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Mix and Match Your Promotion

Mix and Match Your Promotion

By Brian Jud

A carpenter knows that the right tool applied in the proper situation gets the job done most effectively. Similarly, you should use the correct marketing tools when building a successful promotional campaign.

The Promotion Mix

Promotion is one of the most important functions of marketing. It makes people aware that your books exists, and makes them understand why they need to buy it. There are four general promotional tools you can use at different times to accomplish these goals.

1) Sales promotion uses items such as premiums, giveaways, brochures and coupons for generating awareness and stimulating demand through short-term awareness campaigns. They can easily be tied in with other promotional tools. Conversely, they usually have short-term impact, overuse of price-related offers may hurt your profits and competitors easily copy effective promotions.

2) Publicity, such as press releases and reviews, is perhaps the most economical element of the promotional mix. It increases awareness and credibility through a third-party testimonial. On the other had, you have no control over what is printed in a review or article about your book.

3) Advertising, including direct mail, can reach many consumers simultaneously with the same message, with a relatively low cost per exposure. It can increase awareness of your titles and educate people about the benefits of buying them. However, since your advertisement reaches many people who are not potential buyer you could waste a lot of money. In addition, consumers easily screen out advertising.

4) Personal selling can be the most persuasive selling tool because it allows two-way communication. It is the best tool for closing the sale. The major disadvantage is its high cost per contact.

Your job is to determine when and how to use each of these tools to optimize your sales. For example, suppose your author is about to conduct a booksigning. It will be more successful if you precede the event with an awareness campaign. This might include an enlargement of the book's cover featured in the store (sales promotion), press releases sent to the local media (publicity); post cards mailed to prospective customers (advertising) or media appearances promoting the signing (personal selling).

Match your promotional mix to the circumstances

Creating and implementing a successful promotional mix will be more likely if you match your promotional mix to:

1) Your overall marketing objectives. If your title is in its introductory stage, mass communication techniques should be emphasized. Initially, people need to understand why it is in their best interest to purchase your book. Later, they need to be reminded to buy it. The people you are trying to influence may be acquisitions people at distributors, libraries, bookstores, or the consumers themselves. If your objective is to market nonfiction to specific niches, then direct mail might lead your attack. If you plan a heavy trade-show schedule then personal selling may prevail.

2) The personality of your authors. Authors who loathe media appearances might be better suited to a promotional mix heavy in direct mail, publicity and advertising. Others may thrive on national exposure and excel in performing on the air and in personal performances.

3) The nature of your product line. A list heavy in fiction lends itself to a mix weighted toward sales promotion, publicity and advertising where mass communication's low cost per exposure stimulates demand most efficiently. Of course, personal selling in the form of a national media blitz is also suited to stimulating broad awareness and demand.

4) The nature of your markets. A nonfiction title destined for a tightly defined market niche dictates personal communication, perhaps implemented through a targeted campaign of direct mail, publicity and advertising.

When building a promotional campaign for a new or existing title, look at all the items in your toolbox before deciding which to use. Stimulating awareness of a new fiction title from an introverted author requires a different mix of tools than you would use for a nonfiction title written by an author who is a veteran media performer. Use the right tool and hit the nail on the head.