At our recent Big Shot Breakfast, we gathered together a group of marketers from across the publishing industry and fed them breakfast and coffee in return for hearing their views on what’s new, what’s important and what’s occupying their thoughts at the moment. For extra value, we also had James, Imogen, Sophie and Danny from Team Big Shot in attendance. As you would expect we got a wide-ranging set of answers.
Imogen Coles (The Big Shot) – ‘I’d really like to see a more of a rounded approach to working with client and their campaigns. So, if you are connected to a brand’s marketers but not with their PR that’s not great. It’s so important that all campaign elements are tied together. Your tone of voice on Facebook ads should mimic the tone of your influencers. Everything should be in sync”.
Orlando Mowbray (Harper Non-Fiction) – “What really interests me at the moment is the changes in the type of content we are producing and the way we market it We’ve moved away from a beautifully shot piece of artwork to focusing more on authenticity in tone and style. We are working hard on how we work better with the author to be much more authentic and engage with their fans. If it’s not authentic then they see through it. You need to have respect for them”
Paul Black (Anderson Press) – “We are working exceptionally hard with those who are influencers in the classic social media sense or have an audience they influence such as celebrities with a wider fan base. We start with them on day one to really get that audience engaged. When you have such a ready-made base then why wouldn’t you?”
Lauren Ace ( Little Tiger) – “As an industry we need to think more broadly and more collaboratively. If we want to compete with other forms of entertainment such as music or films, we need to make books desirable and part of people’s everyday life. We need to stand on a bigger platform. Speaking as a children’s publisher I think adult publishers need to understand if we don’t get children reading in the first place, then as time goes by they just won’t have an audience. We talk about how we want people to read for pleasure and the best way to do that is to get children to feel that reading is something you want to do, not just because it’s good for you. It’s as enjoyable as playing a game or watching a film and that’s a message our industry needs to be a lot stronger on”
Danny ( The Big Shot) –“ I’m passionate about using data to be more creative and making sure our clients get a better return on your investment. It’s incredibly interesting to find out how audiences are interacting with your creative and how bests to drive the results the clients need”
Hester ( Nosy Crow) – “ What I find myself constantly thinking about is what is the deciding factor in what makes a parent buy a book for child. Is that they have heard something great about it? Was it an ad? Has their child asked for it? We need to understand what makes that book stand out from both a child’s and parents perspective”
Jess ??? (Nosy Crow) – I’m interested in hearing how we can translate the engagement a child might have with a book in a shop to social channels. We cannot always target the target demographic but you can target the gatekeepers. We’re focussed on trying to make it fun and engaging but it has to be authentic as well”
Tom Level ( Pan MacMillan) “Personally it’s very important for me to keep up with what is happening in social advertising. How we can do something cool and different. How to we combine data and creativity to get the get possible results from our campaign”
Sophie Thirlwell (The Big Shot) “I love it when we market a book and really test the creative and add something that’s a different element that might attract a different audience. That one extra idea might be huge part of the campaign”
Jess (Pan MacMillan) – “Working in books we have obviously have the best content around but what is not always obvious do we get it out there? Format is so important. Do we serialize, do we release on ebook, do we use a podcast and match it to the content. We need to keep our fingers on the pulse.”
Sam Book ( Pan MacMillan) – “Think consumer first. Instead of always focusing on our front list we need to look at culture and other tie ins. As publishers, we need a broader view of what’s going on culturally. The best example is The Handmaids Tale. It is the biggest book of the summer but its 25 years old. We need to look at how the content that sits on on demand TV works and keep books as a long-standing form of entertainment rather than ’this book is out now, you must buy it’. Longer term work is so important”
James Erskine (The Big Shot) – “At The Big Shot we are always working hard on using data and multiple creatives to drive the best returns and basically being agile. We will find out what is actually selling the book, what works and then do more of it. Stop writing complete marketing plans and allow yourselves time to understand which creative, messaging and platforms are working hardest and then react.”
Hannah Sidjoriak (Penguin) – “I’m really interested in the whole strand of experiential moments for consumers. That feeling of wanting to go somewhere tangible and meet with other people who are interested in the same thing as you. When we do launch and author events we always ask, ‘is there an instagrammable moment?’. We really think you can use these events to bring the book to life, to really engage with readers. That’s where the whole Harry Potter franchise has done so well.”
Will Smith (Vintage)– “I’m interested in the format question and I think the way forward is become as format agnostic as you can. We need to stop being hung up on way where the actual content is and focus on how a reader wants to consume it. Some businesses have the audio book being produced in a different place to the physical book and it’s just not tied up across all formats. That’s not sustainable We need to understand that each format has its strengths but also that each format can adapt.”