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Dan's Blog

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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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    FOLIO: Survey Confirms Membership Associations Lack Systems Collaboration

    Recently, AdvantageCS was invited to present the results of a survey we’d co-sponsored with FOLIO: magazine on the subject of collaboration between departments at membership associations.  The survey was sent to membership associations which have publishing/media concerns.  The results of the survey from about 150 respondents confirmed our suspicions that there is, generally, a lack of communication and collaboration between the membership and publishing/media departments at such organizations.  The respondents were in agreement that this is detrimental to the mission, and that both communication and data sharing are keys to a common goal of success. 

    One of the respondents nailed the problem by describing “a culture of silos.”  Just 14.6% of respondents said that legacy structures in …



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    Customer Partnership

    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 …



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    The Evolution of Content and Marketing Channels

    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 …



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    How Many Groups Are You a Member Of?

    With apologies for the ending preposition, let’s think about this question for a moment. I’m personally a member of:

    Amazon Prime

    Delta SkyMiles (and about 7 other airline frequent flyer programs)

    My church

    Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

    The Society for Scholarly Publishing

    Hilton HHonors (and about 5 other hotel loyalty clubs)

    Costco

    My local public library

    Consumer Reports

    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 …



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    Multiplying Revenue

       

    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 …



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    Introducing Members Advantage

    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 …



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    Dan's Blog: Important vs Urgent: Finding the Balance

    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 …



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    Should You Centralize or Distribute Operations?

    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.

    Makes sense.

    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 …



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