Andrews McMeel's Strategy: Building 'Bench Depth'
With some of its better-known and wackier titles including "The Complete Far Side," "What the Duck: A W.T. Duck Collection," "Cake Wrecks: When Professional Cakes Go Hilariously Wrong" and "Butter My Butt & Call Me a Biscuit: And Other Country Sayings, Say-So's, Hoots & Hollers," one might think that Andrews McMeel Publishing's (AMP) strategic advantage comes from its funny bone. But, while humor is one of the company's leading product categories, there is no doubt that it's serious about its approach to publishing.
Building the Bench
You could sum up the Kansas City-based company's modus operandi in just a few words: remarkable content, diversification and strategic partnerships. The company, which publishes some 300 titles annually, has built its business on several core book categories (humor, cookbooks, crafts and children's books), but also relies heavily on several other diverse product categories—from calendars to gift and puzzle books. It also is working to continually expand its reach and stay ahead of shifts in an evolving marketplace.
With all the changes in the book market, Andrews McMeel CEO Hugh Andrews says, "We are implementing strategies that not only respond to, but hopefully anticipate change." It continues to diversify and expand its customer base, he says, "as we focus on sales to special markets, and we have established a foothold internationally through Andrews McMeel UK and Andrews McMeel Australia/New Zealand."
Like many others, AMP is increasingly relying on digital initiatives, he notes, "with a focus on online marketing through Web sites and blogs, and by utilizing social media networks (such as Facebook and Twitter). We employ a targeted marketing approach for each of our titles, using a variety of methods of engagement."
Video has become a staple of its marketing as well. "We have found videos to be a valuable and useful asset in spreading news about our books," says Kirsty Melville, publisher and president of AMP's book group. "We market videos to the consumer and the retailer, in both traditional and online media outlets, including social media."