Serving clients should still be the priority for audience developers

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Kim Bottomley is the director of audience development at the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, which publishes a number of magazines, websites and newsletters. She spoke with Media Business about the association's plans for the new year. Media Business: What's on your plate? Kim Bottomley: We implemented a new corporate relational database in 2012. In addition to our b-to-b publications, we also have an association, education department, foundation, and co-sponsor North America's largest metal forming and fabricating trade show. With all of these entities, having a centralized relational database will help us leverage all of our customer touchpoints. MB: What are you hoping for this year? Bottomley: In our organization, my hope is that we'll start taking advantage of joint marketing efforts across our entities here. I truly believe this will be in the best interest of our audience; it will build a better relationship with them, as well as save us some money. For the industry, I think we'll continue to see the growth of digital products, although I have to say I don't agree with the opinion that print is dead. I think print still plays a role, though that role is ever-shifting. We need to constantly assess what people are doing and how they're doing it so we can shift accordingly. There's no "one-size-fits-all" answer to the print/digital/social media mix and, even if you figure it out today, it'll be different in a few months. The important thing to focus on is the ultimate goal: serving people. How can we help people do what they're trying to accomplish, whether it's learning, earning or entertainment? MB: What are your biggest concerns industrywide on the audience-development front? Bottomley: Actually, I feel pretty good about things. I used to worry that the abundance of email would cause it to go the way of broadcast fax, but I don't worry about that anymore. I think people have accepted their inboxes will be deluged with email. As long as you're being a responsible marketer, they won't mark you as spam or unsubscribe. I do have concerns that we can keep up with technology and get the technical support we need. Partnering with our Web and IT staff is critical to our success.