AM&P Launches Comprehensive Association Publishing Benchmark Study

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Association Media & Publishing has announced a comprehensive new association publishing benchmarking study, the most significant study of its kind in more than a decade. The survey goes live September 5, 2017, with AM&P association members and selected association non-members each receiving an email invite to participate with a survey link unique to their organization. The survey field closes September 29, 2017.

Thorough instructions for completing the user-friendly survey explain that, although the survey is limited to one submission per organization, the comprehensive nature of the information being sought may necessitate multiple publishing team members’ collaboration on the responses. Significant investment was made in the survey programming to allow participants to work on the survey, stop, and come back to it where they left off, as needed. All associations completing and returning the survey by the deadline will have access to the study’s executive summary, raw data, and analysis in November. The study will eventually be available for purchase by non-participating organizations, non-members, vendors, and service providers.

At the 2017 Annual Meeting in June, an overview of the AM&P 2017 Association Publishing Benchmark Study was given by keynote speaker Lou Ann Sabatier, principal of Sabatier Consulting, whose firm is conducting the research and analysis of the results. As part of her presentation, “Harness the Power: Building a Data-Driven Association,” Sabatier also led a discussion on how progressive association publishers are using their data, which featured panelists Randy Nanna, publisher, Physics Today, American Institute of Physics; Erin Pressley, vice president, publishing, NACS, The Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing; F. Duncan Lewis, director of new business development, Sheridan; and Jim Meyers, CEO, Imagination.

“Associations are sitting on a mountain of data. Greater understanding of that data can drive growth in membership, member engagement, and revenue — both dues and non-dues,” says Sabatier. “Business intelligence can make publishing professionals aware of market changes on a more timely basis, which enables associations to respond more quickly to member needs.”

Analytics, she emphasizes, are no longer just nice to have — they should guide association publishers in all aspects of content creation. The AM&P study covers basic information about the association, information about their flagship publication (print and digital), a section on revenue and expenses, and finally, a section on the future and best decisions they’ve made, including how they plan to keep a positive momentum.

“For the AM&P study, we will analyze the study results with cross-tabs where we look at different pieces of data and what they mean when looked at collectively,” Sabatier says. “The interpretation of the data provides members with the ‘so what?’ answers that this industry needs right now. It’s important for members to learn if they are ahead of the curve in certain areas, or maybe they see that 80 percent of members are engaged in some activity and they can ask themselves, ‘Why is that?’”

“I am particularly excited about this study because I know AM&P members really need the information,” says Carla Kalogeridis, publisher and editorial director of AM&P. “I get so many requests from members looking to benchmark against what others are doing in the association publishing field in various categories — like print versus digital or outsourcing versus in-house — and most of the time, I have to give them my gut feel or anecdotal information. Now, we will have the latest, most extensive data on current association publishing activities as well as an insight into future plans and developing trends. It’s extremely exciting and much-needed information for our industry.

“This is for AM&P — this is AM&P investing in the members,” Kalogeridis adds. “It’s a window into our future programming and how we can be more resourceful.”

The study is made possible with generous sponsorship dollars from Sheridan, Imagination, and Network Media Partners.

“A study like this helps members look holistically at their operation, including how they’re allocating their budget,” Sabatier says.

Special Thanks to the AM&P 2017 Association Publishing Benchmark Study Sponsors

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