The Prescription for a Healthy Marketing Campaign
Is declining readership a concern in your markets?
Henson: Although booksellers in several market segments are facing declining book sales—as shifting demand, online publishing, increasing prices and the wealth of information available on the Internet for free all take effect—we have not seen these changes in the market adversely affect our sales. We have seen sales of both our patient-ed and our professional line increase greatly over the past couple of years.
The professional market is strong and … always hungry for the latest advances and developments, with immediate impact on physicians’ professional success and bottom line income. …
As far as our trade line goes, we have seen an increased demand for resources and materials relating to all aspects of health and medicine from disease-specific information, chronic medical conditions, therapies and coping strategies to disease prevention. Sales of our patient-education titles have steadily increased across the board in the past few years. I think the reason for this is threefold: The documented demographic trend of an aging U.S. population and the rise of chronic nonfatal conditions within this population; more sophisticated health consumers; and the rising number of family as caregivers in the United States.
I think that the Internet has affected our sales in a positive way. Online information can create demand for new books on specific topics that we might not have taken a chance on in years past, as we didn’t think they were big enough to market. People have become accustomed to turning to the Internet for quick, reliable information. And we have found that this just creates a more sophisticated health consumer that will then search out more information in the form of authoritative books on specific medical conditions to help supplement their needs.
Have any significant changes in marketing taken place throughout your career?
Henson: The biggest change in marketing that has taken place during my career is the electronic revolution in information delivery. In terms of marketing, as a company, we have really embraced the Internet as a sales tool. We reach out to customers through our e-mail newsletter, we send mass e-mail press releases to media lists … we conduct linking campaigns for all our titles. Linking campaigns achieve two things: They bring our site up in search engine rankings, and they get the word out to specific organizations, sites, blogs, etc., about a book that can be of use to their readership. We also take advantage of message boards and online communities devoted to relevant topics.