by Florrie Binford Kichler
You Spoke . . . We Listened . . . Now What?
“Well executed . . . ”
“Probably have some value . . . ”
“Didn’t work for me . . . ”
“Positive, great for networking . . . ”
“Well worth the money . . . ”
“Too costly . . . ”
Those are just a few excerpts from the 100-plus comments we received in response to our recent survey about the IBPA marketing programs. The more than 75 marketing opportunities we offer our members are the backbone of our association and are unique both in concept and in execution.
We wanted to know what you thought about them.
Under the leadership of IBPA board member Steve Carlson with help from Terry Nathan and Lisa Krebs, we created a comprehensive survey designed to learn from you how we were doing right now, what you wanted to improve, and what programs you would like to see in the future.
We began by asking you to weigh in on each of the association’s marketing programs, including:
the public library, bookstore, review, and target market mailings
all the trade shows we participate in on your behalf
the major advertising opportunities
Web site promotions
the Resource Directory
We asked you to rate marketing programs in 20 different categories as Unsatisfactory, Marginally Useful, Worthwhile, Very Good, or Excellent. And we requested that you rate them first as participants, and then in terms of your impressions, regardless of whether you had participated in them.
The Survey Said
The good news is that all programs garnered an approval rating higher than 50 percent. The best news is that’s not good enough—we want to do better for you, our members.
Some highlights from the participant ratings:
58 percent said the Frankfurt Book Fair worked; 42 percent felt the outcome was disappointing.
80 percent were happy with the library mailings; 20 percent were not.
80 percent liked exhibiting with IBPA at BEA and ALA; 20 percent did not get the results they had hoped for.
75 percent said the bookstore mailings were worth hard-earned dollars; 25 percent disagreed.
Close to 70 percent felt the external advertising programs were useful; 30 percent felt differently.
More than 75 percent of respondents liked the Author’s Road Show Web Site listings; 25 percent did not.
80 percent applauded the Resource Directory advertising opportunity; 20 percent didn’t.
Interestingly, ratings based on respondents’ impressions, rather than their participation, were much higher for all marketing programs.
As with any survey, the most useful feedback came from your responses to open-ended questions, in this case:
If you have particularly strong opinions about any of the above programs, positive or negative, please summarize in the space below. We will appreciate specific suggestions on how to improve them.
Please suggest any other areas in which you would like to see IBPA introduce new marketing programs. Be as specific as possible.
“More details about each program—how it works, what is done by IBPA.”
“Fewer books and more knowledgeable staff at trade shows.”
“Use highly targeted and/or more genre-specific catalogs.”
“Help publishers reach the nonbookstore market.”
“The days of mailing are over—go to an email format.”
In addition, you responded when we offered you a chance to express interest in marketing programs we are considering for the future.
60 percent of the respondents were interested in direct to consumer mailings.
Close to 80 percent wanted to know more about email campaigns to businesses and individuals.
73 percent were interested in social media programs involving blogs, Wikis, and more .
Nearly 80 percent wanted help with technologies such as RSS and search engine optimization.
80 percent were interested in special-sales programs.
Nearly 85 percent would like to learn more about sales to stores other than bookstores.
Our hats are off to all of you who took the time to send us your suggestions on how we can improve our marketing programs. Your creativity is exceeded only by your generosity—we appreciate your giving your time for the benefit of your fellow publishers.
Many of you may remember the commercial that aired during the 2000 Super Bowl about cowboys herding cats. To the casual observer, focusing in on the results of our marketing program survey poses many of the challenges facing the cat herders—lots of ideas leading off in a million different directions. Your board of directors and staff are tasked with corralling the results of the survey that you took the time and energy to complete, and shaping it into a plan that will improve existing programs, add new ones, and ultimately help you sell more books.
We asked, you answered, we’ll deliver.
My virtual door is always open. Please share your comments, thoughts, and ideas by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.