Everything You Need To Know To (Hopefully) Pass Your Marketing Test for Publishing Postgraduates

10/28/2014 07:06:00 pm

Okay. The title might be lying. It might not be everything you need to know to pass your marketing test but it is a pretty good list of everything I need to know to pass my marketing test. Which is tomorrow. So of course, I'm writing a blog. What is my life? Sigh. 

On that note, let's get cracking. We've got a lot of stuff to learn! Seriously, this blog is going to be so long. I tried to organize it in a logical order but... I'm getting tired so it could be a hot mess. Sorry, not sorry.

The Basics:

What is marketing? All you need to know is that marketing is identifying, anticipating, and doing it profitably

How do we do marketing? By understanding customers' needs. What kind of needs are we looking at? Take it from Maslow

Why does a marketer need to know about customer needs? Because our job is to satisfy them. We need to be able to identify groups with similar needs and behaviors then provide them a product that will benefit them. Cool stuff, right?

Smart Objectives: Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Timed.
Your marketing goals must meet all of these criteria in order to be successful. It's a checklist. :)

Marketing Mix - The 4 P's

Product - How a product is branded, the product life cycle (PLC)
Price - RRP, value of the product, how much your customer is willing to pay
Promotion - "Push" product into stores, promotion can also be sales/discounts
Place - Pull customers into stores

How to get competitive Advantage: Use the 4 P's! Also you should have a USP - Unique Selling Point!

Branding! Branding is a name, term, symbol (etc) that is intended to identify goods/services of a seller and differentiate it from competitors. You are your own special snowflake of a brand. Werk it. 

Why is branding important? Lots of reasons! It makes you stand out (you best recognize!), people use brands to establish their status (people like to brag about having nice things like jewelry from Tiffany's or a dress from Abercrombie and Fitch or whatever is cool these dayz), it also just establishes an identity for a company, which is important. It also reduces search time and offers reassurance t the buyer that the product wont be a PoS (and I don't mean point of sale here, guys). For the company, it offers repeat purchasers, brand loyalty (!!!) and higher margins (why else would people pay $20 for Tide detergent when you can get the store brand for $4?)

PS. Penguin does branding really well.

Buying Stuff!

Decision Making Units (DMU) - There are five kinds of DMUs: 
  • Users - These are the end users of your product. ie: your individual readers.
  • Buyers  - These are the people who buy books for a bookstore. They have a set of criteria and must out and and purchase the the products from suppliers. 
  • Influencers - These are people who try to influence the buying outcome/what products you buy. I want to say these might be librarians (librarian picks?) and book reviewers. Companies can also hire specialists to consult them on buying decisions but I can't really see a publisher doing this (but who am I to say?)
  • Deciders - These people get to make the final say in the purchase. They'll be the people placing the final order so usually a senior manager. They get to review the information passed on from the lower n00bs and approve or deny it. I'm still trying to think of a good example. I'll come back to this later.
  • Gatekeepers - manages or withholds the flow of information. ie: a mom keeping her kid from watching Spongebob or, in publishing, an editor saying which books will be published. This could also be someone going "we shouldn't sell erotica because it's not appropriate." I think (give me a break.. I'm still studying.) 
Factors that influence Buyer Behavior: Why do you buy the books you buy? Why do you buy your textbooks?
  • Psychological - Perception, motivation, learning, attitudes
  • Cultural - National/regional like Harry Potter and the crazies in the deep south USA, Subcultures such as fan websites 
  • Social - Roles (work, family, etc), Reference Groups (awards, Richard and Judy, Oprah), Social Class, Purchasing power, Enticity/gender/language (not cool for teenage boys to read), way of life/lifestyle
  • Personal - demographics (age, gender, family life cycle), Situation - time and place (can change!), Involvement (interest/emotional commitment)
The Buying Decision - This is done in 6 stages. I know, who thought buying something could be so complicated?

1. Problem Recognition - Yo, I need a book.
2. Information Search - Asking for recommendations, getting on the Googles.
3. Involvement level - If it's too complicated, I'm not gonna do it. And I'm not gonna do it if it's too expensive either. 
4. Evaluation of Alternatives - 
5. Decision/Action - "Are you gonna buy this or not, lady?"
6. Post-Purchase Evaluation - Are you satisfied or not? 

Marketing Communications Approaches: 
  • Impulse Buying - POS purchases such as bookmarks, candy, clearance books
  • Routine Response - These are items you purchase regularly but don't really think much about. Like a newspaper or perhaps a book by a favorite author like Lee Child or J.K. Rowling. 
  • Limited Decision Making - You might ask for recommendations for these purchases. Maybe you're looking for a new book to read on your vacation. That fits in here.
  • Extensive Decision Making - These are big purchases that require some research. For instance if you're a librarian and want to purchase a big academic database, you will want to do some research and talk to some peeps first. 
STP - Segmentation, Targeting, Positioning

Segments! Segments are groups of people with similar needs. Marketers put people into segments in order to narrow down their target market. Segmenting and targeting can also build that all important brand we were just talking about. WOW! \just make sure that when you choose your target market that your are not picking something over-competitive and that there is room for growth.

You segments MUST be: Definable/Measurable, Reachable/Accessible, Sizable/Substantial, Relevant/Meaningful. Otherwise, why would you target them? That would be a waste of time. 

Once you have your segments, you're going to want to position your book/product. To position, you need to first define your segments and choose your target  market. You must understand customer preferences: what does your target market want? Do some research on your competition. What do people think about them? Use your findings and conclusions while developing your product. Finally, be sure to communicate the benefits of your product to the target market. Remember, you can have a great product but it won't sell if no one knows about it.

Competitive Intelligence

Competitive Intelligence - gathering and analyzing data and intelligence in order to assess the competition and the market.

There are three main ways to gather competitive intelligence:

Primary Market Research: Asks the opinions of customers and users and provides bench marking reports. These are your basic questionnaires and telephone interviews.

Primary Market research can be grouped into two types:

  • Quantitative Research - Research involving structured questions with predetermined answers. Your standard "on a scale of 1-10, how does this make you feel?" type questions. The measurements must be objective, quantitative (go figure), and statistically valid. 
  • Qualitative Research - Measures the how and why and involves analyzing and interpreting data by observing what people say and do. It is far more subjective and uses more individual in-depth interviews and focus groups. 
Secondary Market Research:

Competitive Analysis tools: 

PEST Analysis. Political, Economic, Sociological, and Technological factors and their effect on the market. 

SWOT Analyisis - Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. This is assessment of the risks/benefits of a new product. It should be done ASAP but after you've done a PEST to see if there's a healthy market for your product.


RRP - Recommended Retail Price - based on market not on cost of producing the book
ASP- Actual Selling Price
TCM- Total Consumer Market

Pricing Strategies: 

Pioneer Pricing: Pricing a new product in the market. Easily adjusted. Can be priced high to recoup production costs. Pioneer pricing also takes into account that competitors may try to enter the market quickly after you so pricing may be done to discourage them from doing so. Tricky tricky!

Psychological Pricing: Encourages prices based on emotion. Prices will usually end in .99 to trick the customer into thinking it's cheaper. Retail level shit, yo.

Promotional Pricing: Ingredient in marketing mix. Duh.

Penetration Pricing: Priced below competing brands/market. Designed to produce larger volume of sales.

Price Skimming: Setting highest initial price for innovative products. Customers who truly desire that product (innovators) will pay that price.

Product Life Cycle 

Product Life Cycle - The revenue generated by a product over its lifetime.

Introduction: Investment period. The book is commissioned, the author writes it, all kinds of publication things happen.

Growth: The book is accepted into the market and begins to be purchased by early adopters and early majority buyers.

Maturity: The book reaches its peak profitability. It's a smash hit, guys!

Decline: The book's sales begin to dwindle and the publisher now must think of releasing a new edition (paperback?) in order to bolster sales again. 

Sales channels and their offerings:

  • Offer instant information and online ordering as well as PoD services. 
  • Wholesalers are great for chains, schools, supermarkets, and independent bookstores.
  • Most independent bookstores would rather order from a wholesaler than have to contact each individual publisher to get the book they need.
Retailers: A retailer can be anything from a major chain such as Barnes and Noble (USA) or Waterstones (UK), small specialist stores (comic book stores, military history shops, etc), or independent bookstores.
  • Chains offer central buying and distribution to readers and centralized promotions and they offer display opportunities for your books (but you may need to give special discounts or pay them depending on the shop for bigger displays.)
  • Library suppliers are great for distributing to public as well as school libraries.
Supermarkets: You may be thinking "what?!?" but supermarkets have a 12-14% market share of books in the UK.
  • They typically buy from wholesalers but may go through a publisher. 
  • Typically, supermarkets get a 75-80% discount but on large orders that they guarantee not to return. The supermarkets are also prepared to sell books a VERY low prices, even to the point that they are loss leaders.
Libraries: Yes, we've talked about library suppliers but don't forget that some libraries may not go through suppliers, university libraries especially. These librarians are important so don't forget them and treat them right!
  • Librarians place high priority on on reading lists, academic requests, plus new editions, multiple copies, reference material, and background reading. 
  • How do you treat a librarian? Ask her what she needs! Asking a librarian what she is looking for is the most important step to building a relationship with her. Learn her name and know what kind of materials she is interested in. Don't put her name on lists she hasn't signed up for but if she does sign up for something, you damn well better send her stuff because she is interested. 

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