Executive Director’s 2016 annual report

Members are the story behind Inland’s focus on success stories

Posted

In combing through the feedback from this year’s exhaustive Inland member survey, I was struck by this suggestion:

“Feature what successful operations have done to make their mark.”

And this from another respondent:

“Share more best practices – what’s being done right.”

Finally, this from a third:

“Provide thought leadership to help newspaper companies get out in front of these trends.”

The common thread in these comments, and many others from that survey, was a thirst for stories of real success. Not theoretical plans requiring massive scale and huge technical infrastructure beyond the reach of most mid- and small-size dailies and non-dailies. So, as Inland President Mike Gugliotto notes elsewhere in this issue of the Inlander, this year’s annual meeting is devoted exclusively to these success stories. We call it “Real Media Companies, Real Products, Real Services, Real Success.” 

The topics are wide-ranging: digital, native advertising, social, email, digital agencies, events, video, transformation, monetizing audience, promotions, and diversification. We’re excited about this program and the success stories that can be replicated by other members in their own markets. 

This year’s member survey also enriched our understanding of member needs in other areas.

Members told us they really, really, value our strong webinar offerings — and the key takeaways provided after each webinar. We send the takeaways to every Inland member. So, even if you weren’t able to participate in the webinar, you get a concise summary of the critical points. And, of course, both our webinars and the takeaways are free to Inland members. Those takeaways have become a hit. “You’ve done an outstanding job with takeaways from webinars,” one member said, “could you do that with the conferences for those who cannot attend?”

Yes.

Beginning with this annual meeting, we’ll now provide takeaways for all our events — not just webinars.

Every conference. Every session.

We see this as a way to share the lessons from these conferences with those who cannot travel to participate.

Members support the idea of Inland working with other industry associations. “Continue collaboration with other organizations to produce programs,” one survey respondent said. Another added, “expand partnerships with other industry entities.”

Done.

We’re happy to announce that Inland and SNPA will partner next September to hold joint annual meetings in Colorado Springs. This is in addition to our existing, and successful, partnership with SNPA and LMA on the Key Executives Mega-Conference.

Not surprisingly, cost is most often cited when we ask members why they haven’t participated in an in-person conference. “The conferences are informative,” one member said, “however the only way to attend is via flight, hotel and meals. Make these open to all through video teleconference.”

Good idea.

Watch for word later this year about our plans for virtual conferences, and free in-person conferences.

There were many other useful comments and suggestions that flowed from the member survey. I’ve mentioned these initiatives to try to make the point that we take your feedback and suggestions seriously and remain totally focused on helping our members succeed in this challenging industry environment. 

Inland is lucky to have a vital board of directors. Board members willingly devote their time to support Inland’s mission and are committed to its successful future. Inland President Mike Gugliotto has spent hours and hours working on Inland business over the last year, providing focus and demanding accountability on key initiatives that will make Inland stronger and more vital to its members. It’s been my pleasure to work with him. Inland also is fortunate to have a small and efficient staff, all of whom have a passionate commitment to the association.

Finally, I thank you for your continued support of Inland and its mission.

Tom Slaughter

Executive Director