SARA We are the digital department of Pan Macmillan, the fifth largest trade publisher in the UK. Pan Macmillan publishes mass market fiction and non-fiction, literary fiction and children’s books. Some of our most successful authors are Wilbur Smith, Kate Morton, Jeffrey Archer, Peter F Hamilton, Andrew Marr, John Simpson, Meg Cabot and Julia Donaldson.
SARA Wheat field = sense of growing something of value that will be harvested when it is ready and ripe We have come to measure ROI for digital marketing in terms of non-monetary value. Money is not the only thing you can earn on the web. Digital marketing can help you to build value in other currencies, including: a relationship with your readers reader data marketing databases a group of people who can participate, implicitly, in market research. Direct revenue from digital marketing comes later (and is a short term gain anyway if it’s immediate). We do plan an increase in direct revenues over time but this has to come in balance with: Spread across the social web Need to maintain and support a flourishing and varied supply chain Recognition that outside niches where we might dominate, customers don’t recognise us as retailers (e.g. Tor)
JAMES Digital marketing should never be something you do just for the sake of it, or a box ticked on a marketing plan. The extent and nature of digital marketing you undertake should be a part of the overall publishing approach and marketing strategy or an author or book. For example, with the 30 th anniversary re-issues of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, the digital marketing participates in the overall strategy to: Celebrate the 30 th anniversary of the first publication of Hitchhikers Launch a joint, global publishing event with Penguin (publishers of the new HHGG book from Eoin Colfer) Make the anniversary feel like a massive party all readers – new and old – would want to be a part of. We’re doing this online by: Replacing the Pan Macmillan homepage for the months of Sept/Oct with a special Hitchhikers’ page Giving something back to the fan community and readers by offering an iGoogle theme for their personal web page that is free of marketing messages, just using elements of the new cover art to provide the theme. Communicating the physical USP of the books – DIY sticker covers – with a demo animation, so that readers don’t miss the point (and the fun) because of blank, static thumbnails on online retailer sites Reaching out to new and existing readers via Twitter, with Marvin the Paranoid Android tweeting about the books and life in general (you can follow at twitter.com/marvinsmoan) Releasing the original ebook – the HHGG – on as many platforms as possible, including ebook, audio download and mobile app
JAMES There are simply too many people on the web and too much information. So before you send out your message, make sure you’re talking to the people you want to (or the institutions, media, sites etc.). To promote Helen Oyeyemi’s new novel, White is for Witching, an animation and website were commissioned from the It’s Nice That community. They are the target market for Oyeyemi’s young, vibrant, quirky fiction and so involving them in the marketing and publicity campaign gave them a sense of ownership and participation in the book. This animation has now had over 5K complete plays, with all referrer links coming from sites representative of the target demographic.
SARA Bookmarks and proofs were also sent to this design-conscious community, with a request that they read the book, write their review on the back of the bookmarks, and send them in to be added to the site. Reviewers and friends were invited to readings (one held in a glasshouse), and videos of the readings were placed on YouTube. A KEY POINT HERE is that this is not an online-only experience – it’s an online / offline combo! Digital is not the be all and end all – it’s part of the mix.
SARA Be a bit systematic about your approach – start in the same way each time, for each project – that is, from zero. No assumptions and no repetition (until you know you should). Jumping-off points for a digital marketing plan: What we’ve already covered… What is the overall strategy for the author / book(s) How can digital approaches support this? Who is the market and where are they already active online? And also… What is the author already doing online? What kind of personality does the author have? What assets or connections do we already have for this online? What can we do for free? What is the effort / benefit ratio?
SARA Some rules we try to follow: Never force an author to blog or tweet Don’t 'import' traditional marketing messages into social media (i.e. ‘copycat marketing’); instead, offer something of interest or fun (create social objects) Don’t spend money if you can do it for free Don’t get hung up on quality – the web moves too fast anyway Don’t be cynical or corporate Have fun
JAMES Other stuff that must always form part of a digital marketing strategy: SEO CRM / registrant data management systems and processes Decent analytics Make sure you’re visible in both the Google index and the social graph Close all the circles to maximise your web traffic – i.e. tag URLs on POS, in the book, on the cover etc. as much as possible
JAMES Always conduct post-mortems… then learn from them and don't repeat mistakes.
SARA Go where the people are and use the tools/media they use. If you build anything, make it something they can use to do what they’re already doing more easily. Platforms require investment for: Development in marketing and publicity - you need to draw people to it and keep them using it in content – and then ‘infinitely’ maintaining it This centralisation of web interest is not viable for publishers and takes us away from our core expertise. People read all the time, wherever they are. They talk about books all the time, wherever they are. Meet them there; join the discussion. When Jonathan Ross announced he was starting a Twitter book club, he chose Jon Ronson’s The Men Who Stare at Goats as the first book to be discussed. Pan Macmillan met demand for this book by releasing the ebook immediately, and also making the book available as an online subscription. We offered free access to the book for the duration of the discussion so that tweeters could link directly to the page they were discussing, and other book club members could read what they were referring to. Investment here was nil, apart from staff time: We used 2 existing platforms (ExactEditions and Twitter) and a context that was already popular (Jonathan Ross bookclub on Twitter)
SARA ROI was: Kudos from fans of Jonathan Ross, Jon Ronson and Picador Increased discussion around the book online. Sales of ebook (and further sales of print). Enhancing the relationship with the author. Establishing a use case for subscription access ebooks.
JAMES The @atwossybookclub experience proves that people will engage with a lo-fi user experience if they want to do the thing they’re doing. September’s issue of Wired magazine (US edition) ran a feature on craigslist, and had couple of spreads of potential re-design’s of craiglists from top design teams, including nytimes.com designers. The key point was “‘craigslist is working’ – why fix what isn’t broken?” Digital marketing can happen quickly and easily if you make it good enough for the people interested in the book. At Pan Macmillan we’re approaching author video in a lo-fi way. We bought some Flip Ultra cameras, some AA batteries, and we asked editors and publicists to let us know when their authors were in the buidling. And we filmed them chatting about their books. The videos are uploaded to YouTube and linked to from our email newsletters and other marketing. Homemade video is the presiding aesthetic of YouTube. Investment was effectively nil per video (especially as we do more and more). What is the ROI? Having our authors tagged in YouTube with short, engaging content (90secs per video) enables them to potentially reach millions more people than they would have if we hadn’t uploaded the video. Also, readers tweet about the videos, and embed them in their blogs. Complete digital marketing success is when you hear about one of your author videos via a retweet and see it on someone’s blog. Craiglist is also symbolic of the energy on the web – people online are willing to spend time doing stuff that costs you nothing, costs them nothing (but time) but spreads your message or digital object really effectively. All those classifieds uploaded to craigslist, or all those items sold on ebay – that work is done by the users. Your readers will work for you if you engage them in the right way with something of interest or value to them.
SARA You never know what the next big thing might be on the web – apps, services, brands, behaviours. When you encounter something new, learn about it. Try it. Like every aspect of publishing, it’s about living within it.
Sarah Lloyd & James Long: Ten Things We Know About Digital Marketing
TEN THINGS WE KNOW ABOUT DIGITAL MARKETING <ul><li>Sara Lloyd & James Long, Pan Macmillan Digital </li></ul>
Pan Macmillan Digital About us: thedigitalist.net/?page_id=2
1. <ul><li>ROI is not always about making money... at least not immediately </li></ul>