As you probably know by now, Findlay Media has been bought by Mark Allen Group (MAG), subject to due diligence. The deal is going to complete in April and the magazines involved include some favourites at Stone Junction Towers, from New Electronics and Works Management to Eureka and Plant Engineer. But, as we wait with trepidation to see what actually happens following the buyout, we thought we would send Santa a wish list - eleven months in advance - of things we would love to see happen. 

By Richard Stone

There seems to be some confidence at both groups that this is a really positive move. I haven’t even read many internet rumours that anything horrific will happen.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to take two long established, privately-owned media teams into publishing’s premier league. The prospects for the employees of both publishers are very exciting. I am totally committed to helping MAG develop and grow over the next few years. It is going to be a huge and enjoyable challenge,” said Findlay’s CEO, Peter Knutton.

So what’s on our wish list for change?

1. Nothing: Findlay is an awesome publisher and we avidly wait for its magazines every month. So, the first thing we are wishing for is nothing; don’t make too many changes to products we know and love.

2. Carry on building communities: I’ve always loved the fact that Findlay’s publications, such as Works Management, try and create real-world communities of readers. They do this, for example, by offering factory tours sourced from their readership for their readership.

3. Start demonstrating impact on sales: Findlay has an awesome sales team but, like nearly everyone in publishing, they struggle to demonstrate impact on the sales of their advertisers and the companies they cover in editorial. My key point is that they struggle to demonstrate impact – not struggle to create it.

So, my request to the Santa of publishing is to work out how they can do this. For instance, send an automated report to everyone who has featured in the magazine (either as advertisers or in editorial), telling them how many times Findlay web properties have sent traffic to the company web site.

You could even add a link to the bottom of each article saying, ‘I would like to enquire about this product or service’. The link could send a pre-populated e-mail to the company the story is about, saying “another awesome lead from Eureka” for instance. Then, crucially, include these results in the report as well.

Frankly, anything that demonstrates the value of trade publishing to both advertisers and non-advertisers would be very welcome. They will spend more money if you do. 

4. Keep publishing in every way you can: Findlay already publishes most of its titles in print and as page turning online magazines. Each one also has a regular e-mail newsletter associated with it.
We want to see all this continue and we want to see more video, perhaps even some podcasting. And any other form of publishing you can think of to be honest. Personally, I don’t know if Findlay has tablet or iPhone apps (because I already read in print and online) but if they don’t, seize the day!

5. Get (even more) social: At the moment Eureka magazine has got an impressive 2,228 followers on that there Twitter, 335 on LinkedIn and, as far as I know, no Facebook presence. (We can create you one if you like, Findlay – bargain deals available – Ed). That’s really very good indeed but there is always space for more. So, get even more social, Findlay, and build your audience.

After all, the engineers who graduated with their BScs and PhDs ten years ago (Facebook was launched ten years ago today) are now between 31 and 34 – unless they were mature students in which case they are obviously, erm, more mature.

My point is there is a LOT of B2B buying power in the age bracket 31-34.

So, having said all that, the folk at Findlay are much better at working out how to run amazing magazines than I am. That’s why they have a publishing empire and I have a blog about stuff and business.

Best of luck Findlay! Historically buyouts haven’t always worked well in the engineering media – but this could be the start of a new age of greatness.

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