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“Think Scholarly, Act Like a Shoemaker”

How’s that for an intriguing title? That was the name of our Executive Director of Clients & Products, Mona Hidayet’s presentation at The Magazine Innovation Center's ACT (Amplify, Clarify and Testify) 8 conference in Oxford, Mississippi. This year's conference was themed "Print Proud, Digital Smart," was led by Mr. Magazine himself, Dr. Samir Husni. The audience comprised thought leaders in publishing, marketing, printing, advertising, and distribution, and Mona encouraged them to look to the Scientific, Technical and Medical (STM) sector for inspiration. She asserted that STM publishers are more effective than non-scholarly publishers when it comes to balancing their print and digital portfolios for three key reasons:

1) Digital Content — STM content is time---not issue---based. Digital content is a separate product, not the same print data in another format. Data is semantically searchable, making data available for purchase by subject, segment or collection and allows for true print and digital bundles. The scholarly structure also makes digital content more easily monetized.

2) Customer Focus — STM publishers don't just view their consumers as customers, they view them as patrons. Their dedication to nurturing relationships with their patrons breeds loyalty, which leads to the third item.

3) Membership — STM membership models are based on authenticity, connection, and value. Members receive meaningful benefits, ensuring long-term relationships.

Mona also spoke about two topics that impact all publishers: technology and customer service. She described how siloed departments result in siloed technologies and how the lack of cohesion can impair the efficacy of the entire company.

Switching gears from the viewpoint of a publishing industry professional to a consumer, Mona described negative customer service interactions she's experienced as a subscriber. She held up Nordstrom as the gold standard for customer service for which we should all strive, regardless of industry. (This is where the shoemaker came in, as John W. Nordstrom got his start in retail co-owning a shoe store.) She then shared some of Nordstrom's strategies that translate to the publishing industry.

Want to think scholarly, too? Watch Mona's entire presentation on YouTube.

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