And the survey says. . .

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Julie Ritchie has been conducting market research at Penton (the company that publishes H&P) for more than 20 years. As is typical of the “old-time” Penton people, Julie takes pride in her work and absolutely will not sacrifice credibility. Julie sent me a copy of a readership survey, which was e-mailed at random to 10,000 subscribers — about 1/5th of our total. It looks like a very accurate survey because the results mirror the facts. One fact is that of our total of 51,021 qualified subscribers, 6478, or 12.7%, receive the digital version of H&P. In Julie’s survey, 14% indicated that they receive the digital version. That’s not exact, but it’s pretty close, and probably excellent results for a random sample survey. As with most surveys, this one consisted mainly of multiple choice questions. This makes it easy to tabulate results and post them into charts and graphs. But what I really like about Julie’s surveys is that she gives participants an opportunity to enter comments in their own words. Question #3 of the survey asked readers why they prefer to receive the magazine in the format they do — print or digital. The top three responses among print subscribers were that it’s easier to read, it can be read any time, and it’s easier to carry, in that order. But I was surprised at the #1 answer among those receiving the magazine through their computer: it’s environmentally friendly. Now this is purely speculation, but I presume that the average age of these readers is less than the average age of readers who receive the magazine in print. If this is true, then you could conclude that the younger readers are more likely to conserve paper than the older ones are. If this is true, then techniques for designing more environmentally friendly fluid power systems must be of keen interest to these younger readers, and I suspect it is. But this is nothing new. We’ve stepped up our coverage relating fluid power systems to the environment for years. This survey was conducted primarily for demographics, to learn the information-gathering habits of the “typical” reader. But Julie also conducts surveys to find out what type of information readers are looking for — what they like, don’t like, what they’d like to see more of, etc. So when the time comes for that kind of survey, I’ll be eager to see if environmental issues are among the top interests of readers.

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Alan Hitchcox

Alan joined Hydraulics & Pneumatics in 1987 with experience as a technical magazine editor and in industrial sales. He graduated with a BS in engineering technology from Franklin University and...
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