Cultivating industry partnerships
The healthcare field has more than 150 publications focusing on specialty, subspecialty and other industry-specific topics. While EverGreen is the first and only focused on green procurement and sustainable environmental practices, we still needed to convince potential subscribers — healthcare executives, hospital decision makers, clinicians and supply chain management professionals — of its value proposition, lest it be regarded as just another magazine.
As we prepared to launch EverGreen, we knew that to stand out in this already crowded sector, we had to develop collaborative partnerships with organizations aligned with our target readership. Establishing these relationships would not only help EverGreen build its brand image, but create loyalty among the organizations' members.
Two of the most influential organizations for potential subscribers are Health Care Without Harm and Practice Greenhealth. After pitching their senior leadership on the value of EverGreen, we worked in tandem to launch the new magazine at CleanMed 2008. This environmental conference is the foremost gathering of healthcare executives and provided the perfect venue for the launch.
As part of our partnership agreement, each organization provided access to their member lists, as well as the non-member conference attendee lists from the previous year. We were also given permission to market to the conference's exhibitors. For additional exposure, and to tie the magazine to the conference, a copy was placed into each attendee tote bag, with additional copies distributed at registration. We also co-branded our e-mail marketing campaigns with the conference logo, which further promoted the connection between EverGreen and CleanMed 2008.
In turn, we provided editorial space for a feature article written by a staff member of Health Care Without Harm, and created a program insert for Practice Greenhealth's annual Environmental Excellence Awards. We also placed representatives from both organizations on the magazine's Editorial Advisory Board.
The result of the CleanMed partnership was overwhelming. More than 50% of conference attendees have already subscribed, and we receive enthusiastic e-mails every day from interested subscribers who received a pass along copy.
Now, EverGreen is using a similar approach for an international launch in late June: the magazine established a partnership with Informa Australia, a conference management company, to support its upcoming Green Hospitals conference in Brisbane. To promote our partnership, EverGreen is providing a special discounted rate to all conference attendees who submit their subscription requests on-site. The magazine is also inserted into the attendee packets. We've also expanded our partnership with Health Care Without Harm by naming the executive director as a keynote speaker for the Green Hospitals conference.
For publications looking to explore industry partnerships, the information is just a mouse click away. The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) is the professional membership organization for association executives. The organization's Gateway to Associations (http://www.asaecenter.org) provides information on member organizations, and is a great place to search for organizations that are aligned with your readership. For example, keying in the word “technology” returned 261 organizations.
Industry partnerships are an important marketing channel for magazines to extend their brand awareness and leverage loyalty. In turn, the partnerships also expand the mission of the professional membership. Together, it's a win-win.
Debra Lynn Ross is the director of corporate communications for Consorta, Inc. and managing editor of EverGreen. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.