Phone 888 522 8747 Cell 503 784 4749
Speaker Writer Marketing Coach

Archive for March, 2011

Email This Post Email This Post

What is the difference between marketing and promotion??

My degree is in Marketing, so I’ll give you the classical definitions, which I still use today when approaching a client’s project.


Marketing involves the "4 P’s" - Product, Price, Place and Promotion. A marketing plan looks at everything from the appropriateness of the Product for its market (target markets, competition, quality of the product, production values, etc.), how it is Priced in the market (low cost leader, price leader, value play, etc.), where it will be sold (Place) which for books is mostly about what types of distribution and outlets will be used, and finally Promotion - which people usually think of as "marketing" but you can now see, it is only one piece of marketing.


In big companies the marketing department sets the strategies and direction for the product or product line, then other parts of the company implement those strategies - sales, PR, communications, etc. As small presses, we do it all, but that doesn’t make it any less important to think about how all of these pieces function together.


There is nothing more disappointing to get a client who says "I’ve done all this ‘marketing’ for my book and spent all this money on advertising (part of promotion) and my book isn’t selling - what’s wrong?" Then I find out that the only place it can be purchased is on iUniverse’s (or some other POD publisher) website or just as bad, their just launched website. They have totally gotten the cart before the horse. You must have distribution before spending money or time on promotion. I’ve had similar horror stories with pricing problems and product problems. It ALL has to work together - product, price, place and promotion.


Back to promotion for a moment - promotion is made up of two major components in the book industry (well, any industry actually) - push and pull marketing - and again, you need to do both. Push marketing is "trade" marketing - getting your potential distribution partners interested in carrying your book - this can be trade reviews, ads in PW, attending BEA, etc. - these are book trade outlets. Pull marketing is what you do once you have your distribution set up - this is internet, broadcast, print and live presentations - things that are targeted towards your potential audience - getting them to go purchase your book. Remember - 7 impressions to make a sale - this is where pull marketing comes in (you pull the sales through the channels). In my opinion, you shouldn’t just focus on internet marketing - it is necessary to be wherever your potential readers are - and getting the word out via print media (newspapers and magazines), broadcast media (TV and radio) and doing live appearances are all valuable pieces of your plan and need to all be pulled into a coordinated effort.


A third type of marketing is what Seth Godin calls building your tribe - this is really the old institutional or branding marketing - building a name for yourself and your products. That should start well before the book is out - even up to a year isn’t too soon.


To drill down a little further on promotions, you have paid promotion which is called advertising - you get to tell your story however you want - you paid for it. The other type of promotion is publicity (whether via print, broadcast, or internet) and this is what most of us focus on (most small publishers can’t really afford much advertising). With publicity, you don’t get to advertise your product - the publicity outlet is telling a story of some type (news or entertainment) and you hope to be a part of it - these stories are much more powerful than advertising when you get featured as an expert or as an example in the story.

Hopefully that explains the difference between marketing and promotion.

Like it? Recommend it


Email This Post Email This Post

Marketing Gurus and Publicists - Who does what?

In my opinion, there is only one huge  reason to hire a PR firm - who they know. Just sending out an email "blast" - you can do that for yourself.

What a true PR professional (I’m not one!) brings to the table is a virtual "rolodex" of media names in your industry (very important) who will listen when this professional sends a story lead to them. They trust this person and know that if he/she sends the lead - they should consider it. It is the rifle approach vs the shotgun. I don’t think shotguns work very well (<:

A marketing professional (I am one) brings a different set of skills to the table. They look at your project from a holistic view. They consider all parts of the project and how to best market it. They work with such things as:

* Who is the target market? How large is it? How easy is it to reach?

* Is the product produced appropriately for the market? Is the language the right level? Are the graphics appropriate, Is it well-edited?

* What is the competition? How does this book stack up against the competition?

* What is the unique "hook" that this project brings? How does it fit in with the competition?

* Is the book priced correctly for the market? Can it be distributed at that price and make money?

* How should the product be distributed to meet the authors/publishers goals? What has to be done to get it distributed to the correct channels?

* How do each of the appropriate channels fit into the overall sales mix? Does that mix create profits?

* And lastly, how should this product be promoted? What mix of publicity and/or advertising will be needed to meet the sales goals?

* Does the author have the funds to meet those goals? If not, what can be done to modify the sales goals and/or increase exposure within the budget?

* Which methods is the publisher/author willing to employ to sell the book? Live presentations? Internet? Print? Broadcast? Everyone has their own time, financial and personal constraints that expand or limit what they are willing and can do.

You’ve got to hire the right person for the job you want done. Some publicists also do some marketing work as I described, but many do not. I work with (and refer to) a lot of PR professionals - and they often bring me into jobs that aren’t yet ready for publicity to help get them ready. There is nothing more disheartening than to see someone pay for a publicity campaign when the underlying marketing work has not yet been done. A good example is a book that wants nationwide publicity, yet is only available on the author’s website and at a price that doesn’t fit the market they are going after. Sigh…

The other advantage a marketing professional brings to the table is that they can help you develop a marketing and media plan that you can implement yourself. I prepare media kits, media plans with timelines and resources, as well as do marketing and website evaluations, pricing plans, get appropriate distribution for people, and yes, refer to a publicist when the author/publisher has that as part of their overall marketing plan.

Sometimes it is a "tough love" business, but a good marketing professional will always guide your decision making in the right direction. They don’t say things to be mean - they just want you to be successful. But, one of the beauties of being an author and/or a publisher, is that you get the final say on all phases of your project, including your marketing.

Like it? Recommend it


Email This Post Email This Post

How Can You Make Your Book Successful?

Doing a commercially viable book involves many facets - all of which have to present and firing on all cylinders to create a successful project.

* Product - your book has to be well designed and produced and have a definable target audience of sufficient size to sell a "reasonable" number of books. One way to determine this is to go to Amazon and put in the key words for your book. See how many other books there are in your genre, what are their sales ranks? how long are they? how long have they been out? who published them? — all kinds of excellent competitive information available to help you.

* Pricing - Once you know that you have a well-produced book with a reasonably sized market that you can reach, then you have to make sure it is priced right for the market. You can’t base your retail price on anything except the price the market expects for your type of book. You can get a lot of this information from the research I suggest above.

* Place - Once you have your product and pricing right, then you have to understand the places where you will sell it. This includes everything from your trunk, to book stores, to non-traditional locations (gift shops, boat stores, RV stores - whatever suits your genre), to the internet, and more. You have to consider ALL the possible places that a potential buyer will look for your book and try to be there. Every distribution channel has a different cost and it is the combination of all your channel choices together that will make up your profitability picture. You can’t look at any one of them in isolation.

* Promotion - Most people think this is the only part of marketing that is important, but as you can see it is the very last piece of the puzzle to consider. Once you have everything else in place, THEN and only then, can you think about promoting your book. The saddest thing I see is people who spend time and money on promotion when they haven’t adequately addressed all the other pieces of the puzzle. Promotion comes in many flavors and some are costly, but many are not. I am not a big fan of paid advertising for independent publishers as it is just too costly to make a pay off. The four areas to consider are internet, broadcast, print and live presentations. A combination of those well executed, will provide success.

There is no quick fix or magic bullet - it is many things done consistently and well, over time.

I have been in the marketplace with my book since 2004. My strategy has shifted over that time as success has come, as the industry has changed, and as the books sales have changed. I’ve done two editions over many printings; have used wholesalers, a national distributor (Midpoint) and now use LSI. I’ve had sales into every part of the travel business and have had publicity in everything from the AP (3 times) to Money Magazine, to AAA to AARP and hundreds more - all from my own efforts with a small infusion of a publicist’s help early on. You can see some of it here: http://www.roadtripdream.com/media2.html

There is nothing special about what I did - I had never written professionally, knew nothing about the publishing business, and had no special help that isn’t available to each of you. It is about having a little money to invest in your own success, persistence and dedication to being successful, getting involved in (and understanding) the publishing business, understanding your own genre, and never giving up.

Like it? Recommend it


Posts:
Categories:
Marketing Services (17)
Publishing Advice (36)
"And I thought after 40 years of writing, I could write a sales letter... WRONG! Carol White's letter went beyond my imagination and into the sales stratosphere. Thanks, Carol! " -- AD Walker