#MPconf16: How Sticking to What We Know Won’t Help us Grow: “No room for complacency.”

mpconf16Is there anybody out there? | Pan Macmillan Digital & Communications Director Sara Lloyd took to the Bookseller’s Marketing and Publicity Conference to chat about the C word: well, five of them to be precise.

No room for complacency.
Our core proposition. We need to develop platforms and content with a future-look. Are we ready for new and emergent talent? Include book sales while developing new platforms, keep abreast of digital and mobile platforms. It’s a daily balancing act, the ol’ 60/30/10 – all of them give value. As a sub-C: content: avoid complacency. Consumption is changing: we need to understand it, and question how to reach existing and new markets, adapt for technologies, to cultivate audiences, and how to grow the market.

Complacency is not an option. We hear it all the time: We’re safe! Ebook sales declining! Print resurgent! Digital media doesn’t drive booksales! Readers aren’t interested in interactive content! Challenge the complacent attitude. Ebooks: there’s a vast and unseen segment of the market: What do they want? Let’s be clear: the digital revolution wasn’t ebooks – it was a maelstrom of changes in people’s time and interests. Digital media is marketing on the internet, part of the marketing toolkit. Ignoring it is like pulling the blind down on your biggest shop window.

As for readers and interactive content? They are interested in interactive content, just not ours. Our books don’t need to be interactive but consider Snapchat for live stories as one example. There is no room for complacency.

To the circle of publishing. We need to break away from people like us, bring in new voices, talk to new brands. Millennials, for example, are more than a generation of people – they’re not a market, and they’re not defined by age group. Respect more the values and mindests of audiences, rather than clumsy demographics.

Change is inevitable. Mobile. Personalisation. Video. UGC. Events and partnerships. These are all ways in which things are changing. Mobile-friendly websites get preference on Google, to not adapt puts you at a disadvantage. Phones are where people talk to friends and family, it’s intimate – we need brands to sit in that context.

And lastly, canaries. Thank Will Self for this particular analogy. But younger people are canaries – watch what they do, how they interact, what they’re using – it’s all a way to learn.

It’s all about curiosity and exploration. Respect your canaries.

More from the Bookseller’s Marketing and Publicity Conference.

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