What we learn about marketing anything, from marketing a nonfiction book

As you can’t fail to have heard I have just published another nonfiction book of my own (as well as some of my clients’ new books!) … and the experience of marketing them has reaffirmed my convictions that most books benefit from being regarded as ‘products’ as well as works of art.

how marketing a book is similar to marketing any other product

Without being too pedantic, here’s a reminder of the Four P’s Of Marketing

Before you jump down my throat and call me a Philistine, let’s take a deeper look

As you you know ‘marketing’ can mean anything from an academic structure within commerce to walking down the street to buy groceries. I lean towards the former, largely because I was taught about marketing at college and now get groceries delivered. Without being too pedantic, here’s a brief reminder of the Four P’s Of Marketing:

Product: what it is. Of genuine value to target market? Or a solution looking for a problem? Do you know that it’s what people want? Do you have the know-how to deliver it?

Price: the price point where it sits . Not just the $$$ or £££, but also how you will justify its price point. Value for money.

Place: where your product fits into its market and its competition. Why people should buy this rather than your competitors’ alternatives.

Promotion: aha, here’s where we get the confusion with the walk to the grocery store. As I often whine about, when most people today talk about ‘marketing,’ they actually mean ‘promotion.’ Or if we want to be a little fancier, ‘marketing communication.’ Marketing, however, is all of the above.

Just for laughs, let’s put together three discrete ‘products’ and see how the Four Ps apply to them
  1. A business book
  2. A work of literary fiction
  3. A course on how to run Zoom meetings
Product

The business book: needs to be based on what its market really needs, not what its author wants to brag about. Needs to be structured to the right level of understanding and depth that’s appropriate for the target market. Needs to impart something new and fresh that readers won’t find elsewhere.

The literary novel: needs provide the high standard of literary and artistic skill that its market expects, not necessarily what its authors want to write about. Needs to be structured to the right level of understanding and depth that’s appropriate for the target market. Needs to impart something new and fresh that readers won’t find elsewhere.

The Zoom course: needs to be based on what its market really needs, not what its authors think they need. Needs to be structured to the right level of understanding and depth that’s appropriate for the target market. Needs to impart something new and fresh that readers won’t find elsewhere.

Price

The business book: needs to fit into a price point where it does not seem too cheap as potential purchasers might think it’s of low value, but not greatly exceed the price of competitors’ books unless there is an obvious advantage, e.g. hard cover, expanded edition, etc.

The literary novel: needs to fit into a price point where it does not seem too cheap as potential purchasers might think it’s of low value, but not greatly exceed the price of competitors’ books unless there is an obvious advantage, e.g. hard cover or being one in a series of books, impending film deal, etc.

The Zoom course: needs to fit into a price point where it does not seem too cheap as potential purchasers might think it’s of low value, but not greatly exceed the price of competitors’ courses unless there is an obvious advantage, e.g. new information, new approaches, beneficial shortcuts, etc.

Place

The business book: needs to be positioned as the very latest in works by this particular author and/or about this particular topic, with emphasis on what makes it a) different and b) better than its competitors’ books.

The literary novel: needs to be positioned as the very latest in works by this particular author and/or within this particular genre, with emphasis on what makes it a) different and b) more striking / shocking / gripping / beautifully written than its competitors’ books.

The Zoom course: needs to be positioned as the very latest in courses on this particular topic, with emphasis on what makes it a) different and b) better than its competitors’ courses.

Promotion

The business book: needs to be promoted using a wide range of skills and techniques, mostly initiated and conducted by the author – not the publisher. Even if you go with a traditional publisher the fact that you and your business/occupation are so closely connected with your book means that you are by far the best promotional tool the book can have. Positive reviews on Amazon and other platforms help a lot.

The literary novel: needs to be promoted using a wide range of skills and techniques, mostly initiated and conducted by the author – not the publisher, although if you are a famous literary author most publishers will put a little oomph behind your promotional campaign. Readers/buyers will love listening to your talks and reading your perusals about the book as well as the literary reviews it should generate.

The Zoom course: needs to be promoted using a wide range of skills and techniques, mostly initiated and conducted by the creator. Reviews of the course are very valuable though as are social media comments, testimonials, recommendations etc.

Am I dreaming, or are there quite a few common denominators here?

Punchlines:
1) Never forget that what most people think of as ‘marketing,’ isn’t. It’s promotion. Marketing goes back a lot deeper.
2) Never forget that whether you are selling a book or a can of beans, many of the right marketing elements are similar.

What do you think?

Please share your views in the comments…

 

 

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If you fancy writing a nonfiction book but need some affordable help to do it easily, check out How To Write A Brilliant Nonfiction Book – to help you communicate your message, expertise and skills to the world at large.

how to write a brilliant nonfiction bookGet your copy here:

Amazon UK

Amazon USA

Amazon Canada

… all other Amazons too.

Print and Kindle.

(And thank you in anticipation of your purchase!)

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