Book Marketing Q&A: Publishing Consultant Ted Hill Talks Data

In What's the Buzz by Hannah Johnson

Ted Hill

Ted Hill

By Hannah Johnson

Many book marketers increasingly rely on data from various sources to asses the effectiveness of their online activities and campaigns, but it’s not always easy to make actionable decisions based on the growing amount of available data. How can publishers separate the signal from the noise?

Ted Hill, President of THA Consulting, provides strategic marketing and business development services for publishers and the information industries. He will speak at the Reaching Readers Book Marketing Conference on May 28 about how marketers can to turn data into successful strategies and actions. Here’s a short preview of his talk at the conference:

How has traditional book marketing changed in the last few years?

Every book marketer is struggling with two major trends that are actually part of the same trend — fragmentation in the marketplace. On the one hand, a relatively small number of traditional mainstream media outlets like newspapers, TV, and radio which reach large, broad audiences are vying for attention with a huge number of online media sources that tend to reach relatively smaller, targeted audiences. Similarly, the ability to reach a good chunk of book consumers through in-store merchandising has also diminished as sales shift to online. The result is that you just get a lot less bang for your marketing buck.

What kinds of data do publishers already have that can be used to make marketing decisions?

For years, you could pretty much get by with retail sales data, bestseller lists and press clippings. Today, publishers struggle to integrate website analytics, buzz metrics, and services that identify hundreds or thousands of social media influencers. It comes down to trying to understand where a title or author’s natural audience lies.

Are there particular aspects of marketing that are better suited to a data-driven approach?

Of course. SEO, SEM, keyword ad buys. Anything online where you can quickly measure the results should be governed by a data-driven approach. For major brands and authors, consumer research can be incredibly useful for understanding how to allocate your marketing spend.

How can publishers blend data-driven decisions with creativity to create effective marketing strategies?

At the end of the day, good data will usually suggest more possibilities than most book marketers have the time or budget to pursue — and it won’t tell you what the right messaging is to make your campaigns come alive. That’s where the creativity comes in. Data can give you guidance and the kind of feedback that tells you when you’re right, but it can’t provide the spark that makes a good campaign a great campaign.

microphone academy smallWant to know more? Register for our Reaching Readers Book Marketing Conference on May 28 in New York City. This full-day event will explore a spectrum of book marketing techniques, from optimizing traditional methods to building innovative strategies.

About the Author

Hannah Johnson


Hannah Johnson is the publisher of international book industry magazine Publishing Perspectives, which provides daily information and news about book markets around the world. In addition to building partnerships with international cultural and trade organizations, she works with the Frankfurt Book Fair to organize and support a number of its overseas initiatives. Hannah has also worked as the managing editor for an online media company, The Hooch Life, focused on craft distillers and cocktail experts. Prior to that, she worked as a project manager for the Frankfurt Book Fair’s New York office, managing various business and marketing activities.