An Associate Spotlight Interview with:
Vice President & Chief Product Manager, AdvantageCS
Dan Heffernan is Vice President & Chief Product Manager at AdvantageCS – an Ann Arbor, Michigan-based company serving the publishing industry since 1979. Dan is responsible for sales, marketing, and product direction at this 90-person software and services company. Dan previously managed UK operations for AdvantageCS after managing major implementation projects there. A global leader in management solutions, Advantage is used in 14 countries by dozens of publishers
1) How does your company partner with MPA members to help them succeed?
AdvantageCS provides software and services for managing eCommerce, customer self-service, subscriptions, promotions, renewals, payments, memberships, and events. We form long-term partnerships with our clients to move our products strategically forward. In coordination with our service partners, we offer service packages ranging from just managing software updates to managing everything, including call center services, order processing, payment processing, and letter shop.
2) What challenges or uncertainties do you see on the horizon for the industry?
Subscriptions revenues are decreasing for many magazines, but innovative strategies which keep readers engaged have succeeded in increasing retention. Disparate system proliferation has made integration, marketing, and customer service challenging. Consolidating systems will reduce costs and improve the reader's experience. Reader revenue will continue to be a key indicator of health, so we expect to see more publishers trying out membership models, smart paywalls, events, eCommerce, podcasts, and other strategies.
3) What had the greatest impact on your business this year?
Having more and more of our clients implement our eCommerce/self-service platform, which provides them with powerful web store capabilities on a platform which is already integrated with Advantage. Also, having more of our clients move to continuous updates of our software has allowed more of them to keep current with technology and functional capabilities.
4) If you were a magazine brand, which would you be and why?
National Geographic. It appeals to humans in every corner of the globe. Why? With technology becoming a constant distraction from connecting with others, Nat Geo connects us to the rest of our human family. Our solutions are meant for all kinds of publishers, proven by our footprints across 4 publishing segments (B to C, B to B, scholarly, and membership associations).
5) Is there anything we haven’t asked you today that you wish we had?
Yes: how do other segments of the publishing industry do things that could help consumer and special interest magazines? The answer would be by treating the customer relationship as more important than anything else. Newspaper publishers are finding that by taking better care of their subscribers, they are reducing churn. You have lots of data on your readers which can help you nurture a long-term relationship.