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Will advertising create more sales or readers than a Publisher who invests the same amount of money in making

a better product, improving company services, or creating stronger branding experiences?

A discussion paper

Irene Esi Nunoo

An overview
Publishing has been defined as the business of preparing the work of the author in the most suitable form, and presenting it in the most efficient manner to the widest possible public. (Rao, 1972) The publishing industry as a business is as concerned with profit, at it is with culture. (Giles et al, 2008). There are three main functions the publisher performs: editorial operation, production and sales (Rao, 1972; Giles et al, 2008). Editorial operations have to do with securing and developing manuscripts, and preparing them for print. Production issues have to do with the design of the manuscript in to an appropriate format (e.g a book), and arranging for its manufacturing. Sales is concerned with the selling of the finished products (books), and making people want to buy them. It may involve dealing directly with consumers, as well as members of the trade (people or establishments whose main business is the selling of the book) (Baverstock, 1990). The defining act of publishing however is the decision about what to publish and what not to publish. (Montagnes, 1998). These functions may be carried out by one person, or several people, acting within several different departments to carry out this function depending on the size of the publishing firm (Montagnes, 1998). Generally publishers make use of scouts, authors, editors, designers, illustrators, printers and sales/trade people to carry out the publishing functions. Today, marketing within the publishing industry as a much broader role, with marketers playing a pivotal role in many aspects of a books publication. Marketing encompasses numerous, diverse activities as marketing may become involved at the publishing proposal stage or immediately post contract. advise on product development, especially when the project is a large investment. be involved in a range of discussions about the books pricing, its cover, and its target market. from discussions with editors and sales staff, help evaluate each book, and decisions made on the promotional material required to support sales and for the target readership and what publicity and media coverage should be sought.

Raos definition of publishing, and Giles et al (2008), place marketing activities within a publishing house under the four Ps of the marketing mix: Product, price, place and promotion. This discussion will focus more on the Product, and promotion components, and lightly touch on their implications on the price component as well, and then eventually bring to bare the relationship between advertising and branding, and their cost implications. Bennett (1995), defined a product as, 1

a bundle of attributes (features, functions, benefits, and uses) capable of exchange or use. A product is usually a mix of tangible and intangible forms such as an idea, a physical entity (a good), a service, or any combination of the three. It exists for the purpose of exchange in order to satisfy individuals and organisational objectives.

What this means is that when a customer buys a product from the publisher, he is in fact buying a bundle of say, benefits that satisfy their needs and wants. This definition therefore positions publishing businesses in the market offering services bothering on the acquisition, manufacturing, promotion and distribution of the authors idea(s), and then ultimately a publication (e.g a book) to the widest possible public. The business of publishing is mostly to create profit from its activities. The publishers products consist of a host of publications ranging from the traditional book, to magazines, newsletters, periodicals, serials, leaflets, flyers, posters, microfilms, interactive CD-ROMs, etc. (Montagnes, 1991). Each of these products usually begins with an idea. In creating a better product, a Publisher may invest more in, Market research to capture the current and changing interests in readership, getting quality manuscripts that will sell (by content or by authors reputation), trends in competition and how to match up to or beat it, opportunities and threats in the PEST (political, environmental, social and technological) and how to capitalise on each to maximise profits. Market research is a good way to clarify thoughts, understand target audiences, and avoid oversights and spot golden opportunities. Although not perfect, it remains a powerful tool. Processing the acquired manuscript: copy, content, macro and micro editing, adding more illustrations where necessary, ensuring good design elements relating to typeface used, the use of white space, good cover design, a catchy title, quality printing that is also cost-effective etc the concept of TQM applied right at the inception stages. In publishing some of these techniques may be to develop the publication itself as a sales aid. This means that close attention will be paid to the cover design (it must be legible and catchy), binding must be effective and suitable to its usage, typesetting and layout must make use of the good design principles and elements to make reading more interesting, etc. some books especially, sell mostly by the authors and very little by their titles. A few others sell by the name of the publisher, or by foreword from experts within their subject fields. (Publishing for profit).

This is where branding comes in. Chernatony & McDonald (2003) have defined a brand as,
an identifiable product, service, person or place, augmented in such a way that the buyer or user perceives relevant, unique added values which match their needs most closely. Furthermore, its success results from being able to sustain these added values in the face of competition.

Marketing within the publishing industry used to be regarded as simply the promotion of new books. Today marketing has a much broader role and marketers play a pivotal role in many aspects of a books publication (Giles, 2008) as discussed above. More and more products and services compete for consideration by customers who have less and less time to make choices. Well-known brands therefore, have a major competitive advantage in todays marketplace (Belch & Belch, 2003). Successful brands are valuable because they guarantee future income streams. Commenting on Brands and Travel Publishing in Giles Inside Book Publishing, travel publishing consultant, Stephen Mesquita, says,
A strong brand encourages us as consumers to develop loyalty. This loyalty can become so strong that we buy without question because we know that the brand will deliver what we want.

Over the past decade, integrated marketing communications has played and keeps playing a major role in the process of developing and sustaining brand identity and equity. A branding expert Kevin Keller (Belch & Belch, 2003) notes that, 2

Building and properly managing brand equity has become a priority for companies of all sizes, in all types of industries, in all types of markets.

This requires the creation of well-known brands that have favourable, strong, and unique associations in the mind of the consumer. Brand names are, important to publishers business connections agents, authors, and to the trade intermediaries. Since one of the factors that infuences purchases is familiarity with the author, much attention is paid to the branding of authors, especially through their covers. For instance, all the covers for an author may be designed with some common colours or graphics, encouraging the reader to look out for and buy the next book by one of their favourite authors. (Gile et al, 2008). Advertising, an element of the promotional mix, has been defined as,
any paid form of non-personal communication by an identified sponsor, directed at target audiences through various media in order to present and promote products, services and ideas. (Opoku-Amankwa et al, 2010).

In classifying advertising, Opoku-Amankwah et al (2010) identify four main pointers: the target audience, geographic area, medium and purpose. Written or oral, trade- or consumer-oriented advertising can be very useful in converting interest and awareness of the consumer to the trial, usage and repeated usage stages in the buying process (Opoku-Amankwah et al, 2010). It is also considered as in economic investment regarded very favourably by companies (Czinkota et al, 2000). It may be formulated to create a markets awareness of a new brand, help consumers understand the existing attributes of a brand, create expectations of a brands benefits, influence purchase intentions, and encourage product trials. The nonpersonal component of advertising can however limit its abilities for feedback and selling flexibility and hence might not be appropriate in hyping certain products, across certain platforms, where specific feedback is expected. In publishing some forms of advertising may include the traditional TV, radio, newspaper advertisements, as well as advertising on the internet, to outdoor advertising using posters and billboards, mobile advertising on buses and trains. (Opoku-Amankwah et al, 2010).

Budgeting decisions in advertising and branding

Budgeting for marketing activities, including advertising and branding is one aspect of managing the marketing communications process. Czinkota et al, (2000) mention two main budgeting processes: the topdown budgeting (TD) where senior management decides on how much to allocate its subunits, and the bottom-up budgeting (BU) where managers of the subunits determine how much is needed to achieve their goals; the various estimates from the subunits are then combined to arrive at a total marketing budget. Most companies however tend to adopt a mix of the two processes, depending on the situation and the culture of the company. The marketing budget set may be proportional to the expected sales revenue. It is impossible to promote all books equally and, especially in consumer book and textbook publishing, the lead titles receive by far the largest budgets. The key judgement for every title is deciding how much to spend to generate profitable sales that more than recoup the outlay. (Giles, 2008) Again, Czinkota et al (2000) identify two more specific ways for setting advertising budgets: the percentage-of-sales method in which a fixed percentage of past or anticipated sales revenue 3

is allocated, and the three-step procedure Objective-and-task method which involves: i) specifying the objective the advertising campaign is to achieve, ii) identifying the specific tasks needed to to achieve the objectives and iii)accumulating all anticipated costs needed to achieve the specified tasks. This by far is the most systematic method, that will achieve any critical objectives for an advertising campaign.

The product, price and promotion components of these activities are usually interrelated; changes in product and promotion will ultimately affect the price of the product. Factors such as product quality, competition, and advertising all interact in determining what price a firm can and should charge according to the IMC perspective, high relative advertising expenditures should accompany premium prices, and low relative advertising expenditures should be tailored to low prices. For instance, one multinational publishing company in Ghana invests a lot of money into the development of textbooks and reading materials of the highest quality in terms of content and authors. The resulting retail price of the book automatically shoots up relatively. Coupled with very little investment in advertising promotion and branding, and in this case, a poor distribution strategy, the books eventually have not been doing well lately on the market. It is important therefore, to make all product development, promotion and advertising cost effective. Branding costs may however not generate immediate sales returns, but gradually builds a strong position for the company, spreading its returns over a long term period.

Advertising, product development and branding all contribute to increase in sales

Advertising can be used to create brand images and symbolic appeals for a company or brand, a very important capability for companies selling products and services that are difficult to differentiate on functional attributes the book being a good example. Advertising with respect to branding strategies creates and maintains brand equity, an intangible asset of added value or goodwill resulting from the favourable image, impressions of uniqueness, and/or the strength of consumer loyalty to a company name, brand name, or trademark. Brand equity allows a brand to earn greater sales volume and/or higher margins than it could without the name, providing the company with a competitive advantage. The strong equity position a company and/or its brand enjoys is often reinforced through advertising. (Belch & Belch, 2003). A products quality, branding, packaging, and even the company standing behind it all contribute to consumers perceptions. In an effective integrated marketing program, advertising, branding, and packaging must all be designed to portray the product as more than just a bundle of attributes. All are coordinated to present an image or positioning of the product that extends well beyond its physical attributes. (Belch & Belch, 2008). From experience and involvement with the industry, the writer noted that the book market in Ghana, is perceived to be more lucrative in the educational publishing sector, where government recommends textbooks prepared by private publishers to be used in the schools. Some other publishers (e.g Aki Ola Series, Prof Quarm Publishers, Approachers series) have however carved a niche for themselves in leading the market in certain areas as science and mathematics. The result being that readers will automatically buy from these publishers, sometimes irrespective of the quality of the content or retail price. They have branded themselves to be so. Publishers may need to refocus their publishing attention on the gap created for specialised books, adopting series publishing as a means to increasing sales across a wider selection of portfolio.

Research has shown that firms who communicate unique and postitive messages via advertising, personal 4

selling sales promotion and other means, are also able to effectively differentiate their brands from competitive offerings and insulate themselves from future price competition. (Czinkota et al, 2000). The challenge then, is to understand how to use the various IMC tools to make such contacts and deliver the branding message effectively and efficiently. Marketers need to find the right combination of communication tools and techniques, define their role and the extent to which they can or should be used, and coordinate their use. Advertising contributes to increase in sales and readership; but it may do so more effectively in complement with other elements of the marketing mix, and branding. It is therefore imperative that the necessary research is correctly done to enable marketers allocate appropriate budgets to these acitivities. Cutting down on the allocation of one due to a high increase in the other might not necessarily reduce costs, or increase sales volumes. Getting the mix right will however do the job right!

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