Circulation Survivors: Love It or You'll Leave It

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NEW YORK -- "If you don't love it, you won't be good at it and you won't be doing it long," one circulation professional said of her trade here yesterday at the Yale Club.


Teri Schure, publisher and chief operating officer at World Press Review Magazine, made those comments as part of a panel discussion moderated by Chip Block, vice chairman of the board at USApubs.com, at the Direct Marketing Association Circulation Council's 11th Annual Circulation Survivors luncheon.


Fellow panelists agreed that passion for the job was required to succeed in circulation.


When asked what they liked most about circulation, measurable results was the No. 1 response from panelists.


"The objectivity of direct mail is key," said Edward Fones, president of Fones Consulting. "You can test an idea and know exactly what the consumer response to it is."


Answers varied when Block asked the panel what they disliked about circulation and what challenges the industry faced.


Deede Dickson, vice president of Time Direct Ventures, cited the negative perception of marketing methods on the part of consumers as one big challenge.


Another negative is a lack of recognition, another panelist said.


"We just don't get the glory even though we're more appreciated today than we used to be," said Shawne Burke Pecar, vice president of consumer marketing at PC World.


Pricing is another challenge, Fones said.


"We've educated consumers not to pay a lot for magazines, and now we have to work on changing the value equation," he said.


Block asked panelists what advice they would give to a young circulation professional. Schure stressed having a belief in and knowledge of the product, and Dickson suggested learning the history of the product to understand how it developed. Fones said to take risks, ask for more responsibility and never stop learning.


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