After two round trips shuttling three fascinating magazine industry execs from Memphis to Oxford – with not one but two wrong way turns – The Inn at Ole Miss’ dinner was calling my name. Friendly bartenders greeted me, offering a complimentary glass of wine.
The duo of executives from Norway seemed to be enjoying conversation at the first table I greeted, so I found a chair and joined them just as Dr. Samir Husni opened the conference and dinner was served. Perfect timing. Welcome to the ACT5 Experience. The gentleman to my right from Quad Graphics engaged me in conversation, so my bites were few though chicken with sun-dried tomatoes and black olives kept beckoning. Round tables with students interspersed among magazines’ finest filled the ballroom.
The first evening of the annual magazine conference launched smoothly. Coffee was being served as a student introduced Roy Reiman, who insisted of all magazine conferences, ACT5 is best. Naturally Ole Miss students agreed, after weeks of preparation culminated this evening. Mr Reiman said those in the magazine business are “doers, not dreamers.” When he began with fourteen magazines in print sans advertisements, 1 in 8 American homes subscribed. He said, “Emphasis on creativity and content is a goal for all magazines.”
The limitations Reiman sets for his magazines set them apart from the competition. Each issue features only 84 pages and ads use just 20% of page space. Using his unique approach, advertisers line up to be included in his exclusive publications. In fact, 84% of his advertisers sign on for multiple issue contracts and 50% have full year contracts. Reiman’s Virtual Salesperson Cal posts quips and stories about why he never shows up, since a salesperson is not on staff at his magazines.
To further engage the reader, inventive contests provide prizes from advertisers. “Make it different, then make it better,” said Reiman. “Creativity is the engine that powers publishing.” He reminded the audience that mistakes “show you how to do things right!” As Mr. Reiman said, “Right on!”