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August 2011

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Contact Ken Custer at 303-277-9840.

20 Years… What's Changed and What Hasn't?

by Ken Custer

“One day I couldn't spell publisher, today I are one.” I've been using that line for the last 20 years and it's still true today.

The September 1997 issue of Advertising & Marketing Review featured “A&M Review Through 20 Years of Change.” The publication was founded in 1977 by BOB and WILLA BROWN when they converted the Denver Ad Club newsletter, Denvertising, into Rocky Mountain Advertising & Marketing Review. The plan at the time was to create a publication that covered the Rocky Mountain States with a special section for the Denver Ad Club.

In 1991, CSC Publishing acquired the Advertising & Marketing Review assets and October 1991 was the first issue. The staff included PHIL STINEMATES and TOM MULVEY. This September 2011 completes the 20th year of ownership. Along with A&M Review came the title of Colorado MAC News, founded by Mulvey who contributed Mulvey Memo for the next 18 years before retiring. In August 2010 the name of the publication was shortened to The Review.

Over the last 20 years we have been able to work with many of the advertising and marketing related organizations and their members became the base of our circulation. The Business Marketing Association (originally B/PAA), Rocky Mountain Direct Marketing Association and American Marketing Association have participated for many years. Originally the Denver Advertising Federation provided a four-page newsletter. Other organizations The Review provided pages for include The New Denver Ad Club and Public Relations Society of America. Organizations that are no longer around include the International Television Association, Rocky Mountain Telemarketing Association, Sales and Marketing Executives, Women in Film/Video, and Women in Cable.

In keeping with the theme of change, this issue will cover many of the changes since 1991. I have asked several of the local industry leaders who have survived the last 20 years to contribute a short note about the primary changes that have changed their segment of the business. To trace many of the changes I have reviewed all issues of the last 20 years and will list people, companies and methods, some long gone and some still with us, that may ring a bell with you.

The first 16-page issue was put together on my vintage MAC in a very early Quark program. We put the basic magazine on a floppy disc, then along with all the pictures and the ads took it all to Frederic Printing. Frederic then made film, screened in the pictures, placed the ads and built the finished magazine.

Soon the magazine started to build and actually get advertising and readership so it was time to go professional. BOBBI BENSON of Benson Creative took over production of the magazine and greatly improved the looks. Still we had to take a disc to get film made, and take the film along with the ads to the printer. That was quite a stack of film.

I eventually learned enough to become dangerous on the computer and, along with updated equipment and software, took over building the magazine using Benson's format. When it was time to update the look of the magazine, TERI JONES and staff at Jones Creative Works developed a new format into which I could plug each issue in September 1997. BRAD FIXLER provided the next format update and I still plugged in the information in 2003. In August 2010, Pamela Norton-Shelpuk and staff at Activate rebranded and reformatted the magazine as The Review that you see today.

The changes in the business are obvious. From a stack of discs, film and pictures lugged to the printer each month I now take one CD with a PDF of the finished product. If needed, I can even upload it to their site and don't even make the trip. The mailing process has also changed from the old Cheshire labels to inkjet labels with bar codes.

A big factor in building the magazine has been the many organizations that participated, either with newsletters or allowing coverage of their events. Many of the organization members get each issue as a benefit of membership and this has built the readership that advertisers want to reach. The other major factor is the loyal advertisers some that have been in the magazine for most of the 20 years. A list of advertisers follows, many still here and many that did not change with the times and are gone.

In the mid-1990s we started receiving press releases from companies that now had websites, a brand new way to communicate and an event worthy of being called news. Our website was created in 1995 by Internet Advertising columnist, GLEN MORRIS, and is still active today at Today, not having a website would be news. With the proliferation of communication channels, the need to communicate one-on-one with consumers became very important. The advent of Social Media was a giant step in making this possible. It started as a way to give individuals the opportunity to communicate with friends but businesses soon learned that it was possible to communicate one-on-one with their customers through FaceBook, Linkedin and Twitter. And using blogs kept consumers updated on industry news. Now major portions of advertising budgets have moved from traditional media to Social Media.

Following the trend of all publications, two years ago, with the help of Options Multimedia, The Review went online with a page-turning copy of each issue. To keep The Review current on local events, a second website was started in 2010, This site, created by Elevated Third, provided a local site to augment the national news. And now, with the help of Philosophy Communications, The Review is now active in FaceBook and Linkedin.

There is no doubt that the changes over the past 20 years have been significant and will continue, probably at an even faster pace. From receiving all press releases by snail mail to now email, from film and floppy discs to digital files and PDFs, and now direct to press, the world of publishing is radically different. Smart phones, tablets and pads are changing the printed hard copy to online reading. The unknown is, what major changes will be developed that will continue to make change. I hope we are all still around in 20 years to see what those changes are.

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