The New Era of Book Marketing
Follow the Market's Lead
It doesn't always come down to budget; sometimes it's about where the market takes you. Education publisher Cengage Learning is doing more online marketing simply because it's producing more digital than physical books these days, explains Dan Silverburg, vice president of marketing for the humanities and social sciences.
"The marketing of the material is changing to match the customer," he says.
Cengage has two primary audiences: instructors and students, and it markets to both differently.
"For instructors, we use social media, especially LinkedIn, to create communities (such as for psychology teachers) so they can share best practices, tips and tricks for teaching," Silverburg says.
For students, the marketing is mostly via Twitter, where they can share notes and talk about different Cengage products.
"What student is going to listen to Mr. Corporation?" Silverburg asks. "Students use Twitter to help spread the word [about] products that help them be successful in the classroom. So we offer the ability to tweet within our digital products. This allows students to talk about what's helping them. They've become their own marketing tool."
Cengage is using blogs, too, to ensure that authors can provide almost real-time content, he says, which is sometimes much more timely than what is published in a book. For example, a blog about the recent situation in Egypt can supplement a book on the Middle East and keep it relevant.
"This allows us to be seen as experts in the field, so it is a form of marketing," points out Silverburg.
Blogs and social media might seem new to some people, while firmly established to others, but it's only been, respectively, seven and five years since the launch of Facebook and Twitter. However, in that time, they've changed how people communicate and how business is done.