Yesterday Sales & Marketing Management’s managing editor sent out this notice via the magazine’s Twitter account of 101 followers:
When a 92-year old competitor disappears, it’s time to reflectThe magazine has a long history of serving the profession of selling since 1918. Here is what editor Geoff Brewer wrote in the 80th anniversary issue in October 1998:
“It’s tempting here to share our success secrets. How does any enterprise stay strong for 80 years? While there are no simple formulas, a visit to our archives reveals that the magazine has always worked hard to serve its readers. As far back as January 1920, when we were still known as Sales Management, we ran an article entitled, “When Team Work Is Wanted.” Sound familiar? A March 2, 1926, piece told “How I Find the Mainspring That Makes Salesmen Go.” Divining a technology revolution, an April 1968 feature offered comfort: “The Computer Is a Friend.” Just last month we urged managers to find their fortunes in Silicon Valley…Our February 1942 cover implored companies to produce metals, paper and rubber for the war effort. Just two years ago we ran a three-part series, which garnered a Grand Neal Award, the highest honor bestowed by the American Business Press, on the travails faced by blacks, gays, and women in sales – and how successful companies embrace diversity. Our February cover story this year explored the perils and possibilities of managing pregnant salespeople.”
SMM told great stories about great peopleSMM employed great editors, smart writers, and talented designers. Every year the magazine featured the 25 Best Sales Forces and interviewed such industry icons as IBM’s Lou Gerstner, Michael Dell, and Larry Ellison. Cover stories were well researched and written, such as, “What Keeps You Up at Night? We know your 5 toughest management challenges (and how to overcome them).”
SMM has won many awards for its great design and excellent reporting.
The copy price was 30 cents in 1942.
The magazine covered industry giants. The cover story featuring Enron CEO Ken Lay turned out to be a notable mistake that made me more cautious of celebrities wanting to appear on Selling Power’s cover. On July 7, 2004, Lay was indicted by a grand jury on 11 counts of securities fraud.
Lessons learned from a great competitorWhen I started Selling Power magazine in 1980, I admired Sales & Marketing Management magazine, envied its amazing resources, and had many cordial conversations with its editors, who held court like kings at industry trade shows. To boost our circulation, I was able to rent SMM’s mailing list. I thought that this showed a lot of class; however, when our magazine began to sell to SMM’s advertisers, we were no longer able to rent the list.
A tough competitor is like a great teacher. I was impressed with SMM’s in-depth reporting and innovative story ideas, and I learned a great deal about the magazine business by studying its sales, marketing, and event strategies. In the ’80s the magazine ran an annual conference called Power Selling. I thought about calling to argue that this could be an infringement on our Selling Power trademark but dropped the idea. I thought of the old saying, “Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.”
Our goal has always been to be the industry leader, and our circulation exceeded SMM’s in 1990. We were beginning to win more awards and were able to win more and more advertisers.
After the dot-com crash in 2001, SMM’s owners (Bill Communications) sold the magazine to VNU, which led to a changing of the guard in the editorial department. The magazine lost its edge, advertising sales declined, and so did circulation. One of SMM’s competitors approached us with an offer to buy Selling Power for a sum that made my jaw drop, but I declined. It was tempting to take the money and run, but I realized that I love what I am doing, and I didn’t want to trade money for what I love. I love selling, and I love the profession of selling. I love working with sales leaders, and I continue to learn and grow as a result of these connections.
“Print is no longer worth the ink it’s printed with”I first heard the bold proclamation from a Silicon Valley CEO a few years ago. I still disagree. I believe that there is a fundamental difference between reading online and reading a magazine. Reading print is to the mind what exercise is to the body. It makes your mind healthier, sharper, and more focused. Print will exercise your mental muscles; it is a medium designed for reflection. The Internet is a medium designed for action. I think magazines will not disappear, just like vinyl records have not disappeared. How could we possibly stop print if there are so many VIPs with big egos who want to see their picture on the cover of a magazine? After all, being on a magazine cover is a symbol of power and prestige.
The Internet will continue to displace the printing, music, and television industries. Our future is in creating value for our customers through online media, blogs, video, and live and virtual conferences.
http://salesstrategizer.com (Our first iPhone application)
Of course, we will continue to print Selling Power magazine as long as our subscribers want us to serve their needs. We are sad to see SMM cease to exist, and we salute all its editors, writers, graphic artists, and salespeople who have steadily contributed to our great profession.
To all customers of Sales & Marketing Management: We would like to invite you to subscribe to Selling Power.We want to earn your trust with every issue. We’ve served the sales profession for the past 30 years, and I believe that the best is yet to come.
Just call 1-800-752-7355, and we will be delighted to start your one-year print subscription for only $12 or a Digital subscription for $9. Or you may order online:
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