Clothier: Combine print, online to survive

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FMA Communications is the publishing arm of the Rockford, Ill.-based Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International. It has four print publications, including Practical Welding Today and Tube & Pipe Journal, as well as one digital edition and four e-newsletters. This month, Media Business caught up with Kimberly Clothier, FMA's director of circulation.

MB: What's new in the world of circulation?

Clothier: Circulation? I'm waiting for the day that word becomes an antiquated term of the past. Today?and the future?is all about audience development for our core print product, digital magazines, e-newsletters, Web sites, webinars, podcasts, conferences, memberships, electronic decks, research projects, foreign-language editions and the many more ancillary products to come.

MB: So what's the current challenge?

Clothier: To build and manage the database to gather and/or disseminate all of these products without fatiguing the audience. [It's a challenge] understanding the audience's needs and trying to predict needs they don't even realize they have yet. Timing and manner of delivery are crucial, and mean we need to understand how people utilize information. I don't think the power of print has been diminished; it's now part of a total media package. Nobody will succeed with print only or electronic only. I really think they need to work together. I believe print is where it all begins, but it doesn't have the urgency factor or depth electronic products provide.

Print, Web, people?it's a natural process, and all three aspects are needed at the appropriate times. In the early stages of the buying cycle, the Internet is the choice. Our whole b-to-b industry relies on people's needs for continual improvement and education, as well as the need to bring buyers and sellers together. Ultimately, that's what still pays the bills. To survive, we have to maintain the core print product and brand while expanding our breadth of offerings in the nontraditional mediums.

MB: What are your goals now?

Clothier: Simple. [We want to] continue to position ourselves as the indispensable resource for the metal forming and fabricating industries. Should be pretty easy, right? After all, it's just circulation.

?Mark J. Miller

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