Cindy Twiss

Trade Show Takeaways

Spring is perhaps the biggest trade show season of the year. There are so many that you can’t go to them all and often there are more than one on the same date. Here are some of the events our people attended recently.


Our own Dan Heffernan was one of the featured speakers at ACT 9 at the Magazine Innovation Center at The University of Mississippi (Oxford, MS) recently where the theme was "Print Smart. Digital Proud." Dan's talk was titled "It's All About the Data" and he shared some experiences and ideas of how publishers from other sectors, such as newspapers, use data to drive their business growth. ACT 9 brings together magazine publishing industry leaders and journalism students which makes for energetic sessions and networking. AdvantageCS is a sponsor of this annual meeting.


The 2019 Congress was in New York at the Times Center, adjacent to The New York Times office. INMA gathers major daily newspaper publishers from around the world. The congress was preceded by a three-day tour, visiting some of the large American publishers in the city. Dan Heffernan and Philippe van Mastrigt represented AdvantageCS at our booth, and met and spoke with publishers and consultants from The Netherlands, South Africa, France and Uruguay, among others. Xavier van Leeuwe (from our client TMG/Mediahuis and the keynote speaker at our upcoming European Advantage User Meeting in Lisbon) was there with Matt Lindsay and Matthijs van de Peppel, his two co-authors of their 2017 book The Relationship Economy.

The congress addressed a wide variety of topics. Speakers shared media trends such as the growing dominance of mobile in a consumer’s day, the prevalence of adblockers (23% overall but 41% among the young), how one-third of households in the US do not pay for cable or satellite television and streaming videos is the dominant choice. The importance of quality of journalism was stressed in this era of fake news and loss of trust in media and social networks. Podcasts were a popular topic during the two days, especially finding the right business model to support them. And of course, publishers’ relationships with Google and Facebook were a part of nearly every conversation, with a focus on how to reduce dependency on them through increasing reader revenue.


Mona Hidayet took to the stage when she interviewed Jamie Martin, the EIC of Experience Life magazine at the 2019 IMAG conference in Charleston, SC. Over the two days, speakers from the likes of Garden and Gun, Trusted Media Brands and Bonnier shared advice and success stories. Privacy and security were once again hot topics and how publishers are responding to both GDPR and CCPA was paramount. IMAG is a forum for independent magazine publishers to share challenges and successes, and the group is small enough that the speakers are happy to talk about their lessons learned.


We attended the Media Growth Summit in Rosemont, IL for the first time, with Mona Hidayet representing AdvantageCS. The summit was attended by medium to large B2B publishers, such as Bobit, Crain, BNP and Northstar Travel Media. Those on stage shared what is new and trending in their businesses. Events are big and an expanding area of many businesses. For example, in 2009, 70% of Northstar’s revenue was from print. Today, 40% of their revenue comes from events.

The work environment was another popular topic. Several years ago, BNP initiated a policy of not requiring standard business hours and allowing employees to take vacation days as needed, and not keeping track. These moves have been working really well for their 500+ employees. The flexible model is designed to appeal to younger generations and is touted as treating everyone like “adults.” The other publishers are also making strides in adopting flexible schedules.

And no publishing conference can ignore discussing how to approach and manage digital and how to create meaningful content and get it to the right audience.

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