Birding Business July 2013

Publisher’s Note

Lesson Learned

BY RAY DAVID | Editor/Publisher

I have never been involved in the advertising industry, except as an editor and publisher running ads for others. I have, however, run plenty of ads for my own companies and always thought I knew an effective ad from an ineffective one. But perhaps I’ve been too close to the image to see the whole picture.

A case in point is our unsuccessful ‘Untapped Birder’ Conference in Nashville. We ran multiple full page ads promoting it for months in this publication and other trade magazines, plus a full schedule of e-mail newsletters and other mailing pieces. But five months into the promotional campaign and still weeks before the event, I spoke with a number of our readers to gauge the effectiveness of our campaign, and was shocked to discover that even though every person I spoke with confirmed they’d read the issues in which our ads ran, only one out of ten had any idea there was an industry event on the schedule. Nine out of ten who read the magazine did not even notice our ads. Not even a special four page spread!

With a jolt like that, of course, I felt it necessary to explore the reasons, and what I discovered was a real eye-opener. In the first place, every person I asked replied that their primary interest, besides the news and stories, were new products. Retailers in every corner of the country were interested in finding new products to put on their shelves, and new companies they might add to their vendor list. Informational ads, like ours with no product featured, were simply not on their radar.

When it’s boiled down to raw ingredients, an ad must be designed with a clear objective in mind. Overuse of graphics, or too much copy makes it appear busy, suggesting that it would be too much work to find the message. In a different application our ads may have proven very effective, but in this case we’ve learned something we should have already known.

It must be said, though, that those who did read the ads all felt the idea was a good one, and many did send in an application – just not enough to ensure a successful program, so we regretfully pulled the plug. The seminar theory, however, is still very much alive. In September we’ll start a series of webinars devoted to retailers with emphasis on the various ways a store owner can plug into new markets, which can then become new income streams. 

A webinar is simply a seminar that comes to you through your computer screen instead of a hotel conference room. No travel required. Connect to the site at the appropriate time and you’re there. Just takes an hour or so, one evening a week – and you’ll even have the opportunity to e-mail questions to the speaker during the presentation which will be answered on screen before the close of the presentation. Check www.birdingbusiness.com from time to time for updates and a list of dates, speakers and topics.

In this issue...

Hidden Sources of Income

Your Other Mission

Can You Spare a Dime

Path to the Alpha Binoculars

Time for a Bath

2013 - 2014 Buyer's Guide

Outlook on Optics

DEPARTMENTS

Publishers Note

Contributors

Industry News

New Products

Book Reviews

Index of Advertisers

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