Shifts in Marketing Strategies


The market of publishing has shifted as the age of social media has come into the world. This has created a new outlet to advertise books and push for the consumers to buy the books at hand. The publishers marketing strategies had to shift in recent years to keep up with the ever-changing social trends of the internet. Kristin Fassler, VP, Director of Marketing at Penguin Random House, voiced her opinion on the matter saying, “publishers will have to be much more imaginative and innovative as they experiment with different social platforms [and] manage social advertising budgets.” This shift in what the consumers want has made the marketers have to change their way of thinking about how they need to go about selling their product.

In recent years marketing in general has taken a leap from the typical cookie cutter fluff to build a companies brand into what we see today as ultimately a paradigm shift. Researching this paradigm shift I found that there are three parts that created this shift.

  1. Consumers do not want to be bombarded with advertisements every two seconds. From advertisements on their social networks to spam mail, this does not make the consumer want to buy, but instead avoid the product out of pure annoyance. This proved that the customer wanted the brand to care about them, not just hassle them for their money or time.
  2. Have you ever been browsing on the internet and looked up one item, and then for the rest of the day all of the ads on your computer were about this item or products similar? This is not a coincidence. Now marketers have figured out how to use data that they collected to better understand what their consumers want. By listening to this they have learned what we like and what we want in our products. Marketers are using their “access to data and dedication to ‘optimization’ that makes real time marketing possible. They can reach consumers on an individual level — and meet their needs.” Instead of guessing what an individual consumer may want or need in a product these marketers now know by the use of this form of technology.
  3. Self-promotion is now the way of the past and seen as a turn off in the marketing world. When a consumer sees a company promoting themselves instead of looking to fulfill the basic needs and wants fulfilled in a product they may want to buy they immediately see distaste in this strategy. “The most successful and compelling brands are the ones that listen as much as — if not more than — they talk.” The consumer has a need to be heard. This way of thinking has shifted marketers and made them focus more on the question of,”What do the consumers need?”, rather than,”What does our company need?”

As the marketing world has continued to shift, due to the use of social media, one trend has appeared that, until the age of the internet, seemed unimaginable.”Now it has become a predictably efficient routine to sell information products by permitting potential consumers to sample a virtual smorgasbord of free digital content. Publishers and content marketers literally give away their stores with the confidence that eventually, a number of these users will convert to paying customers for premium content and experiences. That’s where the profits are made.” Instead of an author selling their books up-front, giving sneak previews of the text has become a trend among writers today. This marketing strategy is done with a hope that maybe one day this will lead to the reader actually purchasing the whole book, not just bumming off the free dozen or so pages that are easily accessible on the internet. This strategy may make some uneasy, but it does lead to successes. Giving the audience just enough of the story peaks their interest and makes them want more.

Not all of the shifts in marketing strategies cause problems for the advertisers. In fact, publishers have a big advantage in these shifts if they focus on one specific element to the equation. New York Times editor Neil Chase stated that,”“The publishers have a distinct advantage that nobody else can quite match: audience.” Marketing is not primarily about making money. It is about forming a relationship with your consumers so that you will have repeat customers. Lucia Moses of Digiday agrees stating that “the best examples seem to come from the publishers that are fully committed and are putting a lot of [human] resources behind it.” It is easy for a company to think about what it will gain from book sales, but trying to form a personal relationship with your consumer is an advantage that will only help you form a bigger customer base if done in the right way. This strategy is the same for any publisher, weather they are self published, independent, or part of the big five. If the marketers remember who their audience is that the writers are writing for they will have a better chance at success, but if they begin to become greedy and selfish the consumers may see that they are not genuine in their actions. This will cause the potential to lose a return customer. Shifts will happen in the world of marketing, but if the publishers and marketers remember who their audience is they will be able to keep up with the changing trends that make the marketing world go round.


  1. How do you think companies today try to focus on their audience in an attempt to form a relationship with their consumers?
  2. What would you say is the biggest factor today in the shifts of marketing strategies for publishers?
  3. How do you think that social media trends have affected book sales?
  4. How do companies advertise their books today to draw the consumer in, as opposed to ten years ago?






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