DIRECT SALES: Never Mind the Big Etailers?
Cultivate relationships—and earn trust. "A major reason for our success is that as part of a diverse publishing and media company, we have a large customer database and a long history of being in customers' homes," Vincent notes. "We have a huge marketing database full of customer purchase behavior and demographics, and a stronger understanding of our ultimate consumer than the average publisher would have. We also, of course, have this fabulous brand, so we have 'permission' to contact our consumers directly because of who we are and our long-standing relationship with so many of them."
Offering direct sales is about providing choice. Retailers are not "the enemy," Vincent notes, and in cultivating direct-to-consumer selling, publishers should see the effort as a means to provide choices, not to drive consumers in a particular direction. "We just believe that it is important to contact each individual customer (or potential customer) via their preferred method," Vincent says. "For some customers, that's traditional brick-and-mortar, for others, that's through social media, and for others that's through direct mail and email."
Leverage cross-media assets. National Geographic successfully markets across various products and platforms.
Research and adapt. The organization is seeking to better understand what its organizational membership model means to consumers in the 21st century, and how marketing efforts should evolve in response.
Publisher & Editorial Director
Ogden has made targeted, cross-media selling into an art form for its legions of devoted magazine readers (its best known titles are Mother Earth News and Utne Reader), capitalizing on its position as an authority on sustainable living, rural technology and the do-it-yourself lifestyle. Leveraging its trusted brands, Ogden cultivates book sales through sophisticated direct marketing efforts. According to Welch, the bottom line is to "make sure your content builds trust and rapport with your audience and then make sure it's offered to them in every medium they desire."