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Trends & Practices in Association Publishing


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A snapshot presenting the current state of association publishing in Australia. To download the Third Annual Member Communications Survey in full, visit

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Trends & Practices in Association Publishing

  1. 1. Trends and Practices in Association Publishing 120 associations across Australia responded to the Third Annual Member Communications Survey in September 2013. The Digital Shift Australian associations are embracing digital platforms through a multi-channelled approach to publishing, with a strong increase in tablet magazines and mobile apps. WHAT associations are publishing GROWTH compared to 2012 65% 61% 55% 39% 21% 17% 10% iPad/tablet mag Mobile app Social Media Website - private social network/foums Peer-reviewed journal Website - blog Digital mag (pg turning) Peer-reviewed journal Printed mag Social media Website - news update Findings from last year’s survey saw a strong lack of interest for launching a mobile app. 28% Yes Compared to this year where 93% either wish to maintain an app or launch one in the next 12 months. 59% About the same FUTURE PLANS FOR LAUNCHING A MOBILE APP 11% Already have one 2012 18% Don’t know 3% Less 2013 38% within the next 12 MONTHS 43% NO MORE Associations are reducing their print publications more than any other platform, however 82% still plan to continue publishing their current amount of print during the next 12 months. Do you expect to PUBLISH MORE 5% 12% Printed mag Peer-reviewed journal 5% Whitepapers/ ebooks 8% 6% 16% 82% 86% 79% 66% 6% iPad/tablet mag 9% Digital mag (pg turning) 28% 31% 1% 4% Mobile app Enewsletter 4% Videos 31% 59% 69% 59% 38% 48% 49% 2% Website 48% 0% Social media 42% 50% 58% OR LESS in the NEXT 12 MONTHS? The Core Challenges 2013 2012 Lack of staff WHAT ARE THE MAIN Measuring return on investment COMMUNICATIONS CHALLENGES? Disengaged members 28% 62% 37% 26% 30% 31% 22% 20% 19% 35% 14% 11% 13% 13% 9% 10% 7% 7% Adapting to new technologies Although associations are adding platforms, they’re not necessarily increasing employees to cater for the extra work, with 62% stating that ‘Lack of staff’ was their top challenge. 49% 44% 41% 39% High production costs Aging membership Declining advertising Competition with other publications Declining Membership Competition with other associations Limits on acceptable advertisers The Benefits of Member Communications 2012 2013 Promotion of events 82% 85% 76% 73% 60% 74% 52% 2013 2012 Communication of association news Communication of general news/advice Stronger awareness of advocacy message 0% 45% 49% Member retention Member communications do more than engage with members – for the second year in a row, ‘Promotion of events’ was the number one benefit, demonstrating a need to use content marketing to accelerate event registrations, a core revenue driver for associations. 20% 26% 24% 23% 21% 23% Recruitment of new members Revenue from advertising Revenue from the promotion of association product and Revenue from subscriptions 6% 8% Better Strategies Adapting to the rapid digital shift – associations are getting better at developing an overarching member communications strategy. Have you SEGMENTED your MEMBERSHIP to enable TARGETED COMMUNICATIONS? 25% No 36% A LOT 1% Don’t know 74% YES Associations are using content as a marketing tool to engage and recruit new members. How much do you LEVERAGE CONTENT and repurpose across DIFFERENT PLATFORMS? 1% Unsure 21% No 78% 14% Not much 51% Somewhat DO YOU USE CONTENT MARKETING as a tool to RECRUIT NEW MEMBERS? If you would like to discuss ways to take advantage of new print and digital publishing opportunities, with measurable outcomes for your association, please contact Bobbi Mahlab, Managing Director of Mahlab Media, on (02) 9556 9100 or email Disclaimer While Mahlab Media and Associations Forum have used their best endeavours in preparing and ensuring the accuracy of the content of this report, they make no representation or warranty with respect to the accuracy, applicability, fitness or completeness of any of the contents of this report. The information contained in this report is strictly for educational purposes only. Readers must obtain their own independent advice in relation to the application of any of the survey findings to their individual circumstances. Mahlab Media and Associations Forum disclaim any liability to any party for loss or damages howsoever arising from the use of, or reliance upon, any of the material contained in this report. Copyright All designs and information contained in this report are copyright of Mahlab Media. The contents of this report can only be reproduced with the express permission of Mahlab Media.