The word integrated can be defined as “to make into a whole by bringing all parts together.” In integrated marketing, the goal is to create a unified message about what you are trying to sell. Thanks to hyper-competition in every category and the rapid proliferation of media choices available to today’s readers, a unified message is necessary in order to break through the pack and gain attention for yourself.
In integrated marketing, plans must maximize every author touch point by developing an understanding of how the reader behaves pre-purchase, during purchase, and post-purchase. The purchase process can take minutes or years, depending on the reader, but an authors’ understanding of how it works and what you can do to affect each phase, can keep your sales climbing.
To understand integrated marketing in its most basic form, let’s look at what Apple did with the first launch of the iPad into the marketplace.
- Pre-Purchase: Apple used deliberate “leaks” to generate pre-announcement buzz leading up to the pre-launch event (featuring Steve Jobs). They also did an email blast to the seven million names on their email list and launched the product with a TV commercial.
- During Purchase: Apple used web demonstrations and in-store demonstrations, and gave consumers the option to buy online, in-store, and by phone.
- Post-Purchase: The iPad’s packaging represents the brand and its product promise. Apple captured extra revenue by selling extending warranties and offered walk-in support at their stores.
While this is easy to look at from a consumer/product standpoint, can you name an author who has done or is doing the same thing? I can.
With the book itself not releasing until 10/2, pre-purchase “Leaks” for Dennis Lehane’s LIVE BY NIGHT appeared in the July/August issue of Playboy this summer when Harper Collins allowed first chapter printing of his newest novel. Excerpts were also featured at BEA’s Book Buzz and snippets were featured on the internet and in social media. On his website, pre-order links are featured from Amazon, B&N, and Apple iBookstore.
For his release, he has in-person events scheduled as well as “Author Tracker” listed on his website. Author Tracker allows fans to receive email updates on particular events and appearances.
Post purchase: The buzz has already started. Internet sites are reporting that the film script for LIVE BY NIGHT is being developed for Leonardo DiCaprio.
Now, we’re all not Dennis Lehane, Nora Roberts, Stephen King or any of the other genre greats. I get that. But here are some best practices that we can do to begin to create our own integrated marketing plans for ourselves:
Best Practices for Integrated Marketing
- Use the same tone of voice everywhere, especially in social media communications.
- Build a reader database. Never give away anything without getting something in return, like an email address. Data is your friend.
- Create a tight linkage between email communications, your website, and social media, because they all give the opportunity to engage in conversations with readers.
- Make news to get free media. Don’t be afraid of self-promotion.
- Coordinate the timing of free and paid media to maximize impact. Advertise in the same magazine or online blog you are featured in. Make sure your article and ad run concurrently.
- Give readers choices as to how to buy the product. Let them know you are available in stores or online. Where you are featured online, provide the reader with all the links.
- Design a system that drives the reader towards a purchase, while avoiding comparison shopping. Encourage readers to purchase your book off your website to avoid them buying someone else’s.
Head spinning? Oh, no! It’s not as hard as it looks, trust me. If you need help, there are plenty of books designed to help you work your way through the chaos of marketing. There are also services that can help. Goddess Fish, YouDoPR and, even my own company, Market or Die Author Services are geared to support the author through the scary world of marketing their own work.
Marketing takes time. Yes. Patience? Yes. More importantly, it takes a plan. I tell authors I work with at Market or Die Author Services to engage me at least 60-days prior to the launch of their book. Why? Planning the integrated plan is the most important task of all.
By planning, the author won’t have to worry if they’ve done everything they can to market their new release. Nor will they struggle to “think up” the next Twitter or FB post. Knowing how to position yourself in the marketplace and crafting messages to support your position will lead to sales and the success you’re looking for.
*Portions of this article have been taken from the ANA’s Article Integrated Marketing Communications dated 9/19/2012.