Thursday, October 31, 2019

What Can Authors Learn From Madison Avenue?

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There are many lessons one can learn about book marketing by observing what works in real-word marketing of non-book products and services. Here are some strategies to follow, avoid, or question:

Crate and Barrel
I purchased a couch last week and for every day since that time I’ve received an e-mail from them to hype one thing or another.  It’s terribly annoying.  I can’t see sending someone an e-mail any more often than once a week, and even then, it would need to highlight a special sale, a new product or service, some amazing event, or dramatic news.  I’ve gotten used to pressing delete when I see an email from them, sometimes without looking at their message or offer.  Lesson:  Do not contact your network via email too often or they will tune you out and fail to pay attention to you.

You may wonder why a consumer brand giant with over a century of successful history would continue to advertise itself. You can’t market yourself once and declare yourself a winner.  No matter how popular or successful you are, you need to remind people that know you – and introduce yourself to new people. Coke wisely spends a zillion dollars to fend off current and future competition. Lesson:  No matter how good your book is, or how successful you were today, you must always invest in getting the word out tomorrow, whether through publicity, marketing, or advertising.

Like many companies, they encourage consumers to sign up for points that get calculated for every dollar spent. Starbucks will give free drinks and food to those who earn a certain number of points or make specific purchases during off-hours.  They wisely give people incentives to spend often and stay in touch via email. Lesson:  Reward your customers and give them something for free.

They, like many other huge brands, combine with charities and give money to some big ones.  In fact, they formed their own – Ronald McDonald House – which funds help for sick children.  Lesson:  Donate a portion of your proceeds to a charity.  It is good for business – and it helps others.

Victoria’s Secret
The sexy lingerie company, though not as popular as it used to be, uses a broadcast lingerie show to get attention for itself.  When advertising becomes editorial content and consumers embrace it, you have won.  Lesson:  Make your ads filled with information so that the distinction between product and content diminishes.

Every company has strategies to beat its competition, expand its market share, further its brand, recruit top talent, and grow its stock price.  Every author needs strategies to sell books, build a brand, and find bigger publishing deals.  

How will you market yourself today and tomorrow?       

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2019. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

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