Every October, the Keats line, “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” comes to mind (somewhere, a college lit professor from my past rejoices). I love the sights, smells, and tastes of autumn, especially in New England, with its famous fall foliage. But for me, October not only means apple cider and roasted squash, the sudden ubiquity of pumpkin spice-flavored everything, and a rash of bizarre behavior (this year, it’s scary clown incidents), but also the annual trek to Germany for the Frankfurt Buchmesse/Book Fair.

Like many of my colleagues, I was in awe when I first saw the Frankfurt festhalle. I’d been told it was bigger than any conference I’d ever seen, and it did not disappoint. Now the sheer size of the event is less overwhelming to me, and I’ve even committed some shortcuts through the complex to memory, but my annual visit to Frankfurt always reminds me that—despite all the prognostications to the contrary—publishing is a vital industry with a bright future. And, like the beginning of a new school year, the Frankfurt Book Fair offers the promise of meeting old friends and making new ones.

I’m particularly excited about coming to Frankfurt in 2016 because I’m visiting in a new role this year. Before joining RedLink back in May, I had always worked for publishers and had never sold technology, so now I will be experiencing Frankfurt from another perspective—as a vendor.

My previous experience comes in handy in this new gig. RedLink’s foundational product for publishers, Publisher Dashboard, provides business intelligence based on usage and turnaway data in a very useful, visual style. The product’s charts and comparisons help sales teams mitigate risk and identify opportunities across their institutional customer base. As someone with sales experience, I truly appreciate the power of using data and analysis to make decisions and inform strategy in sales and marketing. (In fact, at this point I can’t imagine working without a business intelligence solution of some kind—selling without one would almost feel like, say, doing a research project without internet access.)

At this meeting, I’ll also be introducing publishers to a product currently in development, SiteLeads™. While Publisher Dashboard shows publishers activity from current and past customers, SiteLeads™ tells them about potential customers outside their current base by identifying institutions trying to access their content. Even better, it provides data and context to help teams close the sale when they approach these prospects. This is something most publishers could not do on their own without investing quite a bit of time and resource, and I’m excited to see how they react when we introduce them to SiteLeads™ next week.

In short, I’m looking forward to this year’s Frankfurt more than ever. Not so long ago, I was working in publishing, looking for new ways to grow my business, and now I’ll be at the Fair not only to make new friends and hear about new products and ideas, but also to present a new solution that adds real value for publishers. I’m really pleased to be in a new position that enables me to help my colleagues address their challenges and identify new opportunities. On behalf of everyone at RedLink, we hope to see you there!

— Mary Beth Barilla, Director of Publisher Relations