Michael Manley, eloquent publisher of the Funeral Business Advisor magazine responds to the comments I made following his last response.

Does that make any sense?

If not, read “Funeral Business Advisor Responds, And How!” first and then read this letter from Michael:

I would absolutely agree with Tim that other trade publications DO indeed solicit content “on occasion” from industry suppliers, and I never made mention to the contrary.  And indeed, I would also agree, on occasion, those other publications don’t require purchasing ad space either. ***Although, I will mention that a writer told me that he traded 1 year worth of advertising for writing 3 articles for a funeral industry publication, and received ZERO phone calls from the AD – At FBA, he would not have paid anything for his ad because we have a guarantee that says his advertisement would be free if we do not produce results – What other publications makes that guarantee?

I would also respond by saying; that might be what OTHER publication do, but NOT what Funeral Business Advisor does.  And we don’t hide this fact whatsoever from anyone, especially our advertisers.  I will also challenge anyone to ask those other publications if they would ever consider circulating their magazine FREE of charge to the funeral director, and removing their subscription cost.  It would be my guess that if they will not!!!  And if they did, their ad prices would be much higher, and they would reconsider how they structure their ads and content. I always believe in comparing “apples to apples.”  But in some cases, it is simply “apples and oranges.”  See, if you look at FBA carefully, we are a free publication, so we can guarantee that we are at least reaching virtually every independent funeral home in the United States.  You would also see that our cost to advertise, per funeral home or crematory, is much less than our competitors.  In fact, FBA is anywhere from 25-50%
less, on a per contact basis, than the other industry publications.  And that includes the ability to write in every issue.  And anyone who has studied advertising and marketing will know that “cost per contact” is is critical component in determing the cost-effectiveness of an ad placement.  But with that said, FBA still feels the MOST IMPORTANT factor is ad results!!!

I would counter Tim’s point by asking: Does being published with an editorial generally create any significant number of sales leads for the writer (or company)???  My experience says probably NOT, because I don’t think writing (without advertising) in our publication would produce any significant results either.  As I mentioned before, FBA is a “marketing publication”, first and foremost. And we have the dual goal of providing our readers (funeral directors) current content written by industry experts, and at the same time giving industry suppliers the ability to market their services to the industry.  Truth be told, we DO on occasion publish editorials (as needed) by writers who do not publish an ad with us (i.e. Doug Clery, Adfinity, July/August 2007).  But we are in business to produce sales leads for our advertiser as priority #1.  That is why we are the ONLY industry publication that sells our cover.  (By the way, our last 3 cover companies have produced over 500 phone calls
combined for them).

So it is simple.  Our advertsers get results and we have proven that explicitly.  And since we do publish other indusry trade publications following the same format, our experience has shown that advertisers that write receive better ad results.

How can we produce better results when we do not allow direct self-promotion by the writer of the editorial?  It is simple concept that we have proved over several years of publishing this format.  We realize, like most fortune 500 companies realize, that advertising is as much about BRANDING as it is creating awareness for a specific product or service.  By writing consistenly in our publication, a writer (and company) builds trust with the reader.  The content is information, positive, and uplifting.  This then translates into a positive transfer of emotion, thus making the advertisements more effective.  Would you be in more of a buying mood if you read a “positive” editorial about cremation, or if you were reading a negative article about the industry with regards to a violation of ethics?  This is why at FBA we work hard to filter this type of content.  It is also why we don’t advocate publishing industry news.  Frankly, there are publications that do that publish news and
sometimes uninspiring content (i.e. Mortuary Management, The Director, American Funeral Director, YB News, etc.)  And frankly, they are must be good at what they do because they have been around for a long time.  Without a doubt, they are good with what they do and have a place in the industry.   And we (FBA) are good at what we do and there is definitely a place for us as well.

How do we judge or gauge success?  With advertiser results and reader feedback!!!  And as we begin production on our sixth issue, I can say with certainty that we have succeeded based on the criteria and measurement metrics that we use.

I will ask one final question;  Does a company wanting to market their services send out a “direct mail” letter because they enjoy creating and writing the piece?  NO, they spend the money to produce and mail the advertisement because they want to produce new sales leads.  Therefore, if someone wants to be published and not advertise, then they should indeed approach one of the OTHER publications.  Unlike FBA, with those other industry publications, there are NO GUARANTEES of when someone would might be published, if they are published at all.  And there are NO GUARANTEES of sales leads being generated by simply being published. So by all means, anyone who just enjoys writing and not concerned with increasing sales, then they should concentrate on THOSE publications.  But anyone who wants guaranteed results and guaranteed editorial placement, then they could look at FBA.  Simply stated, there is a strategy available for anyone by any magazine.  It is up to the supplier to determine what works best for them!

Michael Manley
Publisher, Funeral Business Advisor

One of the great things about Final Embrace is that it encourages back and forth conversation, like the one Michael and I are having about his publication.

Incidentally, I just got a copy of the magazine in the mail (I asked, on Friday, for them to add me to their mailing list and they got it out to me POSTHASTE!) and I’m quite impressed.

Everything about the magazine is beautiful.  And while I think several of the articles are poorly written (hence my criticism that advertiser-generated content can cause some editorial pain) I also think I’d have quite a good chance at creating a good impression by writing and advertising.

So you’ve won me over, Michael.  I’ve just got to see if I can afford your ad prices!