Random House: Random Buzzers Word of Mouth Marketing Case Study

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Case study detailing Affinitive's work on Random Buzzers, a teen reader-focused Word-of-Mouth (WOM) marketing program for Random House's Teen Books division.

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Random House: Random Buzzers Word of Mouth Marketing Case Study

  1. 1. (an<br />case study)<br />
  2. 2. Background – Random House Teen Books<br /><ul><li>Division of Random House Publishing
  3. 3. 30 – 45 books published each year, targeting readers age 13-20
  4. 4. Authors include Judy Blume (Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret), Philip Pullman (The Golden Compass), Caroline B. Cooney (The Face on the Milk Carton), Ann Brashares (Sisterhood of Traveling Pants), Markus Zusak, Christopher Paolini (Inheritance Cycle), Robin Brande</li></li></ul><li>Challenges<br />For Random House<br /><ul><li>Had no platform to directly engage with the consumer segment they were selling to. Relied solely on “traditional” advertising channels
  5. 5. Fighting for audience with other publishers’ teen book divisions as well as 3rd party niche communities
  6. 6. Finding ways to consistently provide engagement and fresh content to consumers who are fickle and difficult to engage
  7. 7. As audience grows older (from teens to young adults), must provide an experience that will resonate with both 13 and 20 year-olds</li></ul>For Authors<br /><ul><li>First-time authors need exposure, but traditionally are left on their own to drive buzz, from book readings/signings to conducting their own PR</li></li></ul><li>Objectives<br /><ul><li>Create a highly engaged and passionate network of teenage readers and aspiring authors built around Random House titles
  8. 8. Empower and educate these readers with tools, information and incentives to facilitate word-of-mouth endorsement and advocacy for titles
  9. 9. Provide an innovative method to connect authors (many of which are unknown/first-time) with a highly-targeted group of teen readers
  10. 10. Gain insight into the demographics' behavior, likes, and cultural trends
  11. 11. Drive sales of Random House teen titles by transforming the way books are marketed</li></li></ul><li>Solution - Random Buzzers<br />Random Buzzers is Random House's platform to engage and connect with its teen audience. The community-based program facilitates an ongoing dialogue between the publisher and its authors with readers, while allowing like-minded consumers to share their passion with each other. <br />Members can engage directly with authors, receive advance copies of books, share and create content, write reviews, answer quizzes and polls, and connect and share with other passionate teen readers via social networking features.<br />
  12. 12. Content and Engagement Strategy<br />Random Buzzers focuses on frequent, consistent and dynamic content, including:<br /><ul><li>Weekly community Q&A with authors
  13. 13. User-Generated Content activities
  14. 14. Contests, weekly book giveaways, and exclusive members-only opportunities
  15. 15. Member “bookshelves”, book reviews, and reader/author profiles
  16. 16. "Buzz Blog" with news and happenings
  17. 17. Weekly email newsletters</li></ul>Advocacy Levers<br /><ul><li>Insider Access
  18. 18. Education
  19. 19. Community
  20. 20. Sharing Tools</li></li></ul><li>Connecting Authors with Teen Readers<br />Q&A<br />As each author visits, members are given the opportunity to ask questions through an interactive Q&A interface that serves as an ongoing knowledge repository.<br />Featured Authors<br />Featuring a new author each week gives members an opportunity to learn more about their favorite writers or perhaps discover someone new. <br />Author Events<br />The events section highlights when and where authors are touring. Members can find events based on their favorite genre or by typing in an author's name or book title.<br />ARC Giveaways<br />Each week, members get a chance to win an Advanced Readers Copy (ARC) of a Random House title. Not only does it encourage participation, but it is one of the most popular features on Random Buzzers.<br />
  21. 21. Author Testimonial<br />“What a gift for an author to be able to go where the readers are.  Unlike Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and other social networking sites, Random Buzzers brings young adult authors directly in touch with their audience.  I love the contests, Q & A pages, discussion groups, and other ways the teen readers get to participate.   If Random Buzzers had been around when I was a teenager, I would have been on that site for hours every day!”<br /><ul><li> Robin Brande</li></ul>Author, Fat Cat and Evolution and Me and Other Freaks of Nature<br />
  22. 22. Socializing the Reading Experience<br />Book/Author-specific Forums<br />Member “Bookshelves”<br />Reviews and Ratings<br />Reader Groups<br />
  23. 23. Activities and Rewards<br />Buzz Bucks<br />Members earn social currency called “Buzz Bucks” for participating and engaging within the community.<br />“Buzz Bucks” can be redeemed for rewards such as books and merchandise.<br />Additionally, a user level system and badges are used to provide different level of status/achievement among members.<br />Activities<br />Activities are fun, challenging, creative tasks that members participate in, such as creating artwork, writing, and uploading photos showing off their passion and personal interests.<br />Galleries collect and show off member submissions, which are commented on and rated by others. The best submissions are given additional prominence.<br />
  24. 24. Teacher Feedback<br />“My students just read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, and I have asked them to join the forum and post their own questions. I just wanted to say thank you! I have been reading their posts, and I am impressed with the quality of the discussions they are having. During class, a few students will run the discussion, but this forum creates the safety and anonymity for all of them to participate. They absolutely loved The Book Thief too! Please don't make this into a movie!! This novel is an English teacher's dream!”<br />- Kerri M., English Teacher<br />
  25. 25. Showing Passion Via User-Generated Content<br />
  26. 26. Buzz Bloggers<br />“Buzz Bloggers” are a network of influential young adult bloggers who have indicated interest in reviewing books published by Random House. <br />Each month, select bloggers are sent advanced copies of a book to read and review on their blogs.<br />To date, the Buzz Bloggers have published 200+ reviews and opinions on blogs generating millions of impressions.<br />
  27. 27. Taking the Experience Mobile<br />The Random Buzzers iPhone app lets members take the entire Random buzzers experience mobile. The experience has been tailored to provide quick access to popular features such as forums, book reviews, member bookshelves, along with integrated sharing tools and push notifications.<br />* Coming soon to Android and Blackberry!<br />
  28. 28. Measuring Offline Word of Mouth<br /><ul><li>Each month a survey is sent to a random sample of active members to collect data on WOM activity
  29. 29. Members report on any conversations they had that month, how many people were involved in those conversations, where they took place and what was discussed
  30. 30. Overall offline word of mouth reach is then calculated, along with where these conversations are happening (school, work, friend's house) and the most popular topics of conversation.</li></ul>In the past year, Random Buzzers members have reached more than 90,000 people through offline word of mouth.<br />
  31. 31. Anecdotal WOM<br />“I told several friends about this site, and we started a book club to read Random Buzzer books! It's so much fun!”<br />  <br />“I very much loved Tamora Pierce’s Beka Cooper series. I won the book... and have passed it around to many of my friends so they now love Pierce's novels too.”<br /> <br />“When I saw someone reading Boy Meets Boy by David LevithanI brought up his new book and asked if they had read it.”<br /> <br />“When I came into school dressed like one of the characters from a Random Buzzers book for Halloween one year, and everybody asked who I was.”<br /> <br />“I got a freshman on my soccer team to read Forest of Hands and Teeth. I was very proud of this because she isn't a reader but she really liked that book.”<br />
  32. 32. Key Metrics And Results <br />88%<br />Indicated Random Buzzers has improved their perception of Random House<br />20,000+<br />Monthly <br />Visits<br />25+<br />Minutes per<br />Member Visit<br />Engagement<br />Brand Affinity/Loyalty<br />60,000+<br />Random Buzzers<br />Members<br />50,000+<br />Offline WOM<br />Conversations<br />90,000+<br />Consumers<br />Reached Offline<br />WOM<br />79%<br />Indicated Random Buzzers has increased their likelihood to purchase from Random House<br />14,000+<br />UGC Objects<br />(photos, images, video)<br />13,000+<br />Books Read/Added<br />to Bookshelves<br />Purchase Intent<br />UGC<br />45,000+<br />Text and <br />Feedback Items<br />3,700+<br />Book Reviews<br />2,500+<br />Author Questions<br />* Results through July 2010<br />
  33. 33. Thanks!<br />New York (Headquarters):<br />135 West 26th Street<br />8th Floor<br />New York, NY 10001<br />(212) 684-9100<br />California:<br />612 Howard Street<br />Suite 100<br />San Francisco, CA 94105<br />(415) 278-9700<br />www.beaffinitive.com<br />

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