CFJ and CFA: who does what?

Richard Catt, in this letter to marketing professionals, explains the differences between the CFA and CFJ.

THIS month’s article is specifically aimed at addressing something we know causes confusion, the relationship between CFA and CFJ. Fundamentally (and contractually as it happens) Kick-start (publishers of CFJ) is our media partner of choice, but we are nevertheless, two separate organisations.

So what confusion am I talking about? It can be as simple as someone ringing up CFJ to become a member of the CFA and conversely someone ringing the CFA to receive a monthly copy of CFJ. CFA sometimes get calls relating to advertising in CFJ and CFA members sometimes ring CFJ to update on a change of address or add a name to our database.

Both of us will gladly help, but equally can’t action because we’re fundamentally separate businesses. Payments have also been made to the wrong party, not always something that is easy to untangle. We share no directors, management or admin team. But I suppose it doesn’t help that the acronyms are only one letter apart!

I’m also told, that in marketing circles, the CFA and CFJ are sometimes considered in the same conversation and under the same budget heading. If that is intentional, then of course it’s not my concern, but if it’s because it’s thought that our activities are the same and should be considered in the same breath, that might be a mistake and a missed opportunity. A basic example of this might be membership of the CFA.

However, it could extend to editorial and advertising in a CFA supplement. As our media partners, CFJ manage these publications but they’re not directly connected to placements in CFJ. What prompts me to raise this is that only recently I was talking to a marketing manager who’s been in our industry for 18 years, and she professed that the CFA supplements were a bit of a mystery. ‘Who owns them?’ She asked, ‘who are they aimed at?’ she continued and finally ‘what is their reach?’.

Have we ever explained, I thought?

With that in mind, my article this month finishes with a brief description of each supplement. But I start with a couple of common factors such as the fact that the advertising is managed on our behalf, by Kick-start as our media partners.

They’re all initially distributed as a supplement with CFJ to its 7,000 readers and then at CFA events, external events and exhibitions we attend. By supporting our supplements, you’re supporting the CFA and our wider aims. All content and intellectual property is owned by the CFA.

The CFA Members’ Handbook

• Publishing date: September each year
• Content: A hard copy version of the CFA database of members
• Includes: Enhanced entries available for CFA members including a logo and 150 words to explain what your business does best or differently
• Advertising: Is available for each section but is for CFA members only. Contact
• Audience: Aimed at specifiers, designers, flooring contractors, distributors and manufacturers and unveiled at Harrogate
• Comment: We still like a bit of hard copy in the flooring industry. The CFA Members’ Handbook provides a quality supply chain for specifiers, from manufacturer through distributors to contractor. Many representatives carry a CFA Members’ Handbook as a starting point for who they should be dealing with and everyone checks out who’s new in their area. CFA provides the basic database to CFJ and Stuart Bourne (advertising director at CFJ) then becomes the point of contact for enhanced entries and advertising.

The CFA Training Guide
• Publishing date: January each year
• Content: The definitive Guide for everything related to training in the flooring industry
• Includes: Manufacturers’ courses, grant funding information, updates on CSCS cards and details of the apprenticeship standards and who delivers them.
• Advertising: Is available to CFA and non-CFA members. A great place to promote any training a manufacturer might offer. Contact
• Audience: Primarily aimed at the flooring contractor; it nonetheless is a great way for manufacturers to engage with training and demonstrate a commitment.
• Comment: Like all our supplements, it has a digital footprint too and Lisa Thompson, our marketing executive ( regularly tweets about items of interest from within the CFA suite of publications.

The CFA Training Guide invites relevant editorial and includes content such as the CFA’s Flooring Apprentice of the Year competition. Content for the Training Guide should be sent to Shaun Wadsworth, CFA’s training manager ( Advertising is again handled by Stuart Bourne at CFJ.

The CFA Guide to Sustainability
• Publishing date: From 2020 it will be March each year
• Content: An ongoing conversation highlighting environmental matters in the flooring industry
• Includes: Heavily editorially led by David Strydom, the Guide to Sustainability invites a vast range of contributors to submit articles that fit in with that year’s theme.
• Advertising: Is available for each section to CFA and non-CFA members. A great place to promote best practice and show a commitment to environmental issues. Contact
• Audience: With a wide appeal, the Sustainability Guide might be read by architects and specifiers looking for inspiration, or a contractor looking for a solution or a partner on a project they’ve won with an environmentally-led client.
• Comment: The CFA Guide to Sustainability is an invaluable ‘go to’ publication that is one of the elements that keeps the CFA relevant as an industry voice with government. Editorial content should be directed to David Strydom ( and again advertising is handled by Stuart.

The CFA Guide to Contract Flooring
• Publishing date: Every five years. Next due in June 2022
• Content: The definitive free technical publication for the flooring industry. Referencing British Standards, it also includes industry best practice and an opportunity to show new developments. Ideas and approaches developed in the Guide to Contract Flooring are often adopted by the relevant British Standard committee. Think moisture measurement.
• Includes: All types of floorcoverings, subfloor materials and ancillary products. Easy-to-access sections provide clear guidelines and always refer to British Standards as a base line.
• Advertising: Is available for each section but is only available to CFA members. Contact
• Audience: Anyone who might need to know how a certain type of flooring is laid can use the CFA Guide to Contract Flooring. Particularly when you must pay for the British Standard, it’s unique in that all materials are covered within the same publication.
• Comment: The CFA Guide to Contract Flooring is very popular in its digital format and can be downloaded from the CFA website ( It’s developed by industry for industry and thus its accuracy and credibility run deep. Content is developed through the CFA manufacturers’ committee and any updates for consideration should be submitted to Advertising is as usual Stuart.

The purpose of this letter to marketing professionals has been to clear up a few areas of misperception and in so doing hopefully generate a better understanding of what we (CFA and CFJ) both do, particularly around publications.
CFJ is the leading trade journal in the industry. It has a strong independent voice and I believe that CFA complements it beautifully. But to complement something you must be different and so I hope the above explains a little more of how we are similar in aim, work closely together on projects such as the CFJ / CFA awards, but are equally different.
0115 9411126
Richard Catt is ceo of the CFA