Editor's Note: Cruise Altitude
The very first article I ever wrote for Book Business magazine was way back in March 2008. Seems like ancient history, doesn't it?
It was a freelance piece titled "Marketing on Cruise Control," and I had been tasked with examining the launch strategy behind notorious celeb biographer Andrew Morton's controversial "Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography."
Cruise, who's been in the news a bit just this month thanks to his split from Katie Holmes, has always been a lightning rod for controversy, and in 2008 he was at the height of his conductive powers.
The challenge wasn't necessarily to create buzz—that was sure to come. The challenge was to control it, to keep it under wraps (and out of the publisher's catalog) until just the right time to avoid having some other publisher rush a product to the shelves ahead of St. Martin's title, capitalizing on whatever awareness the Morton book would create.
With a campaign based around scoring pre-sale print, television and radio interviews and then running a full-page in the New York Times the day it hit shelves, St. Martin's kept it simple, and was rewarded.
It's funny how book marketing has changed in those four years. Something that struck me from that piece was a line I wrote:
"The marketing plan wasn't particularly complicated or newfangled—no blogs, social networking or viral video here—but it was well-considered and deftly executed."
It's hard to imagine any title, especially one of this magnitude, launching today without a Facebook page, Twitter campaign (and how quaint that we called it "social networking" back then), author blogs, online assets and video, and all other manner of digital marketing. (And if our E-marketing Strategy columnist J.S. McDougall had anything to say about it, a content-marketing campaign, rather than traditional advertising, would be employed; see p. 28).
Related story: Launchpad: Marketing on Cruise Control