Each year MSDN Magazine, part of CMP which also publishes Dr. Dobbs, invite their advertisers for a customer appreciation ski weekend in Stowe, VT.  Friday, my wife and I arrived at about 3:00pm after leaving our two kids off with some family.  Yay, no kids!  Since the lifts closed at 4pm, I decided to ski up to the top of Mt. Mansfield, the highest peak in Vermont, on my cross country skis.  It took 1h 10min from the Stowe Mountain Inn to the summit, and only about 15 minutes from the summit back to the lodge just in time for cocktails and an open bar!  Those beers were extra effective after that workout!


Above are photos from the summit.  And yes, those are my skinny cross country skis, not downhill!  Each of the three days I was on different skis.  Day one was cross country, day 2 Alpine, and day 3 Telemark.

I'm pretty sure that this party was mostly for east coasters.  A few component companies attended including ComponentArt (driving 8 hours from Toronto), Nevron (from Bulgaria and New Jersey), Accusoft (a competitor from the Boston Area), Northwoods (from New Hampshire) and others in the software development industry such as Altova, PreEmptive, Microsoft, and the CMP crew. 

I had some interesting conversations about Eric Sink's blog post on the Eventual Death of Developer Magazines.  Some publications are definitely showing major signs of struggle, which I'm sure is what prompted his article.  There is a 'shake up' going on, but I do think print will always have it's place for software developers and vendors; just not quite as prevalant as in the past.  For now, it seems that print advertising is still a great way to establish a brand and customer confidence.  Customer's realize that any company who can spend the money to advertise consistently in a magazine, (and similarly exhibit at trade shows), is a factor in the market.  The trouble with these advertising mediums is that measuring effectiveness is very subjective.  I sure believe it's had a great impact on our company becoming a success, but I can't prove it.  It's easy to waste a lot of money on expensive print advertising.  Print advertising has to be considered a branding effort which takes months or even years in the making.  You can't expect many new customers from an ad the first month or two it appears, although no-one will complain if it happens anyway.  The real effectiveness of print advertising is when a year from the first ad someone has a business need, starts a web search, and recognizes the company from multiple print ads, web searches, a favorite reseller, etc.  And I think that print ads show a lot more legitimacy when used together with search engine keyword advertising as opposed to using keywords only.  I think Eric from SourceGear is making a mistake by pulling out of all magazine publications.  Over time it might hurt.  I'd really be interested in hearing from our customers who read this blog.  Was it many factors that led you to Atalasoft, or one specifically?  Please submit your comments, or send us an email.

Of course, the best part of magazine advertising is the free ski weekends.  Thanks CMP!!