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?






Read All About It: Zondervan Publishing

zondervanType of Publisher: What kinds of publications does this publisher produce? Describe its list(s) and aesthetic. How many publications does the publisher develop each year? How many people, and in what functions, does the publisher employ?

Zondervan is a publishing company that produces Christian based books. This publishing company is the most well known of all the Christian publishing companies. It has been producing books for over 80 years. Zondervan is a branch of Harper Collins publishing company, which helps add to its popularity. The types of publications that Zondervan produces include Christian fiction and Christian nonfiction. A few examples of these are the NIV version of the Bible, the VeggieTales book series, Duck Dynasty books, and Rick Warren’s The Purpose-Driven Life. To go deeper into the genres that this company produces, let’s look at them in more detail. Zondervan produces marriage and lifestyle books, Jesus storytelling books for children, gift books for holidays, romance fiction, and even Sci-Fi fiction. This range of books appeals to a wide range audience, but I believe the main aesthetic of their books is inspirational. This company sells books in multiple formats in more than sixty countries. Their books are translated into over 200 languages. The company, tied with Harper Collins, revenues $160 million in sales annually. Zondervan’s publishing division was putting out an average of 130 new titles a year. They also had 1,000 titles in the backlist. They have many different branch off companies which have helped developed their profits. These include, Zondervan academic, Zonderkidz, Blink, and Vida. The number of employees they have is close to 400. They pride themselves in being a family business, which higher people that share their same values.


Market: Who is the publisher’s market? Is it diverse or narrow? Where does the publisher advertise?

The publishers market are people who are interested in faith based books and novels. They also cater to people who like to read inspiring or knowledge based books. It is diverse in a sense, but I feel that you will only read these books if spirituality appeals to you in some aspect. If it does not, you may not even pick up a book. The publisher advertises on their website, in stores that carry books, in churches, and in spiritual based businesses. Being a part of Harper Collins helps the advertisement because it is a name that people trust and are familiar with.

Funding: How is the publisher funded?

This company was originally bought by Harper Collins and branch of News Corp. Their profits, along with the annual successes of the books produced through Zondervan help to fund this publishing company.

Successes: Describe one of this publisher’s success stories.

One book that they published succeeded in big ways. 30 million copies of a book named The Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey. This was a record for the company, but the most sold book that they have published is the NIV version of the Bible. In 2001 Zondervan finished the year with profits of $165 million, the NIV version of the Bible being the reason for a huge chunk of the revenues.

Challenges: What kinds of challenges does this publisher face?

The publisher faces challenges such as the loss of faith and interest in reading in the past few years. As social media rises, the company has tried to keep up with the digital age by releasing its first e-book in the early 2000s. These challenges will only continue as the world begins to change with social media and the perceptions that people have within the world.


Baking & Blogs

love-letter-cakeI have never really been one to read blogs. I typically read love stories when I’m not drowning in class reading assignments. Let’s just say, that’s not very often. Today I decided to search for a blog about something that interests me. Never did I know more than today that people do, in fact, write about anything and everything. I found an amazing blog about exactly what I was looking for. Baking.

Yes, baking is awesome. Well, at least in my opinion. I’ve been trained by the best grandmother there ever was in the art of baking, but this blog is not just baking. This is a blog that makes baking look like a true work of art, not just a treat you want to eat.

When I started analyzing this blog, I was immediately fascinated by all of the different creations that I never imagined could be made. The designs used throughout each of the blog posts on the website Sprinkle Bakes are each unique, but they go together in a whimsical way that is very pleasing to the eye. The colors used create a nice contrast that is not too heavy for the eye to look at, which makes it easier to appreciate each yummy treat. The text used in the blog is a fun font that is not serious. This shows that this blog is not to be taken too seriously, but as a more playful way of teaching others. The repetition of this design element helps to connect this theme of playfulness throughout the entire blog website.

animal-constellation-cookies-1aThe layout used displays a picture of a baked good above the text of each blog. This helps the viewer know what recipe they are going to read about, and it sparks an interest if this dessert appeals to them. This helps aid in the readability because it immediately makes it known what you are about to read.These images clarify and enhance the text by looking delicious and unique in nature. Each dessert is creative, and not one you see everyday walking into just any bakery. This blog shows that each dessert has a special quality, which helps to add to the unique factor of the blogs.

This blog uses a design that evokes the moods of hunger, adventure, and being in an experimental state of mind. The desserts displayed within the blog are not the typical chocolate chip cookie. Some have fondant that looks like it has printed text on it. Other desserts have constellations and galaxies on them. There is even a dessert of a cupcake made to look like a cactus. Um, cute! These creative  spins on desserts will spark any viewers attention and sense of adventure if they already have a passion for baking.


The design elements work together to cause this mood through the images displayed within the blogs. You see these images and have a hunger for more. They create a feeling of want. It makes you feel as if you can make these desserts if you put in the time and effort to learn. This blog helps to add to the push that so many hope for when they have a passion for baking, but no inspiration. This blog is where you will find that inspiration.