4/13/2018 – President’s Column

We Roared at the Shore!

The 2018 Mid-Atlantic N.A.M.E Conference kicked off the new year in style. The Blockade Runner has long been a favorite for our conferences. Sitting on the water with beautiful views, it is a great place to get away from the office that allows us to clear our minds and think strategically about how to grow our business. Thanks to Ed and Johnna for handling the arrangements, which not only included the hotel, but the meals, snacks, and all the other logistics that no one pays attention to, until they are missing. Well done, Ed and Johnna!

As for the conference itself, it was one great meeting after another. I always judge a session by the Q&A that happens at the end, and in every case, the questions were provocative and engaging.

The subject matter was both varied and relevant. Perennial favorites of the Idea Exchange, Publisher Panel, Advertiser Panel, and Salesperson Panel provided 360 degrees of insights from our important internal and external partners. Pat Taylor shared the diverse portfolio of products that the folks at the Southern Pine Pilot has in place today (Question: does your newspaper get 70% of its revenue from non-core products? If not, you need to talk with Pat!).

Our outside speakers were equally fantastic. Liz Crider from Second Street gave great examples of how to grow your business using promotions. Mike Centorani, Director of Training for Gatehouse, gave one of the best presentations I have ever seen on how a salesperson should do a CNA in a way that actually engages the new prospect in a way that they will want to do business with you. And Mike Martoccia of BH Media brought his presentation on growing your digital business to us, and let’s face it, all our publishers are expecting double digit growth in digital.

You probably recognize the names of the outside speakers from their appearing on LMA programs in places like Austin Texas and San Diego California. Speaking at meetings you would like to attend but can’t due to budget issues. But we had them in conveniently located Wrightsville Beach, at an affordable price. Something you definitely want to point out at budget time when you are asked to justify your participation in our organization.

As Program Chair, I want to say that pulling this together was a team effort of the executive committee. Ky Lindsey, Konrad LaPrade, Sean O’Brien, David Singleton and Jason Propst contributed their ideas and made contacts with the presenters that made this conference the so successful. My sincere thanks to each of them.

The conference always wraps up with the annual banquet, Tearsheet Contest Awards and presentation of the Honorary Life Member award. This award goes to a member who has served and inspired our organization, and our industry. This year’s winner was Ken Warren, who has served in every capacity in Mid-Atlantic N.A.M.E. and continues to serve on the Scholarship Foundation Board.  Ken has always been willing and able to step up and help wherever he could. Congratulations Ken, well deserved!

Looking forward, your board of directors had a lively session that focused on membership growth. During the meetings, we came to the conclusion that each of our press associations put on an annual advertising conference. But none of those association’s ad conferences are as good as ours. At the same time, attendees to the state association advertising conferences are our target market for new members. A task force has been formed, led by Ky Lindsey, to investigate the possibility of partnering with one of these associations for our 2019 meeting so we can boost attendance from these non-members, let them test-drive our conference, and invite them to become members in the 2020 year. We feel this approach has the chance of both reducing the cost of our conference, boosting attendance among prospective members, and building our membership rolls. Stay tuned.

As we wrapped up our conference, I pointed out that the Revenue Tsunami theme was relevant. A tsunami is a large body of water propelled by energy. That body of water is made of individual drops. In our case, the individual drops are the different pieces of knowledge we gained from this year’s conference in the areas of product diversity, sales training, digital products, and promotions. The energy comes from each of you. We will be looking forward to hearing from each of you who took ideas back to your newspapers and grew revenue!

George Coleman
Mid-Atlantic N.A.M.E. President