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Publishers Building Vertical Communities (Publishing Technology at Digital Book World 2014)


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Publishers see the opportunity to engage more deeply with their audiences, develop new business models, and reduce the marketing costs for selling their content by building online communities of interest for their readers. In the last several years, online communities have been the focus of many development and marketing efforts for publishers across segments.

Publishing Technology will share recent results from their survey of academic publishers building online vertical communities. Randy Petway of PT will be joined by trade, professional, and academic publishers to discuss their community-building efforts. They'll talk about both the pitfalls and successes, and how direct engagement with readers is creating new business opportunities and changing their marketing and product launch practices.

Published in: Education, Business, Technology
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Publishers Building Vertical Communities (Publishing Technology at Digital Book World 2014)

  1. 1. Publishers Building Vertical Communities Digital Book World, January 15 at 2:45 pm Randy Petway, COO, Advance Division
  2. 2. Defining Online Communities  What is an online community? “A publisher-owned website/platform that offers a common interest around which the community is themed, with interactive communication between the organization and community members and between the members themselves.”  Context for academic publishers
  3. 3. Background and Methodology  Why investigate online communities?  PCG’s research builds from an earlier study conducted with Bowker Market Research  Online survey of 15 questions primarily geared toward academic publishers
  4. 4. What does research address? Questions the research is looking to answer:  How many publishers currently have online communities?  Reasons for development of online communities?  Measurable benefits achieved from online communities  Opportunities for growth of online communities
  5. 5. Key Findings – Current Market 1-2 communities 21% 3-4 communities 5-6 communities 47% 10% 7 or more communities 8% 14% None
  6. 6. Key Findings – The Motivation Top 4 reasons to develop online communities:  40% Increasing direct relationships with end users  40% Increasing audience engagement (social networking)  35% Increased content usage  35% Increasing knowledge and understanding of the reader
  7. 7. Key Findings – The Benefits Top 3 reported benefits of online communities:  37% Generated increased knowledge and understanding of the end user  37% Developed direct relationships with readers  32% Serves as a platform to increase content usage Direct Feedback: “Our online community capabilities are helping committees and special interest groups to collaborate.” “Growth of audience engagement but not sales.”
  8. 8. Key Findings – Current Success & Future Opportunity  About 50% of publishers believe online communities have been successful in achieving the company’s goals  Nearly 80% of all publishers view online communities as an area of growth for their company and the publishing sector as a whole  Early 2013 study showed that 84% of all publisher respondents think their investment in online communities will increase over the next two years
  9. 9. Summary  Online communities are on the up  Primarily focused on relationship building with end users  Many publishers are still experimenting with online community strategies
  10. 10. Conclusions Publishers see online communities as:  a way of getting closer to their readers  a way of becoming more customer focused  a way to gain understanding of what audiences want (access to metrics)  a way to make to their content go further  a way to support marketing efforts, not generating direct sales