The Demise of Seventeen Magazine, Print Edition

The THUD factor. That’s what I remember most about the always-anticipated Seventeen magazine back-to-school issue when I was in high school. There was no clothes shopping for me until I had time to devour that issue and read about the latest fashion ideas.

17 back to school issue

Thick, glossy pages, were full of so much critical information for a high school girl to absorb. I can remember tall boots, suede jackets with elbow patches, knee length skirts. I think much is in similar style today!

Of all the print magazines that have disappeared from the newsstands, this one was the stiletto to my heart. Seventeen was such a big part of my formative years. It is perhaps one reason why I remain a magazine junkie today, why my entire career has been working in magazines and media.

According to Folio, Seventeen will live on mainly in a digital format. Sorry, but that isn’t as visceral or sexy as opening the gate-fold covers, folding down and flagging pages to re-visit, ripping out pages to take to the store to copy, stacking them along my wall to read again and again.

I know. We didn’t have 24-hour access to shopping, Instagram influencers, the latest fashions, and ability to purchase from around the world. But some of that anticipation, the imagination, the memories might also be missing from the experience.

What are some magazines/TV shows that influenced your high school years that have vanished from the media landscape today?

The journey continues.


P.S.  On the tail of posting this, news came out that Glamour was also ceasing print.  Wow.

How Adopting a Dog Reaffirmed the Importance of Networking


This is a story about your network’s value and considering new options.

Scout1We recently spent several months looking for a new Australian shepherd (aka. Aussie) to adopt. We scoured websites, slowly got re- approved by a rescue group we had previously adopted from, went to see available puppies, and put ourselves on waiting lists. Frustrating, for a family who has owned 4 Aussies already.

We also told EVERYONE we knew that we were searching for a new Aussie. Our goal was to adopt a young adult female, any color.

One night I got an unexpected call from our daughter’s boyfriend, in grad school at U. of Kentucky. A friend of a friend was looking to “re-home” her 5 year old Aussie.   Her lifestyle had changed, and she didn’t have time to give him proper attention. (Australian shepherds are very active dogs who want to be with their people 150% of their days. “Velcro” dogs, they are called for a reason).

Hmmm…older than we wanted, a male, about 20 lb heavier than our previous dogs, but he sure looked cute in the pictures we saw…. So, we “met” Scout by Facetiming with his owner. She told us his positive attributes and warned us of his separation anxiety.

We decided to take a chance and adopt this dog we had not yet met. He made his long trek from TN to KY to IN where we picked him up to our home in IL.

What a gem! Scout seemed at home after 2 days, using his bed only when one of the kids wouldn’tScout dog park share theirs. One month later he feels as if he as always been our dog. This gentle creature is spoiled with love, walked daily, smart, affectionate, and his separation anxiety is slowly dissipating.

At first, it seems so random that we re-homed this dog that lived almost 200 miles away through a 3rd person link. But it was a lesson to me in the importance of using my network. You never know where your next connection might come from.

Scout didn’t fit the profile of the dogs we had before. But that’s the thing about expectations. Change them, and you open yourself up to opportunities you did not know existed.

The journey continues.


CAN-SPAM Act Refresher

Though the CAN-SPAM Act has been in effect since 2003, I have had several different firms in the last 6 months want to use purchased email lists—some of them compiled–with no knowledge of CAN-SPAM laws. It’s time for a quick refresher.

Each violation of the CAN-SPAM Act can result in up to a $16,000 fine, so a basic knowledge of this Act is imperative if you are an email marketer. The CAN-SPAM Act impacts commercial emails that are sent to email addresses in the USA. Other countries have specific email marketing laws, including the super-restrictive Canadian CASL laws.

The CAN-SPAM Act identifies two types of commercial email content that it covers:

  1. Transactional content –an email about a current or already agreed-upon transaction.
  2. Commercial content- which advertises or promotes a commercial product, service or website.

Some of the basics of the CAN-SPAM Act, which established requirements so email recipients can opt out of commercial emails, include that marketing emails must:

  1. Not include false or misleading header information.
  2. Have non-deceptive subject lines.
  3. Identify the message as an ad.
  4. Tell the recipients where you are located.
  5. Tell recipients how to opt out of future emails.
  6. Promptly remove people who opt out.

As email response rates on our internal databases are dropping, it is tempting to purchase the many compiled email lists are available today. Be careful! Using many of these lists will put you in violation of the CAN-SPAM laws, get extremely low response rates, and can get your IP address blacklisted. An upcoming blog post will give some suggestions about how you can legally use and improve response rates on purchased lists.

The journey continues.


Disclaimer: I am a marketer, not an attorney. The information in this post should not be construed as legal advice. This is my interpretation of the CAN-SPAM Act.

Lightening the Virtual Load

When laptop computers were revolutionary, I had a boss who actually said that he deleted unused files so that his computer wouldn’t get too heavy. And he was serious!

Today with never-ending emails, cross promotional emails, enewsletters, blogs, and a myriad of social media streams, I have experienced how they can be virtually heavy, overwhelming. Here are a couple tricks I use to keep the information-flow relevant:

  1. At the beginning of each quarter, I delete incoming enewsletters that I no longer read.
  2. I opt out of ads that I never use, or limit the frequency to weekly rather than daily.
  3. If a blog has become stale, I stop following it.
  4. If someone continually posts nasty, inappropriate, complaining Facebook posts, I have become ruthless in unfollowing or hiding their posts. This has made for a more enjoyable newsfeed…and I have not missed any of those deletions. And I am pickier in who I choose to follow.
  5. I follow more brands on Twitter than Facebook.
  6. Some people use a different email address for their online purchases, but I would never remember to check that secondary email address.

How many social media streams can one person follow? And just because i purchase one item from your website –especially if a gift–does not mean I want to be inundated with thrice-daily advertisements and encouragement to purchase more. I am more likely to totally delete those emails.

How do you keep control of your inbox and your social media outlets?

The journey continues.


Audience Development Role Today

The role of audience development has been getting press, with the impact it has on customer relations and the bottom line for organizations. As an audience development/marketing consultant, I currently work mainly with media companies, though I have done consulting with a variety of businesses including a moving company, recruiters, and other consultants.

The transition from ” magazine publisher” to “media company” to (for some) “information providers” came as technology improved, brand components increased, advertisers demanded additional information about leads, and readers/customers splintered in how they want to receive information.

What does your brand consist of today? Next year? Five years from now?

Here is a list of many of the products that each media brand can consist of:

  • Magazines– print and/or digital version
  • Enewsletters
  • Online events including webinars and online trade shows
  • Website member registration
  • Social media groups
  • Lead generation
  • Association membership
  • Proprietary research
  • White papers
  • App downloads
  • YouTube and online channels
  • List rental
  • Reprints

That is a lot of components to coordinate! and often “owned” by different departments! The revenue generated by each item also fluctuates, impacting the focus it gets within an organization.

Audience development is often the department that reaches to other groups to coordinate technology, efforts, data, and messaging. Its role is critical for all media companies as brand components continue to expand. And as we try to tie together items on the above list on the data and marketing front, audience development is often the role that looks at both the big picture of the benefits/costs/ways to put all this together as well as diving into the nitty gritty data details.  It’s what keeps the job interesting…and critical…today.

The journey continue.