AAN plans to hire a sales manager to sell classified ads and manage the association’s AAN CAN classified network. The new sales manager will ultimately replace Manager of Sales and Marketing Elaine Clisham and Classified and Technology Manager Jimmy Askew, both of whom will be leaving the organization to pursue other opportunities.
According to AAN Executive Director Richard Karpel, the new sales manager will be responsible for handling all aspects of the AAN CAN network, including sales and marketing, ad placement, maintaining ad standards, and tracking invoices and payments. Depending on the experience level of the person who is hired, the new manager may also oversee the display and classified committees and develop programming and coordinate speakers for sales programming at AAN West and the annual convention, Karpel says.
Askew, who presently manages the AAN CAN program, plans to attend law school beginning in the fall. He has worked at AAN since 1998 and will continue working for the organization until mid-June, following the convention in Pittsburgh. He will be available to provide training for the new sales manager.
“Jimmy is smart and industrious, and he’s also a wonderful, caring individual,” says Karpel. “He is going to be difficult to replace. We’re really going to miss him when he leaves.”
Meanwhile, Clisham has accepted a newly created position as marketing director of the American Press Institute in Reston, Va. She came to AAN in September 2002 from the New Jersey Press Association. Her last day at AAN will be Friday, Jan. 17, although she we will attend the AAN West conference next month to present previously scheduled panels and seminars. “Elaine is a great employee,” Karpel says. “We’re disappointed that her stay was so short, but we wish her all the luck in the world in her new position.”
AAN CAN was launched in November 2000 and enjoyed uninterrupted growth until the beginning of the organization’s new fiscal year, in October 2002. Since then sales have fallen more than 30 percent.
Karpel notes that the AAN office has never previously taken an active role in selling ads into the network, relying instead on the combined sales effort of classified reps at its member papers.
“It always surprises people to learn this, but AAN CAN went from zero to $880,000 in annual sales in less than two years, without any internal sales effort on our part,” he says. “Now that the program accounts for 70 percent of our income and sales have begun to decline, we can’t afford to continue that laissez-faire approach.”
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