The Road to 43: Your SIPA Annual 2019 Inside Look

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From now until the 43rd SIPA Annual Conference June 3-5, Wednesday's SIPAlert Daily becomes THE ROAD TO 43. I'll offer takeaways from the speakers and sessions, take a glimpse or two back—it's a good time to dust off the old Hotlines—point out some special events, and have a little fun.


There's strong wind in his sales.

At Politico, where SIPA Annual 2019 keynote Bobby Moran is chief revenue officer, subscriptions account for more than half of their revenues, but advertising brings in the rest. According to a recent article in Digiday, both are growing at a healthy pace, with subscription revenue up by 24% year over year (with a renewal rate north of 90%) and ad revenue up by 17%.

In 2018, Politico secured a seven-figure deal with AARP. The seven-month program focused "on the impact of the 50-and-over voter during the midterms," Moran told Digiday. "It performed incredibly well, but it was a massive undertaking. We want to be able to do that with five, 10, 15 partners next year, but we weren't structured to handle those partnerships in a way that we wanted them to be. That's why we decided to create a team whose sole job is to focus on ensuring we can deliver those types of partnerships at scale."

Politico plans to grow its sales team by 15% to 171 people this year, Moran said. It expanded the sales team by 18% in 2018. Anyone have a sales question? This is the person to ask.


Now we dance.

(No, I'm not talking about March Madness.) One session that I will be catching is Deploying Webinar Attendee Analytics to Drive Marketing and Strategic Decision Making led by Clive Riddle, MCOL president and CEO. MCOL has two models of webinars, one that's free with sponsors underwriting it and one where they charge a registration fee. 

What makes this session destination viewing for me is that MCOL is known for innovation. They have a site called HealthSprocket that's a home for healthcare lists—Top 5 Ways Employers Are Controlling Health Care Costs; 7 Highlights of New Accountable Care Directory 2019; ECRI: 2019 Top 10 Patient Safety Concerns. On HealthShareTV, they post videos with healthcare business interests. "B2B can get lost on YouTube among all the consumer videos," Riddle told me in a profile in the fall. "Here, people can comment on them, rank them, and it becomes content."

But, of course, when I hear Sprockets, I think back to that wonderful Mike Myers, German-talk-show sketch on Saturday Night Live that always ended with "Now is the time on Sprockets when we dance." Hmmm? There's always the opening reception.


Best thing I've seen all week. 

It has to be this picture tweeted by Denise Elliott, recently named CEO of Kiplinger after their sale to Dennis Publishing (congratulations Denise!). She decided to keep at least one long-running tradition going: their St. Patricks Day festivities. That's her in the second-row middle there.

Elliott, a 2017 SIPA Hall of Fame inductee, will co-present a Pre-Conference Workshop on Monday June 3 titled: Extraordinary Examples for Marketing, Product Development and Sales and How to Implement Them Successfully Into Your Publishing House. Her co-presenter will be another CEO, Arno Langbehn of B. Behr's Verlag GmbH & Co. in Hamburg, Germany.

You can always expect actionable information and a little entertainment at Langbehn's sessions. My favorite Arno-ism was the time he showed a video of a middle-aged daughter visiting her father in his kitchen. She asks how the iPad she gave him for Christmas is working out. He said he's thrilled with it and then proceeds to make a salad with guess what as a cutting board—and even placing it in the dishwasher after.

"Meet in the jungle not the zoo," he told us. "You should go see people in their habitat. Know how your customer uses your products." SIPA Annual is a great habitat to see Elliott and Langbehn.


40 years ago... 

The 3rd International Newsletter Association of America conference was held May 20-22, 1979, at the New York Hilton. The previous year's was held at the Capital Hilton, where we are this year. Quoting from Confidential Hotline (June 4, 1979), "major session topics included electronic delivery, additional sources of income, alternative routes to growth, successful renewals and new and better ways of promotion." Wait, what year was that again? 2019? 

There's more. "...We are trying to remain a vital news and information source regardless of the changes in technology, promotion techniques or government regulations," said new NAA president Shirley Alexander of Alexander Reports Corp. in New York. (Did she see GDPR and the new California Consumer Privacy Act coming?) "Tapes" of the conference were also made available.


Just asking.

What was the attendance at that 3rd NAA Conference in 1979?
a. 53
b. 122
c. 260
d. 383

Look for the answer next Wednesday!

Ronn Are you subscribed to the SIPAlert Daily?
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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…