What is your Mid-Year Marketing Health Measurement?
Marketing Health: When a helicopter is at rest, the dials on its dashboard are all askew with arrows pointing in different directions. However, when that helicopter is flying straight and level, with no problems, all the arrows are pointing straight up. The pilot can glance at the instrument panel and quickly see if any dials are out of order, indicating that a problem exists. He or she immediately knows when something is wrong without wasting time evaluating that which is working correctly.
You can apply this same concept to your marketing and publishing efforts by setting up a system that quickly points out where marketing problems exist. Once you know what the problem is, you can determine its cause and take steps to solve it.
What to Measure for Marketing Health
If you spend too much time evaluating all your marketing actions, you will not have a chance to implement your plan. Therefore, look to your key result areas and measure the difference between where they are and where you wanted them to be at this point. Are your unit sales on target? Is your revenue where you want it to be? Are profits up to par? For now, ignore those titles that are on target and attend to those below forecast.
Failed Marketing Health Cause(s)
Act as a helicopter pilot and look only to where a problem exists. In this example, let’s say your quantitative analysis shows that sales are below forecast in bookstores, libraries, and associations. In each segment, look to the product itself, as well as its distribution, price, and promotion to find possible causes.
Marketing Health Example
- Product. Are spending too much time trying to breathe new life into a title? Product quality is crucial for success. Your book must have an intriguing book cover, an ISBN, barcode, and professional print quality.
- Place. Don’t be too quick to blame your distributor if bookstore sales are awry. Seek distribution with a firm suited to your titles and promotional mix.
- Price. Competitively price your book(s). Customers shop for the best book prices that meet their needs and pocketbook.
- Promotion. Are you promoting your title properly and sufficiently? Television or radio interviews do not guarantee sales. Similarly, press releases that are poorly written or sent to the wrong person are ineffectual. Promotion efforts are cumulative and have a greater chance of success if the right message is communicated to the right person at the right time.
- Product. Acquisition librarians are on a budget and require for purchase: durable bindings, CIP data, index (if applicable) and topics that fir their core or patron-driven collections.
- Place. Properly segment the library market: public, prison, academic, law, religious, corporate.
- Promotion. Appeal to their buying motives. Librarians want to help their patrons, and an appeal to profitability will not persuade them to buy.
- Place. Offer your book as a premium to build conference attendance and/or as a reward for renewing membership.
- Promotion. There are many ways in which you can work with an association. Consider sell your rights or donating a percentage (or fixed amount) of each sale to a charitable, non-profit organization. The association may wish to co-promote your book as a fund-raising item.
Interpret Results and Make Changes for Marketing Health
To improve your Marketing Health, sufficiently analyze all possible causes before you make adjustments. Maybe you are not reaching your objectives because they were unrealistic. Was your plan ill-conceived or was poor implementation the guilty party? Try to pinpoint the cause, make changes in your strategy and/or implementation, and then try something different and measure the resulting sales at the end of 2007 to see if your changes worked.
Continue on doing what works and adjust that which doesn’t. For optimal marketing health: measure your progress, make necessary changes, set new goals and then implement new marketing programs.
Edited Post, originally published in Bowker’s “Self Published Author”