Publishers Need to Engage With the Mobile Consumer

In Frankfurt 2011 by Andrew Wilkins

By Andrew Wilkins

Mitch Joel speaks at TOC Frankfurt 2011

As the people on the “front line” of the digital publishing era, today’s publishers have an “amazing” opportunity, said Mitch Joel, keynote speaker at Tuesday’s Tools of Change Frankfurt conference. However, the traditional forms of marketing publishers were still clinging to had to go.

Publishers needed to think strategically and ask themselves not what they should be doing but why. Evidence suggested that consumers were rapidly tiring of the traditional forms of marketing—such as banner ads and email marketing—that publishers’ were employing to reach consumers online.

“The [new] media is so fundamentally different that we have to look at new ways of connecting readers to the content,” he said. “Simply blasting messages at people doesn’t work anymore.”

Armed with their smartphones, today’s consumers are continuously online and able to buy and research products at any time. Joel cited recent Mobile Marketer figures that showed a 74% increase in mobile research being conducted in-store by shoppers.

For the first time, the consumer is now ahead of the market and publishers need to catch up, he said: “If people are looking, are you really there?”

Joel, author of the business book Six Pixels of Separation (Business Plus, 2010), suggested that waiting for people to “like” your Facebook page was too passive for new consumers:

“Start making everything you have as shareable and findable as possible; then, people can talk about it. Then, if you are really awesome, they may have a conversation with you.”

About the Author

Andrew Wilkins

Andrew Wilkins is the director of Wilkins Farago, an independent, Melbourne-based book publisher. Until 2008, he was publisher of Australia's book industry magazine, Bookseller+Publisher. He travels regularly throughout the Asia-Pacific region.