs of enthusiast clubs, non-profits, professional associations and …
I will assume that a good number of the readers of this blog are parents, and that you will be painfully familiar with the “work/parenting” balance we strive for in life, which at times seems so elusive. I guess such a balance would be easily attained if both work and parenting would only require part of our energy, the sum of which would equal less than 100%. But it so often feels otherwise. Being a parent of toddlers, teenagers, or twenty-somethings is terribly demanding, though in vastly different ways.
Being a manager in your company is not dissimilar. It is demanding, and if you are doing your job well, it can be terribly demanding. You have many plates to keep spinning, and some of these are urgent and others are not urgent but certainly important. It’s difficult to balance …
Here's a Third Alternative to Consider
Guest post by Daryl Berver, COO of Agora Inc.
Throughout my career heading operations for Agora, I’ve always struggled with the question of centralized versus decentralized applications, and never more-so than in the past year. Which is preferable? More efficient? Traditional knowledge says you centralize for efficiency and decentralize for innovation.
Centralized applications are cheaper for the business if you have different operational units in the company. Most publishing companies are smaller groups within a larger business, and this type of application structure is rather common. Looking at things from a high level economic view, it’s easy to see why. Centralization reduces needless redundancies between applications, saving …
It's the week between Christmas and New Years and I'm reading lists of things that happened in 2015 and will happen in 2016. It's always enjoyable to be reminded of things that happened earlier in the year that we've already either forgotten or filed away into that part of our memory that can't quite remember exactly when it took place. (Like one's last dentist appointment once more than 5 weeks have passed.) What's much more fun, and risky, is to predict things that will happen in the future. It's risky, because the predictor is likely to be proved wrong. It's fun because the expectations are so low for being right!
So here are mine:
Publishing will continue to be unpredictable. I know. It's almost cheating to say this. But there is more truth to it than immediately meets the eye. …
One of our traditional movies to watch around this time of year is the revered "White Christmas" starring Bing Crosby and friends. For those unfamiliar with the story, things begin to go wrong when the nosy housekeeper eavesdrops on a conversation but only hears 1 side of the message. She draws her own conclusions and sets off a string of events which produces the main tension in the storyline. Since it's a movie, it all ends well and they live happily ever after. But the movie has supremely good examples of all kinds of problematic communication:
misunderstanding what the other person said
misunderstanding what the other person didn't say
beating around the bush
talking about two different things and missing one another
and the list goes on …
In October, I had the distinct pleasure of attending the FIPP World Congress in Toronto, Ontario. (FIPP is the Federation of International Periodical Publishers, in case you are not in this space.) This magazine congress is held every two years in a different country, and is attended by hundreds of magazine publishers from around the world.
As one of the sponsors, AdvantageCS had the opportunity to provide a 100-second pitch of our product. This is a brilliant idea on the part of the FIPP team to allow sponsors to explain their product or service but to keep it brief. In fact, these 100-second pitches are placed between major presentations and become a bit of a game, which keeps the audience in their seats.
Most publishers don't like to be "sold to" but the attendees can't resist …