My first task as Marketing Manager was to draw up a 2013–2014 marketing plan. This plan was to be split into various campaigns that would coincide with the various book buying cycles throughout the year. Having never put together a long term marketing plan before, finding the correct format to house this information was the first task. Initially, I worked with a spreadsheet format that could be sorted by various column titles, such as month, year, campaign, team member, action etc. This worked for a while before the spreadsheet needed to be shared with the team. Then I chose to keep the spreadsheet for my own use and produce quarterly/campaign specific summary documents of what would need to be done (by when) and by whom. These worked far better because they avoided confusion and made great points of reference for weekly meetings.
Initially, I set out to schedule a 12 month plan, but the tricky, unpredictable nature of a start up made this almost impossible.
The Paperight official marketing plan was scheduled to run from about August 2013 to March 2014 (8 months). Initially, I set out to schedule a 12 month plan, but the tricky, unpredictable nature of a start up made this almost impossible. Imagine changing the habits of a nation of individuals who have inherited a very distinct set of habits from their parents, and imagine trying to do this with minimal resources? Well, that has been Paperight’s mountain to climb. At any point we would have to respond to changes in the market and problems that we would identify in our own strategies simply due to the untested nature of the business model.
To begin, I worked with the known book buying cycles for schools and universities in order to determine what campaigns would be appropriate for when. Then we brainstormed about alternative target markets to reach out to that would generate sales in between the regular buying cycles. The major campaigns (consisting of many action points and mini, related campaigns) became the:
- Matric Exam Campaign
- Varsity 1st Years Campaign (as known as the #textbookrevolution)
- PYWA Campaign
- Reading Clubs Campaign*
- Erotica Campaign
Overall, the Paperight marketing plan has been an indispensable tool to help along Paperight’s growing reputation and fan base. It has allowed us to focus our efforts to ensure we make the most from newsworthy events, partnerships and awards, as well as turn our good PR into sales. With focusing our efforts, it became clearer what ideas and actions were essential to the success of the campaigns and our team work became more streamlined.
The cumulative effect of the last year’s work can be seen clearly now (March 2014) as sales are flowing in organically, even from the most unlikely places.
*For more on the Reading Clubs project, read Oscar’s post.