One of our greatest concerns as a trade magazine is that we don’t want to wear out our welcome. That is, we know you are being hammered from every angle, on so-called social media, with ads disguised as editorial and with magazines that purport to be reader-focused when, in fact, they don’t meet the standard definition of a magazine: they are catalogues.
Each November, we do our annual survey of our readers, and, as noted above, we are concerned that you are being surveyed to death. I know for myself that I am asked to “review” every hotel, every trip, every Amazon purchase to the point it has become both ridiculous and irritating.
So the first question we asked was whether the surveys are coming too often. To our surprise and appreciation, out of 587 respondents, 489 said the frequency is “just right,” and another 47 said it is not often enough. This, of course, is bad news for the 51 that said they come too often. As an incentive to answer next time, all I can offer is my sincere appreciation for them offering their time, since providing a draw or a coupon or such skews the results.
Living in today, happy with the magazine
This time, we decided to use direct telephone contact as our survey mode. It is substantially more expensive than using a digital, hosted-survey application, such as Survey Monkey. By phoning, we were able to qualify every respondent as either a business owner or manager, and we did not offer the survey to such associated readers as educators and students, suppliers, government or primary-side recipients.
Naturally, our eyes are drawn first to the reader-approval question, and we were once again pleased to see that only 71 respondents (12 percent) see Wood Industry as courting the suppliers over the readers, and 20 (3 percent) did not respond to that question. That leaves 496 (85 percent) that believe Wood Industry either puts the readers’ interests first or is balanced, and this is our goal.
Our population is aging and succession is becoming an area of interest, so we asked about retirement. To our surprise, only (38 6.5 percent) respondents said they think about retirement once a day. Conversely, 115 (20 percent) said they never think about it. Seven respondents did not reply to that question, with the remainder saying they think about it often, rarely or once in a while.
There was more to report. We especially appreciated the suggestion by one reader that we incorporate a bikini-babe page. I ran that one by Wife, and I’m certain it won’t happen.
One question we wish we had asked was kind of the reverse of succession. That is, how did you come to own or manage your company? The recent U.S. election highlighted once again how sincere some political groups are in their belief that you should pay more taxes so they can have more stuff, and they seem to base that belief on the idea that you never had to work a day in your life, your company was handed to you on a silver platter and you have no idea what it’s like to be financially stressed. So I would like to know how many of you inherited your company, versus how many scraped together some money for some equipment and opened a shop on a prayer.
You can expect to see that question next year, and I would appreciate your feedback on any question you would like to see asked of your peers.
Again, thanks to all the respondents. We know you offered up your time and your wisdom to help us put this little brief together, and we are confident you are advancing your own interests and those of the industry by participating.