Allured advice on approaching associations

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Laura Wieringa is the circulation manager for Allured Publishing, which produces five trade titles, including Cosmetics & Toiletries, Skin Inc. and Perfumer & Flavorist.

MB: What's your biggest issue right now?

Wieringa: The declining size of the markets we serve. Companies keep buying each other out, so the number of subscribers is going down.

MB: Any idea what you're going to do?

Wieringa: We're in the figuring-out stage, but we're looking into partnering with associations, taking part in different trade shows and maybe expanding the content of our magazines so they'll expand our potential subscriber base.

MB: Are there any difficulties in working with associations?

Wieringa: The trick is that you have to have something valuable to offer them. The best way to go about it is to develop a relationship with them first. Don't go in and say, "Hey, we want to meet your members." First go in and say, "We know you're starting an association or your association is growing, here's space on our Web site, here's space in our magazine. If you're interested maybe you could help us out, too."

Try to help them first before you ask for help. It really should be a partnership.

MB: What else is peculiar about associations?

Wieringa: Now that some associations have very strict bylaws about their membership lists, no matter how nice you are or how much they like you, they can't help you. You just have to live with that.

-Mark J. Miller

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