Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Field Report: Ride the Wave - PULL Marketing

In May, we published two Finer Points Friday 're-posts' on Intentional Marketing (see our Notable Posts tab for direct links):
  1. Rooted Marketing: Building Marketing Tools into Your Story by Dineen Miller - Friday, May 11, 2012
  2. Tips on Intentional Marketing (Dineen Miller's post with our comments) - Friday, May 18, 2012
Morgan says: In my many travels across the country and around the world, I am always on the look out for examples of marketing at work....yes, I'm a marketing geek, I know.  Last Wednesday I featured pictures from a bookstore at IAH airport in Houston, TX.  In that same bookstore, I found an excellent example of intentional marketing at work. 

Notice in the picture below how Sylvia Day's Bared to You is shelved next to E. L. James 50 Shades Series.  Ms. Day's book was originally self-published with a different cover,  however when the Penguin Group acquired and reissued Bared to You, they changed the cover art.  Since Bared to You's story line is similar to the 50 Shades Series, why not 'ride the wave' and produce a similar cover?   This tactic is one form of 'suggestive selling.'  Pictured below is the in-store version of the "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought" section on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or any number of other websites.

In this instance, it is the store's merchandising team grouping similar products together in the hopes of boosting overall sales.   Having a similar cover subliminally validates (correctly or incorrectly) at first glance that the reader is purchasing more of what they already like, but from a different author.  The 'different author' part is expressed through the use of a warm color palette choice (dove gray + gold & black accents), instead of the cool colors (steel gray + midnight blue & white accents) used by the 50 Shades Series covers.

E.L. James next to Sylvia Day on the bookstore shelf.

With regards to "Rooted Marketing", E. L. James mentions several classical music pieces throughout the 50 Shades books.  Of course, it makes sense to 'ride the wave' of such a popular series and produce a CD compilation of all the classical music mentioned in the book.

50 Shades classical music CD on display at Barnes & Noble

Both of the pictures above are examples of a PULL marketing strategy executed at a Point-of-Purchase (POP).  Interest in one product, pulls a consumer to purchase a similar or related product.

Thoughts & Observations:
  • A word of caution with regards to similar covers (especially for my self-published folks who have more control over their cover designs), make sure  you are indeed delivering a similar story.  Otherwise you risk turning off (or worse - cheesing off) your target audience.
  • There are loads of examples of authors creating merchandise around a popular series.  More often than not, the author is actually licensing the use of elements of their work to a third party company.  (I promise you, J. K. Rawling isn't spending her spare time knitting Hogwart's house scarves, but she approved a licensing agreement for a scarf manufacturer.)
  • 50 Shades is the ultimate example of "riding the wave" (PULL) marketing - especially given the fact that the original manuscript was Twilight fan fiction.
  • How can you emulate this strategy?  Perhaps you can self-publish your world building notes to create a guide book for one of your worlds.

What are your thoughts?


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1 comment:

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