The Association Non-Dues Revenue Experts

The Townsend Group is a leading advertising, sponsorship and trade show sales management firm for associations. We provide turnkey sales solutions that generate significant revenue for our clients.

We combine smart people, ideas and solutions to turn out strategies that sell.

Unmatched Experience

We work with associations exclusively and have done so for more than 30 years. We’re pros at leveraging the membership advantage to build new revenues and market share.

Consultative Approach

No pushy ad sales here. We aim to build strong relationships with advertisers and create custom programs to match their desired goals.

Seasoned Professionals

Partner with Townsend and you’ll get more than just a sales team. Your business will be supported by a group of dedicated professionals with extensive experience in cross-platform sales, digital optimization, research, creative services, finance and more.

The Complete Package

Our 100% turnkey sales solution allows us to operate as your full service sales department and provide additional services on an as-needed basis, including event management and billing and collections.

Collaborative Partner

Collaboration is in our DNA. We’ll work closely with you to improve and optimize your portfolio of offerings.

Transparent Reporting

We are committed to exceeding our clients’ goals and beating our own personal best. That’s why we believe in providing detailed reports and feedback to demonstrate and measure our success.

Our Services

Turnkey Sales

As your full-service sales team, we will manage all aspects of the sales process from initial outreach to billing and everything in between. Our collaborative approach and robust systems deliver increased revenues and superior service for our clients.

Market Research

Member surveys, readership studies, and focus groups—we’ve done it all. Our research team has extensive experience in survey design, data collection and reporting and is ready to take on your next project.

Video Production

High-quality video, low price tag. Our unique crowdsourcing platform provides access to more than 600 creative directors and animation houses who compete for your video projects.

Content Development

Our editorial team is experienced in creating and delivering content and turnkey content channels for associations to meet member information needs and bring in significant revenue.

Client Successes

AMTA

May 20, 2016
A long time client, the American Massage Therapy Association hired The Townsend Group in 2009 as the sales representative for all print and digital assets as well as exhibits and sponsorships for their two annual events. Over the years, we’ve provided AMTA a full turnkey sales solution. Our scope of work has grown to include a full suite of services such as research guidance, media kit and prospectus design, pricing strategy, sponsorship ideation, on-site rebook and more. Most importantly, we continue to leverage our cross-platform experience and work closely with AMTA to optimize the sales process and increase revenues. We’ve grown the business year after year. With six months left to sell, we’ve already sold as much business for 2016 as we did for all of 2015.  

NAA

May 20, 2016
A loyal advertiser and sponsor of the National Apartment Association, The Home Depot wanted to explore fresh and creative ways to connect with apartment industry professionals. To meet The Home Depot’s objective, our sales and editorial teams collaborated with NAA and their design team to develop an exclusively sponsored e-newsletter called Partner Perspectives, which featured prominent sponsor recognition and content position that delivered relevant information to NAA members. In addition, we deployed a custom research survey to gather data related to NAA member preferences for maintenance, repair, and operations suppliers and products. The final product was well recieved by NAA and its members and positioned The Home Depot as a thought-leader in the apartment housing industry. What’s more, The Home Depot used the research data to inform their advertising schedule, in which they increased overall spending and the frequency of their custom content placements.  

News and Resources

How editors can make analytics work to their advantage

November 2, 2016
Analytics aren’t just for IT teams and senior analytics directors. Editors should also have a knowledge of and expertise using web analytics, because it can give them deeper insight into their audiences and enhance their publications. Analytics are important to editorial teams because they gave editors a deeper insight into their audiences, into who audience members are, when they visit, what they consume, like and dislike. Editorial analytics can inform reportage, editorial decision making, and strategy. Analytics help set editorial priorities when editors have lists of what is popular, trends, headlines, story formats and frameworks. And, analytics can also be used by editors to determine what doesn’t do well, as well as things that could be cut back. The analytics Fortune outlined that she cared about included data on audience size, geography, preferences, likes and wants. “What you look at is determined in part by the business goals of the company and what they tell you to monetize or what is important to your site,” she said. In the past, Fortune said, publishers and editors would get insight from experts running focus groups or doing research. Now, analytics data provides editorial teams with much quicker, more in-depth insight and can provide brand-specific benchmarks of performance. Through this, editors can determine whether an article is successful or whether it underperformed, using data specific to their publications. “It allows us, and this is something we don’t always like as editors, to challenge our assumptions,” she said. “We might think a certain topic is a perfect fit for our audience, but the data could tell us otherwise.” Analytics help set editorial priorities. For Fortune, this means doing deep dives into the analytics of the Chatelaine website and social feeds, to gauge past performance of editorial packages and content pillars. For example, in her most recent deep dive into the site analytics, Fortune said there were definite learnings from year to year, especially when it came to holiday gift guides. “The thing that was most surprising was how well articles on stocking stuffers did,” she explained. “Double or triple what other types of gift guides we were doing. So, this year, there will be more stocking stuffers.” Fortune’s deep dives are an annual occurrence, where she takes a couple of days to study the results of the last year’s traffic. These deep dives inform Fortune about how well the site content matched audiences needs, wants and likes. For editors who have never done a deep dive into analytics data, Fortune suggests first to discover whether site traffic is growing or shrinking. “And, by how much?” she asked. “Where does it come from? What are the pathways to your content? Search engines, social media, other sites? What are the most important topics or categories on your site? And, what percentage of the site’s overall traffic does each category get?” With Chatelaine, she explained, content pillars include health, style, living, news, home décor and food. “I look at the traffic each is getting, and I rank

The advertising industry’s trust problem

September 30, 2016
With advertising agencies under extreme pressures to turn profits and to leverage the latest trends, clients are getting the short end. We’re now experiencing an industry wide trust problem. Advertising Week, an annual stretch of industry meetings that began on September 26th in New York, is usually defined by schmoozing and self-congratulation. This year’s event has been marred by suspicion. In the week leading up to it, Dentsu Aegis, a big agency, admitted over-billing by its digital-ad division in Japan; and Facebook, a tech giant, said it had inflated the average time people spent watching video ads. Such revelations have reinforced existing concerns among advertisers that they are having the wool pulled over their eyes when it comes to online advertisements. At an Advertising Week panel on “trust” on September 28th, Bob Liodice, the chief executive of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), spoke of broad doubts among his members. It was not meant to be like this. Half of an advertiser’s budget is wasted, says the industry’s favorite truism, but no one knows which half. Digital ads were supposed to help. Cookies and other tags would direct the right advertisements to the right people, based on their activity online. Digital tools would track which ads inspire consumers to buy products. Indeed, on September 21st Facebook announced new methods to do just that. But as advertisers have gained greater control in some respects, they have lost it in others. One fear is practical: that they are paying for online ads that consumers don’t see, either because they are shown to robots, or tucked in obscure slots. Two underlying concerns are harder to address. The first is that Facebook and Google have simply become too dominant. Last year the pair accounted for more than 75% of online-ad growth in America, according to Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a venture-capital firm. “Google and Facebook have added a lot of value to our marketplace,” says Mr Liodice. “They also raise concerns.” Marketers are particularly worried by a lack of transparency. Facebook’s inflated numbers did not lead to over-billing, but may have prompted companies to advertise more on it. Google and Facebook have started to allow third parties to verify some data, but many metrics remain proprietary. The second concern is that ad agencies are not acting in their clients’ interests. In Japan, “clients are sort of at the mercy of the ad agency,” says Jason Karlin, who studies the industry at the University of Tokyo. In America an investigation backed by the ANA found that agencies were buying ad space and reselling it to clients at markups of up to 90%. Some agencies were also collecting undisclosed rebates from media firms for buying ad space. The agencies’ trade group, the 4As, blasted the report as “one-sided”. There are glimmers of change. The ANA has devised a model contract to protect its members’ interests. The recent outcry may prompt Facebook and Google to be more open. Facebook says it will let

7 reasons why print should be part of a multi-channel approach

September 8, 2016
While print undoubtedly still delivers engagement, it has to be part of a multi-channel approach, where the customer is now at the center. Here, in our final part of our series on the role of print in a digital age five global content marketing experts share their views on why it’s essential that print is integrated into a multi-channel approach. 1. Print and digital are no longer separate mediums: Keith Sedlak, Executive Vice President, General Manager at Manifest says: “Marketers need to stop thinking about print and digital as separate mediums-they work together. It’s more about where and when people want to consume content, that will dictate the format for which they’re consuming it. Brands now need to consider where people consume media, whether it’s online, on a mobile app, in a retail setting, on a billboard or in print; it’s all about the when, where and how and then the formats the content will take dictate themselves.” 2. Audience preference comes first: Keith Sedlak says: “It’s about relevance, and not about a world of print vs digital. We have a relevance formula that we use which all depends on the personality of the brand, (ensuring a relatable, authentic voice) the topic you’re using, how adaptive it is, (graduate small bets to big wins) and its presence (creating value around the conversation)-if you touch on those four things your content becomes more relevant and audiences become more engaged. Therefore, understanding where your audiences are going to consume content and in what format, makes you a better, more valuable brand.” 3. A multi-channel approach is cost effective: Sean King, CEO of Seven and publisher of Sainsbury’s Magazine in the UK says: “If a client asked us to do a magazine on its own, we’d probably say that doesn’t makes sense, because the real cost and value comes in creating the content. If we are spending a significant sum of money on teams and the right editors, writers, photographers, all those just to live on a print platform and not anywhere on digital channels, that’s not the right way to go. We recommend a multichannel approach to all our clients. They might not want all channels, but we want as wide a distribution as we can, on which ever channel is relevant.” 4. Print is no longer the hub of the wheel: Tony Silber, Vice President from Folio, says: “Print brands have to evolve to be successful. In 1973 Folio was just a print magazine. By the late 1970s it had a really strong trade show. Then it had a directory, which was really big. In the early 2000s, it launched a digital business which had several components; one of which was a twice weekly newsletter, another was a monthly webinar business, plus we created a strong digital advertising business on that website too. We did content marketing with our big advertising partners which was major business for us, not so much anymore. Over the years Folio has acquired a couple of awards programs which have proven to be very successful. You just have to keep looking for market opportunities. Print is still

Why Publishers Need a Digital Liaison for Selling Online Advertising

August 17, 2016
There are near universal advertising sales hurdles as business information providers morph from publishers to media companies. There are famous examples of companies like Penton, Source Media, Randall-Reilly and others who have already gone through this. One constant in those flagship stories is the need to change company culture, often requiring significant turnover in the sales department. I talk with plenty of companies who are still figuring out digital products and sales. Yet as I sat down to write I wondered if this might sound like we’re only talking about small publishers. Most B2B publishers who undertake this transition don’t have the organizational size, or private equity money those mentioned have, to absorb such wholesale transition and recruitment costs. Last week’s news about Time Inc. reminds me otherwise. You have probably read they are killing the publisher role. By any name, what Time is doing is overhauling their ad sales procedures. It was the lead story in every media trade newsletter and the perfect reminder everyone is still learning best practices in media sales. When I recently heard Ryan Dohrn suggest publishers should appoint a Director of Advertising Integration, it resonated with me. I see many publishers grapple with the concept of selling banner ads versus selling well-packaged online ad programs. I am convinced the latter is the path to success. That title Ryan suggests sounded like it addressed this need. Dohrn has 25 years of experience selling ads and managing ad sales teams. He is a widely respected ad sales trainer and consultant and founder of Brain Swell Media. Dohrn sees many publishers struggling to sell digital advertising. A common problem is how sales organizations are structured as publishers transition from print-centric to multi-channel media companies. (Or at least as they try to sell more online advertising.) Many simply add online advertising to a rate card and send the heretofore print advertising sales staff off to sell both. Of the hundreds of sales reps he works with, says Dohrn, “I know two (former print-only) reps who do this particularly well.” He sees salespeople wondering, “‘Why am I going to sell a $500 digital ad* when I can sell a $5,000 print ad?'” It surprised me Dohrn still sees a substantial number of publishers who deploy one team selling print and separate salespeople selling digital advertising. It is an attempt to hold onto salespeople who have deep ties to a given industry and the ad buyers, without having to make them digital ad experts. “It creates confusion and it’s annoying to the buyers to have one more meeting” about the same media brand, says Dohrn.   The Digital Liaison Enter the Director of Advertising Integration. Dohrn refers to this role as digital liaison, regardless of title. He says it is not necessarily full time at first. He suggests cultivating someone in your organization who has knowledge of social media and digital advertising, from a technical and/or generational perspective. She or he becomes the go-to person working with ad sales, answering the sales team’s

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