6 Secrets of Successful
by Rohit Bhargava, author of Personality Not Included
I've probably worked on hundreds of marketing campaigns in my time over the past
ten years working at agencies. And what I realized these past few weeks as I've
been launching my own book, is that I've never worked on a book launch among all
those campaigns and that it's different when it's your own project as opposed to
something you work on for someone else.
I thought about doing a recap of the
entire marketing effort behind PNI (including the things I am still planning but
haven't yet launched), but that's only something you can do a year or longer
after launching the book and seeing the results of effort.
Of course, waiting
that long seems like way too long to share some things I have already learned,
so here's a first list of some secrets I've learned so far about working in
the publishing industry which will hopefully be useful for you whether you are
launching your own book, or some other product or service:
1. Provide a vision. Lots of people will want to try and help you with a book
when you come out with it because it is exciting. The trick is to keep them
excited about it beyond the initial buzz of meeting you or hearing that you have
a book out. My vision for the book had partially to do with a very short and
powerful elevator pitch (personality matters) which I have been talking about
since my first post about the power of personality picking it as the trend to
watch for 2008 back in my first post of the new year. The vision for the book is
what people can believe in, and what has propelled much of the buzz from people
so far talking about it.
2. Avoid the big bang. Lots of books launch with a
big burst of activity and then fade away. Instead, my marketing strategy for PNI
extends for more than a year. There is lots of activity now and you could be
forgiven for thinking that I am using the same big bang approach as other
books ... but trust me when I say that there is a much longer term approach to
how I am promoting this book.
I expect peak sales for PNI to come a year or two
from now, and hopefully continue. I aimed to write a book that was
international, had a shelf life beyond the usual 2 years and that would build
word of mouth as more people purchased, read, and used the ideas within it. "Bum
rushing charts" is great for a spike, but I am building a brand around the book
that I want to last for far longer than a weekend.
3. Know your competition. I know that I released a book in the same time
frame as the long awaited Groundswell from Charlene and Josh from Forrester
(both of whom I know and have great respect and admiration for). On occasion, I
get a question about what it is like to be competing with them by having PNI
come out within a week of Groundswell. I don't see it like that firstly because
we have very different books (mine is only peripherally about social media and
is actually more of a marketing/branding/entrepreneurship book). Secondly, and
more importantly, we are not with the same publisher. My real competition is any
other book from McGraw-Hill that is part of their Spring 2008 catalog which is
competing for marketing resources from the MH team. So far PNI is the lead title
from McGraw-Hill's entire Spring catalog. That's why we managed to presell more
than half of our entire first edition run to bookstores (more than 10,000 units)
before the book was even released.
4. Get used to uncertainty. When you launch a book, there are a lot of
elements that are out of your control. The actual release date, the binding, the
timelines ... everything will start to seem a bit haphazard and uncoordinated.
Luckily, I have a lot of experience working with big brands, so the experience
of working in an environment where you are not quite sure of everything that
others are doing to work on the same challenge as you is a very familiar
situation for me. The main way I have learned to tackle this is by sharing more
openly what I am doing and reacting to new information quickly as I get it.
5. Build a team one by one. My book is all about how you need to make the
individuals in your organization the ones that can speak for your brand and
bring it to life. In publishing, this means selling the concept of the book to
all the people from my publisher who may have the chance to touch it. I have
been directly emailing more than 25 individuals in offices around the world at
McGraw-Hill to build relationships with them and bring them into the marketing
team for PNI.
I know what it's like to have multiple projects to work on each
day ... I've done that in agencies for many years. Now that I'm the client, I'm
taking my own advice and trying to make my project the one that team members
choose to work on more than any of the other ones on their plate. I want PNI to
be the project they tell their families about with excitement after getting home
from a day of work.
6. Launch quickly, iterate and move on. This is a lesson that more and more
marketers are starting to embrace, in part because of the perceived success of a
brand like Google in just trying lots of things, seeing what works, and then
focusing on that. The nice thing about being my own client is that I have
ultimate say on whether to do something or not. And the tact I've taken with
most campaigns around the book launch is to decide quickly and do it. The
virtual interview idea that I had on book launch day (March 28th) which resulted
in buzz on more than 60 blogs was an idea that I had just four days earlier. It
fit with my strategy, was implementable and so I did it. I will soon be
launching a follow up to that effort (next week) that should get even more buzz.
This list is based on a few months of promotional effort for
Included. As time runs on, I hope to have even more insights to share ... as
well as more detailed results behind them to illustrate just how effective they
101 More Ways . . .