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Practical Guidance on Marketing Plans

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In the realm of business,
marketing differs from sales because it concentrates on a multidirectional
push–pull effort that takes customers’ needs into account and aims to
fulfill those needs. Sales, on the other hand, concentrates on pushing products
into stores; it is more one-dimensional in terms of direction and effort.


Many excellent titles cover book
marketing and offer marketing ideas. My premise—and I say this
categorically—is that you can never do too much marketing on behalf of a
book. You can spend too much money on marketing, but you can never do too much
of it.


Many publishers, both large and
small, find it helpful to set targets for their marketing efforts. These
targets should be carefully defined in terms of daily, weekly, and monthly
tasks. For instance, publishers’ targets might include completing a certain
number of phone calls to reviewers every day; sending out one feature story
each week; and visiting the various book clubs twice each year. Using such
targets assures consistency in marketing efforts and builds overall marketing
momentum, both for a particular book and for a publisher’s whole program. It’s
a strategy that makes sense and that every publisher should use.


Marketing costs—including
the expenses entailed by selling and promotion—should amount to about 13
to 16 percent of net sales. This is in accord with generally accepted
percentages at most profitable publishing companies.


The Plan’s Parts


Once you’ve committed to a consistent
marketing effort, you must plan and budget for it. In addition, you must make
sure that everyone on staff who needs to know what marketing plans are can find
the information quickly.


I recommend creating a marketing
plan for every book. The plan should include:


a marketing budget

sales goals for years one and two

specific marketing targets for the

marketing strategy for the book

publicity strategy for the book,
with specifics about


galleys for prepublication reviewers

copy plans


tours and interviews

story coverage

parties; publication parties and other events

information from author

book exhibit plans

advertising plans

plans for author seminars,
lectures, speaking engagements

in-store promotion plans

library promotion plans

wholesaler promotion plans

textbook and/or school adoption

plans for special-sales prospects

plans for subrights sales

plans for premium sales prospects

plans for mail-order catalog sales

plans for specialty-outlet sales
prospects, in nontraditional outlets such as hardware stores, lawn and garden
shops, and health food stores

other plans


As you can see from the length of
this list, sales and marketing issues are numerous, and they must be addressed
as early in the publishing cycle as possible. Money you spend that doesn’t
result in a coordinated plan and the effective sale of books will be


Focusing the marketing plan is
critical to success. If you’ve clearly defined your editorial niche, then the
marketing you do for one book should help the marketing you do for others on
your list. For example, if you are selling gardening books, the media lists you
generate to publicize one gardening book can be used for others you are
publishing, which saves time and effort. If you have done a successful in-store
promotion on one book with certain accounts, those accounts will be more
inclined to do promotions with you on another book in the same subject area. If
you do your research and compile a list of mail-order catalogs for one title
and you are successful in getting a book into a catalog, you will know which
catalogs to pitch for subsequent books of a similar nature.


While all these things can be
accomplished with a variety of books on eclectic subjects, focusing saves time,
money, and energy. I highly recommend it.


The Basic Marketing Plan Worksheet
that follows will help you reach your marketing goals.



This article is excerpted
from Publishing for
, third edition, by Thomas Woll, published by Chicago
Review Press. To order, call 800/888-4741, or visit www.chicagoreviewpress.com.


Tom Woll is president of
Cross River Publishing Consultants, Katonah, NY, which provides a full range of
consulting services to publishers of all sizes. He can be reached at
914/232-6708 or twoll@pubconsultants.com.


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