Asking for the family jewels

The value of ABM’s 2012 Managing Profits Report

As a business journalist with almost two decades of experience reporting on private companies, I know full well that there are some data which company execs just will not divulge. They seldom reveal their revenue. Not a peep on their profits. Ask them for a detailed breakdown of their expenses and revenue streams, and you might as well be asking them to take off their clothes. It just doesn’t happen.

So imagine my surprise and wonder when I joined ABM earlier this year and learned that the association has a history of getting member companies to reveal the most intimate details of their operations. The last time the association had the resources to run this kind of research was in 2008, for fiscal year 2007. I was brought on to bring that report up to date.

A lot has changed since 2007, not least of which is a shift from print operations to include digital and event revenue sources. But one thing that has not changed is the willingness of companies to grant access to the family jewels. Members trust their association with this data, and ABM has a track record of utmost discretion. Moreover, the value of the research more than offsets the business community’s traditional reticence. Being able to get back the aggregated data for all participating companies, in the form of widely used, fundamental benchmarks, is an immensely valuable part of being an ABM member.

ABM’s 2012 Managing Profits Report is now out and available to any member of the association. Make sure you are logged into the website, and then click the link on the Research Reports page to download the latest PDF.

Because the data is so useful, this report is available to all ABM members, not solely to participants. However, the validity of the data depends on getting as many members as possible to participate. For the 2012 report, about one-quarter of the membership participated. As a special thank you to the companies that made this research possible, ABM offers these participants a custom report based on the data that looks specifically at intelligence useful to their business. Here are some examples of custom reports that a participating company might request:

  • A company might like a deeper look at how audience development expenses relate to profitability, with some examples of typical audience development expenditures for brands based on revenue and audience size. The company might like to see exactly where its own brands place on graphs of such results.
  • A company might want a look at print expenses and revenue sources based on magazine circulation size, revenue and frequency, with a comparison to data from five years ago.
  • A company might want a closer look at average revenue per user data, including typical ARPU ranges for brands using varied revenue models, and comparing that to their own brands.

Data from these custom projects may be used in future editions of the research, with complete anonymity for the companies who originally requested the data, of course. For more information on custom analysis for participating companies, please contact:

Michael Moran Alterio
Research and Content Director, ABM

By Michael Moran Alterio