By Jim Borneman, Editor In Chief
There is a very special In Memoriam in this issue of Textile World for Douglas C. Billian, founder and chairman of Billian Publishing Inc. — publisher of Textile World,Textiles Panamericanos and Textile World Asia.
Mr. Billian had a great passion for publishing and founded Billian Publishing after retiring from McGraw-Hill Publishing Co. Ironically, while at McGraw-Hill, he was responsible for moving
then-McGraw-Hill publication Textile World from New York City to Atlanta. Mr. Billian, with his own firm, published America’s Textiles International (ATI) magazine and went head-to-head with TW in serving the textile industry. Later, he closed the circle, purchasing TW and continuing its publication to this day.
Mr. Billian always spoke about the importance of a quality business press and nurturing the connection between readers and content that readers would find valuable.
In his view, for an industry to flourish, it needs a quality business magazine to function as a platform for ideas, to highlight innovations, to feature new technology, and shine a light on industry leaders and the industry’s leading companies. He also believed all publications could be improved.
Mr. Billian was a strong believer in marketing and branding. He built countless programs for businesses in publications like Purchasing Week, Business Week and Golf World (which he owned and later sold). To him, it was crystal clear that an investment in branding paid dividends in sales. He used to say, “Advertising’s sole purpose is to reduce the cost of sales.” His presentation was classic and was built around the six steps to selling: contact; raise awareness; establish preference; propose; close; and repeat. In his view, a branding campaign with advertising achieved making contact with a broad audience of potential customers, raised awareness of the brand and its products, and helped build a preferred brand image in the industry. That being done, all salespeople needed to do were to make a sales proposal, close the sale and repeat the process.
Mr. Billian was much more than an advertising advocate: He enjoyed the textile industry and the people associated with the industry, and he always spoke fondly of ITMA and ATME-I. In good years and bad, often investing significant sums of capital, he would always make sure the industry had a quality business magazine.
Billian Publishing grew through the years to publish various titles, and today is a leading source of data on the U.S. healthcare system. With its origins in the Pocket Guide to Southern Hospitals and later Billian’s Hospital Blue Book, Billian’s HealthDATA has become the nation’s leading healthcare data portal.
As an Eagle Scout who earned three Palms by the age of 15, Mr. Billian was a lifelong supporter of the Boy Scouts and often referred to the Scout Law. He also made great contributions
of time and shared his financial skills philanthropically with organizations in Atlanta.
Mr. Billian created opportunities for many individuals to succeed. His leadership, incredible work ethic, generosity, drive, and dedication to the textile industry will be missed.