We often argue about whether people in publishing see it as a business. Some do, that’s for sure, and the CEOs at big companies are certainly bottom-line focused. But there is still a disconnect between editorial and marketing (and between editorial and technology, but that’s another story). I met someone recently who said that at the newspaper he worked at the advertising department was known as the Dark Side; I’m sure it’s called that and worse in Dilbert.
This is a challenge for those who lead, especially for those of us who aspire to create solid businesses that do well, you might say, by doing good. We’ve cringed at young editorial staffers who say, “Well, I guess marketing’s a necessary evil,” not realizing that it takes sales to pay their salaries, and that it takes marketing to get the wonderful publications they’ve helped create into people’s hands and screens.
I just finished my article on the business of reference for the September issue of Against the Grain, so you’ll be able to read more there about “Making Reference.” I managed to slip in a reference to Mr. Toad, from Wind in the Willows. Any guesses about who in publishing reminds me of Mr. Toad?