Saturday, 22 November 2008
Surviving the next year is going to be a major challenge for many publishers and businesses in general, small and large alike. There are no longer any guarantees of safety for anyone. Many household names have been shaken to their foundations and some have tumbled into the abyss. Lehman Brothers in the US, HBOS in the UK, GM, Woolworth, Citigroup, all of them going, going, gone!
Book sellers are undoubtedly going to feel the squeeze, and this will probably be reflected in reduced sales which in turn will lead to reduced orders. So what are you going to do, how are you going to react? By reducing prices to make yourself more competitive, by toughing it out or by raising prices in an attempt to claw back some of the lost ground.
Often companies react by slashing their marketing budget, a senseless move that leaves a company weak and vulnerable when their is an upturn and a move that also has an immediate impact on its current products. It may be that the most pro-active thing you can do is to raise the amount of PR and advertising you can do to capitalise on the weakness of your competition. As with houses, cars and retail in the high street, in the world of media a position of strength can be gained by negotiating a bargain.
Many publications and media outlets are in the same position of taking the best offer or reducing their prices. Take advantage of your competitors misfortune or its inability to react ,and maximise your opportunities where possible and when appropriate. There are no guarantees as I said earlier. I dare say not one of the major banks ever considered for one moment that they would be where they are now, but their failure to act and respond to a situation crippled them.
If you listen very carefully you can hear the trees are falling
Monday, 3 November 2008
By Darren E Laws
The other day I was reminded of the power of excellent local marketing when a leaflet popped through the door from a pub trading about a mile from my home. The leaflet was a folded A4 newsletter, it had spectacularly bad design. In fact its lack of design was part of its genius or rather the simplicity of it was. There was no graphic design, just a few sectioned areas that related activities the pub was undertaking through November, some samples of the food sold in the pub, and special offers.
A simple message told without any distracting graphics. The result of this naive missive was that it grabbed my attention. I knew of the pub in question and of its perceived reputation, but one A4 sheet had told me more about the establishment than 13 years of hearsay.
When I said genius, I meant it. Had the pub tried to fill the publication with images or even dabbled with some graphic design it would have weakened the achievement it accomplished. This newsletter, printed on the cheap, undoubtedly delivered to every home within a two mile radius managed to get its message clearly and succinctly to thousands of houses.
Like all good marketing initiatives it delivered news to an audience that was unaware of its product. If the pub is really astute it will follow the process with a further newsletter before Christmas. I am not for one moment suggesting that we all follow the footsteps of this pub and abandon good graphic design to deliver whatever it is we are selling (hopefully books), but what we can learn is never to forget the message we really need to tell.
No matter how good our images and design is, it is the power of the written word that really sells. Spurred on by my local public hostelry I have decided to run a test experiment within my local neighbourhood and produce a simple newsletter backed with a nicely designed postcard with some Caffeine Nights Publishing titles and target around a thousand randomly chosen houses. This will take time and effort but I think it will be interesting to monitor the response especially on the run up to Christmas.
Sometimes it is so easy to spend time looking at the bigger picture that we forget our own back yard. If nothing else I am sure this form of marketing will raise the profile of our books and publishing company at a local level and this is an audience that should never be neglected, because with it comes loyalty and local pride. If this sounds hokey it might be time to reevaluate your own core values. If it sounds like something you have been thinking of doing but never got around to, now might be the time.