Taking a Balanced Approach to Book Video Marketing

book vid lit iconSheila Clover-EnglishBook Vid Lit

by Sheila Clover-English

Sheila Clover English, the CEO of Circle of Seven Productions, has been a pioneer
in book video production, marketing and distribution for authors and publishers


The pace of technology leaves many of us struggling to keep up.  So it’s not surprising that sometimes we find experts contradicting each other when it comes to predicting where a technology trend is headed.   I recently found a couple of articles from reputable sources that might seem, at first glance, to have conflicting views on the direction of online promotion and advertising. 

The first article, Online Videos Attract Broad Audience,by Mark Walsh in Online Media Daily, contends that online videos are attracting a broader demographic, while the other article, Internet Expands Reach, But Narrows Vision, by Diane Mermigas, claims that internet promotion and advertising are narrowing the scope and vision of online video.  After reading both articles, I realized they don’t represent opposing viewpoints.  The demographic for online video use has indeed expanded beyond its original base of the young and tech savvy.  Now viewership runs the gamut to include professionals, housewives, seniors, hobbyists, and researchers, with participation by individuals of all ages and backgrounds.  What are they looking for?  Most indicate they want to be entertained.  What they are notlooking for, as you might guess from the popularity of TiVo and DVRs, are advertisements that interrupt their online entertainment experience.

girl-mad-at-monitor.jpgWhat are we doing about giving them what they’re looking for?  With new online marketing technology we’ve figured out how to track and predict the behavior of online users.  Amazon.com does it with great success and the new Borders site scheduled to launch next year also has the capabiity to remember customer preferences.  Search for books on fishing and soon Amazon is sending you emails saying “From what you looked at (or bought) previously we thought you’d like this…” and they suggest a book on fishing.  Providing customers with tailored recommendations in areas where they have indicated a preference has proven to be a useful and profitable service.  But the practice, if carried too far,  risks excluding topics of potential interest that aren’t a perfect match to historical behavior?  There is a danger that sophisticated new recommendation technology and the need to sell using behavioral marketing schemes could prevent new products from succeeding and frustrate customers.

We need to balance the narrowing effects of behavioral targeting and recommendation software found on many bookstore sites with an approach that simultaneously reaches out to new market.  I have found that social sites can help in this regard.  I participate in online social sites to learn what interests the individuals there and discover what groups are active when considering whether to make it a distribution venue for our book videos.  I believe that thoughtful distribution choices, guided by human experience, observation and judgment, offers our authors a way to reach their core audience, while still exposing their work to new groups beyond that core market.  Distributing book videos so they can be found through general searches vs. being served up exclusively through behavioral marketing systems ensures they will reach a broader readership.

shopping onlineEvery new technology present us with challenges as well as opportunities.  Behavioral marketing and recommendation software have made it possible to precisely measure and respond to audience preferences.  But it has an inevitable narrowing effect on choices presented to customers.  Online social networks offer us the opportunity to find new audiences and expand readership.  Used together, they act to balance each other and create a powerful book marketing mechanism.


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