AM&P's Signature Magazine Spotlights the Kantar SRDS and James G. Elliott Co., Inc. Study of Media Planners and Buyers

The January/February 2016 issue of Signature Magazine looks into the Kantar SRDS/JGE Study and how it illuminates the potential of associations ignoring ad dollars from agencies and clients.  Here are some excerpts:

Why do so many associations avoid calling on advertising agencies to find new business? It may seem counterintuitive to go to a third party to make a sale when the association has built its stronghold in the marketplace on its own member relationships. Or it could be not fully understanding how selling to agencies differs from selling directly to clients. The truth is, you need a balance of both.

At a time when so many types of organizations are publishing and marketing content–and the options for delivering advertising to potential buyers just keeps growing–association publishers can't afford to ignore the potential for increasing their ad sales by marketing their brand to agencies, say Jim Elliott, president of James G. Elliott Co., Inc., and Steve Davis, president of SRDS and Kantar Media Health Research.

"An association often says it doesn't have any agency business, but if you look, their B2B competitors that serve that same industry have plenty of agency business," points out Elliott, who is also a member of the Association Media & Publishing board of directors.

"The truth is that the association's sales force is often uncomfortable with multimedia selling and working with agencies," he continues. "But you can increase your market share from agencies if you know how to engage with them."

Elliott, whose firm is one of the nation's largest outsourced media ad sales companies, says advertisers often tell their agencies: Find something I wouldn't normally run my ad campaign in. "They are looking for fresh and loyal audiences, and an association publication can be just what they need," Elliott says.

The study pointed out that the trend toward fewer annual schedules translates into a less predictable workload for agency buyers–and that often accounts for their last-minute requests for proposals from publishers. "Agency buyers are time starved," as Elliott puts it.

"Advertisers wanting a discount is a fact of life," says Elliott, "so raise your rates a little every year so that you have a margin to negotiate."

In fact, Elliott says that association sales staff should be taught the skills of negotiation. "You need to say to the agency or advertiser: 'That rate is there for a reason, but what I can do is work with you on frequency or value add, etc.'"

You can read the full article in the digital magazine here:

Thoughts of a Millennial in the Magazine Industry

By Peter Englert

After graduating with a degree with a magazine emphasis, I am often asked my opinion on the topic of “print is dying.” I really don’t see that happening any time soon, and I’m a Millennial. Sure, it’s rare to ever find me without my phone in my hand or right in front of my face, but when it comes to reading a book or magazine, I would much rather feel the texture of the pages between my fingertips than to be glued to a tablet swiping left or right.

With print, I don’t worry about my issue not being charged or my book crashing. Many magazines have gone through the transition from print to digital, but are we ignoring the magazines that started digitally and have now started to print such as Allrecipes Magazine or Creativ Magazine? We could even bring up magazines that have spawned from television series and shows like Rachael Ray Every Day or HGTV Magazine

My aspiration for myself in the magazine industry is to work with creative and design. To be a part of the creation of a print magazine has got to feel pretty great. When a story is published in print, it’s complete and there’s no turning back. When a story is published digitally, it still is possible to remove it from the site or make a spelling correction. I don’t think print is going away any time soon, but it definitely must evolve to remain relevant, innovative, and engaging in such a digitally driven world.

A Look Ahead: Print and Digital Periodicals

This exerpt is from an article by Jim Elliott currently on

Just a few years ago, it looked as if digital publishing would push print aside. But print refused to die. Why?

Clients of my advertising sales and consulting company publish a wide array of periodicals, from specialized small circulation scientific digital journals to highly-regarded printed consumer magazines, newsletters, and everything in between. We often discuss publishing formats. Just a few years ago, it looked as if digital publishing would push print aside and that publishers would be able to avoid paying the high costs of paper, printing and postage. But print refused to die. Why?  Some readers want printed magazines. 

Click here to

The Brand

This piece originally ran on It has been downloaded hundreds of times since June 25, and the response has been so overwhelmingly positive that we wanted to bring it to you as my President’s Letter.

President’s Letter

Over the past 10 years, I have talked with many senior magazine executives about their struggles to serve the changing publishing environment. Finding balance is difficult, and making money while adapting to this changing climate is not easy. The consensus is that they need to get back to basics, and to find better ways to leverage their brands.  They need to invest for the future by backing the right technologies, but nobody knows which implementations will prevail.

Power of the Brand

For the past decade, we have argued that branding will be critically important to magazine companies that want to build digital businesses. Familiar product brands are perceived as being more trustworthy than unbranded. For example, an unknown prodigy who starts posting financial content on the Web will be at a huge competitive disadvantage to a site like, written by editors who have been trusted advisors to investors for more than 80 years. Powerful print brands will be the ultimate winners of the digital transformation IF they can adopt appropriate strategies.

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Media Planners and Buyers: What Are They Thinking?

The first rule of selling is “know thy customer,” so Kantar Media SRDS and the James G. Elliott Co. jointly conduct the Study of Media Planning and Buying.  The purpose of this study is to understand the media planning and buying information needs of media planners and buyers at agencies and what the general expectations of these media people are.  Earlier this year, we reported results of the second study in this series, which confirmed the results of the first study two years ago. 

These were the four objectives of the 2015 Study of Media Planning & Buying:

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Advertising's Existential Moment

"The value of traditional advertising is no longer clear. New formats create as many problems as they solve."

To dig deeper into these trends, Folio: interviewed 18 key players (including Jim Elliott) in magazine-media advertising today.

The past few years have been challenging in the world of advertising. First came the decline of print, with “digital dimes” replacing lost print dollars. 

Then programmatic buying turned inventory into a cheap commodity. The “viewability” debate stole another chunk, and ad blocking is an emerging challenge. The rise of social, mobile, video and native atomized audiences and changed the rules of the game again and again. And then there’s whatever happens next. And all this is happening in a market where just two companies—Google and Facebook—now grab more than $60 billion in annual U.S. advertising revenue, which by some accounts is more than the magazine and newspaper industries combined. So what’s going on here—and what’s the long-term outlook? 

Read more at:

Programmatic Ad Buying: A Q&A with Industry Experts

The Lane Press Blog hosted a Q&A with Jim Elliott and Steve Davis, President of Kantar Media SRDS, so they could share insights into programmatic ad buying found in the 2015 Study of Media Planning & Buying co-funded by the Elliott Co. and Kantar Media SRDS.  Read the full interview here:

2015 REPORT: Understanding Today's Media Buyers

"I am very excited to announce the second Study of Media Planning & Buying from Kantar Media SRDS & James G. Elliott Co. The study validates much that was in the 2013 study but adds more dimension and also asks about programmatic buying."  — Jim Elliott

The entire report is available to download here:

Mr. Magazine™ interviewed Jim Elliott and Kantar Media's Steve Davis about the new study:

Agency Media Planners and Buyers are spread very thinly, with multiple assignments and significant financial responsibilities placed upon them every day. Steve Davis, President of SRDS and Kantar Media Health Research, and Jim Elliott, President of the James. G. Elliott Co., got together recently to do a study on the needs of media planners and buyers in terms of time, opportunities and money.

This was the second study the two companies had done between October, 2013 and January, 2015 and showed significant changes in some areas of the second study such as:


  • The average respondent recommended or helped purchase $25.9 million in advertising over the past 12 months in 2015—up significantly from $19.4 million in 2013. However, this could be a reflection of more respondents from slightly larger companies. Big companies plan bigger ad budgets.


Read the full interview here:

Disruptive Innovation

President’s Letter

The overuse of the buzzwords, “disruptive innovation” and “disrupt” and “disruption” is so prevalent that it has spawned a backlash. In June 2014, New York Magazine ran an article, “Let’s All Stop Saying ‘Disrupt’ Right This Instant.” The Seattle Post Intelligencer carried “Disrupt ‘Disrupt’: A moratorium on ‘disruptive’ hackery,” and many blogs have taken up the cry.

However, it looks like these terms are here to stay. This fall, USC began to offer the nation’s first-ever “Degree in Disruption.” And, the concept can be helpful in thinking about business. Much of the current usage grew out of work by Harvard Business School’s Professor Clayton Christensen, whose doctoral dissertation became the highly influential, The Innovator’s Dilemma. It was an important contribution to strategy; in 2011 The Economist named it one of the six most important business books ever written. Christensen was named the World’s Most Influential Business Management Thinker in 2011 and 2013.

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Update: Second Study of Media Planning and Buying Planned for 2015.

The Study of Media Planning & Buying in the U.S. initially conducted in October 2013 by Kantar SRDS and the James G. Elliott Co., Inc. will be repeated in 2015. 

The purpose of this study is to understand the media planning and buying information needs of media planners and buyers at agencies.

It is expected that more than 400 media people will respond to the 2015 study.

The original study confirmed the widespread impression that media people are carrying a heavy workload.   

  • On average, respondents work on 4 clients and 5 brands.  
  • Average value of advertising recommended or helped purchase was $19.2 million in the past 12 months.

The next study will add several questions about programmatic buying.

You can download the first study here by filling out the request on this page of our site: /news/

American Chemical Society Names the James G. Elliott Co. to Sell All Advertising Nationally for C&EN Magazine and 40 Technical Journals

Kevin Davies, Ph.D., the publisher of C&EN Media Group, released the following statement:

I am writing to inform you of an important and exciting change in the advertising program for both the C&EN Media Group and ACS Publications, the scientific publishing division of the American Chemical Society.

One of our important goals at ACS is to deliver for our advertisers the greatest possible return on their marketing investments. Many of our activities are readily apparent, such as the editorial excellence of our content and the broad, timely news coverage of the global chemistry enterprise in our award-winning weekly magazine, Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN). Some of our other efforts may be less visible but are equally important to our delivery of exceptional customer service and value to our advertisers, and to the hundreds of thousands of readers we reach via a range of print, web, and mobile formats.

We have recently made an important change that enhances our advertising capabilities and strengthens our ability to serve your needs.

I am delighted to announce that ACS Publications has partnered with James G. Elliott Co., Inc. to be our exclusive advertising sales representative in North America, effective immediately. The Elliott Company is the largest independent media company of its kind, with sales offices in the major advertising hubs of New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Augmenting their diverse media sales expertise, the firm provides a range of marketing and research services that will be of strategic benefit to our clients as we seek to enhance our print and digital advertising offerings and continue to innovate in today’s exciting marketing environment.

We know that in addition to following C&EN, influential researchers and decision-makers worldwide rely heavily upon the peer-reviewed research content disseminated by our award-winning ACS Publications web and mobile delivery platforms. Through our new relationship with the Elliott Company, we also will seek to deliver enhanced advertising impact for customers who wish to leverage the broad exposure and ROI offered by our digital media offerings—including web and mobile alerts and user downloads, sponsored webinars, virtual conferences, and custom publishing opportunities with advertorial potential.

How to Promote Salespeople Successfully to Management, and How to Help Them Cope

Adapted with permission from Folio: based on articles written by Jim Elliott and Joe Arpaia, M.D.

Over the 30 years we have been in business, we have often experienced management changes.  We have seen many examples of what can happen when a very good salesperson is promoted.  Sometimes it works well, and sometimes not.  Why the difference?

I asked my friend, Dr. Joe Arpaia, a psychiatrist who specializes in stress-management, what he thought.  That started a discussion that has led to two articles published in Folio: Magazine (April/May and September/October 2014) with another to follow.  These pieces deal with problems in the way salespeople are selected for promotion, some characteristics that can make the process more difficult, and some steps executives can take to help increase the odds for success.

One factor is attitude. The best salespeople tend to be social optimists. They expect success, and are happy to take credit when things go well. They expect to be accepted. When things do not go well in their personal lives or at work, they assign blame to other people or factors beyond their control. This attitude helps to shield them from paralyzing negative emotions when a proposal is rejected. They shrug it off and move on to the next thing, while less socially optimistic salespeople may brood over their failure. Social optimists continue to pursue opportunities energetically and creatively, while others are discouraged.

Dr. Arpaia says that interpretation skills of social optimists include:

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The Big Picture: Strategy

President's Letter

Over the past few years, my associates and I have provided consulting services for many publishing companies and association publishers. Companies ask us in to analyze the revenue producing parts of their businesses and to make recommendations on a specific subject area, such as digital or print sales, or integrating marketing assets and packaging those assets for sale. As we delve into the assignment, we often see that an essential component of advertising sales success is missing: a brand strategy.

Merriam-Webster defines “strategy” as “a careful plan or method for achieving a particular goal, usually over a long period of time.” So, before a brand strategy can be created, there must be a crystal-clear goal or objective for the brand. As a former media planner trained in the art of strategic planning, I always look first for the objectives, then for the strategies.   

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How to Help New Sales Managers Succeed - Sales and Marketing @

Part 2 of a series:  Jim Elliott and Dr. Joe Arpaia, a psychiatrist who specializes in stress-management, share some important insights into the processes by which top salespeople can get into trouble as sales managers—and how their bosses can help them succeed—in the Sept/Oct issue of Folio: Magazine.
Read the article here:


Opera News Names the James G. Elliott Co., Inc. to Sell All Advertising Nationally

"We’re putting forth effort in advertising; we just changed our ad sales team. I just engaged James Elliott’s company and I think they’re terrific. We’ve engaged very, very seasoned professionals to represent us."
—Diane Silberstein, Publisher, Opera News    


A Fighting Chance

Kantar Media SRDS & James G. Elliott Study: Second in a Series

from Issue #2, 2014
The following article gave such a good overview of current agency media planning and buying practices that we wanted to bring it to you in its entirety.  It features the Market Study sponsored by Kantar SRDS and the James G. Elliott Co., Inc.  Reprinted with permission from Association Media & Publishing's Signature magazine, May/June 2014 issue.

What influences agency media buyers the most? Struggling to connect with over-burdened buyers, associations can win if they understand what agencies are looking for—and how to give it to them.


“Understanding Today’s Media Buyers,” a new market research study conducted by SRDS and the James G. Elliott Co., Inc., sheds some fresh perspective on what it takes to win business from an advertising agency.

“One of the most important takeaways from this study for associations is that relationship selling is clearly less prevalent in the media buying world,” says James G. Elliott, president of his national media ad sales company, which has sold advertising in print and digital publications for more than three decades. “It’s something that has been happening over a period of years, but it is clearly affecting how publishers and their sales reps work with agencies now more than ever.

“It’s important to understand this trend,” Elliott continues, “because one of the things associations have always counted on most is their relationships with members and the companies that advertise to those members.”

Elliott says the new study underscores that the relationship between buyer and seller is no longer as important as the quality of the product or service being sold. Furthermore, Elliott says, due to agency buyers with too many brands to manage and the constant turnover of these buyers — as often as every one or two years — it is extremely difficult to form meaningful relationships. 

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Why Your Top Salesperson Might Struggle After a Promotion

Sales success doesn’t always translate to management proficiency.

Jim Elliott and Dr. Joe Arpaia, a psychiatrist who specializes in stress-management, share some important insights into the processes by which top salespeople can get into trouble as sales managers—and how to prevent that from happening in the April/May 2014 issue of Folio: Magazine.

Read the article here:

New Research: What Influences Agency Media Buyer Decision-Making?

Association Media & Publishing's Sidebar blog interviews Lindsay Morrison, VP of Marketing Communications at Kantar Media SRDS & Healthcare Research, a group that collects, organizes, and delivers advertising data to connect media buyers with media sellers.

SRDS recently teamed up with AM&P member James G. Elliott Co., Inc. on an important new market research study designed to understand the information needs of media planners and buyers at advertising agencies. What follows are some of the surprising results of this study, which was conducted in Q4 2013 and included 204 individual respondents.  Here's an excerpt:

Sidebar: What are some of the surprises gleaned from your recent survey of advertising agencies?

Morrison: One of the more interesting is that there are an increasing number of media buyers who are planning and buying advertising schedules all year long, as opposed to the more traditional pattern of planning and buying your advertising in the fall for the coming year and then being done with it. In our survey, 63 percent of the media buyers said they are buying schedules sporadically, quarterly, or semi-annually.

Read the full interview here:

Jim Elliott Elected to AM&P Board of Directors

Jim Elliott has been elected to the 2014-2015 Board of Directors of Association Media & Publishing (AM&P). As a longtime member of AM&P, a frequent writer for Signature Magazine and Blurb, AM&P's blog, he looks forward to contributing to the organization in this new role.

For more than 30 years, Association Media and Publishing, formerly known as the Society of National Association Publications (SNAP), has served the professionals and publications that educate, inform and engage members of trade and membership associations.

Association Media & Publishing’s 2014 Annual Meeting will be held May 19–21, at the Sheraton Premiere, Tysons Corner, VA.