Nine things we learned at the BMS Masterclass on backlist marketing

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by James Spackman

Marketers should learn to write like booksellers talkCaroline Maddison and Claire Wilshaw, creators of the #ByBook multi-title campaign, channeled their inner retailers to persuasively recommend books on their site. The difference to conventional book blurb is striking…

A hashtag is a better listening device than broadcasting tool, said Justine Gold, ex of Little, Brown, in relation to the I [heart] Atwood campaign. If your message is clear and shareable, you don’t necessarily need a hashtag.

A novel is like a plate of food. Inspired by Zainab Juma at Penguin, Caroline Maddison suggested describing books as though they were dishes (ingredients, flavours, size, etc). An extremely handy idea, which I think we will all steal.

… by the same token, Mills & Boon novels are bars of chocolate to their readers, according to Emma Pickard. An indulgent treat that they absolutely know will be enjoyable.

A little Facebook ad spend goes a long way if you’re very specific indeed with your keywords, said Justine Gold and Rachel Wilkie.

Programming Nostalgia is a thing. Matthew Young, designer at Penguin and one of three creators of their groundbreaking Richard Dawkins anniversary campaign, told us that people’s fond memories of obsolete code (Dawkins’ evolution modeler) was a crucial PR draw.

Adopting readers’ vocabulary from their Amazon reviews is a useful shortcut to get just the right voice for a campaign (Caroline and Claire again).

Three is the magic number: designer + programmer + marketer = stunning backlist campaign. That’s how the Dawkins campaign was created, and Matthew Young thought the three-person, three-specialism dynamic was crucial to its success.

The physical presence of books is a powerful draw. The #ByBook video used giant books, being carried, held, used, by human beings. Not so much glorifying the object, but showing it in use.

Spackman also rounded up learnings from the first Spackman masterclass breakfast on marketing adult titles in ‘Nine things we learned at the BMS Marketing Masterclass‘.

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