We teach a hypothetical country to read: how to work in a new market

    Imagine what you need to teach a country to read. Seriously: suppose now every two hundred is able to read, and you want to bring this indicator to at least every second. This is a good example of working with a completely new market.

    At the time your work began, 20 books were published in the country, the most famous of which are the Bible, Tolstoy's “War and Peace,” a reference book for the agronomist and the Kama Sutra. The latter diverges widely, but you suspect that thanks to the pictures. There is no reading culture (but it was once upon a time), there are no normal books, there is no understanding why to read. You don’t have money for the federal program or anything else, and no one will support you centrally.

    So what will you do?

    The task at first glance seems quite simple: after all, following the example of other countries, you already know that books are awesomely cool things that are addictive, you just have to read a couple. They are liked by everyone who can read at least 5-6 pages. It remains only to teach people to read and explain to them how cool it is.

    Yes, it is important: those who can read, at the same time know English, and therefore are not particularly interested in the development of domestic printing - they have access to European libraries, and they freely read books from there.

    Clubs - the obvious decision number 1

    Probably, for starters, open library clubs. It is logical to assume that it is good to use the existing "geeks" who already know how to read. Each of them can become a potential virus carrier, so it would be nice to make sure that they lead new people to reading. To do this, you need to create all the conditions: to ensure the presence of a large number of different interesting books and make it so that you can collect.

    The result will be strange: geeks will really start to get together, really will read, exchange books ... and at the same time will attract very few new people. An average of, say, 500 new people can go through one club per month. About the same amount can go through the store in a day - so just opening your book store somewhere in the business district will work to develop reading in the country as 30 clubs. That is, 3 stores completely cover all the benefits of clubs throughout the country. Strange, but it works that way.

    Information portal - the obvious solution №2

    It’s a good idea to try to create a place on the web where you can change opinions about books, their releases, content, and so on. In general, introduce a social element. Given that our audience does not know how to read, this will be a site for video reviews and podcasts, plus all kinds of talk shows - in general, an analog of real-time comments. A good idea? Definitely good! Will work? Not.

    The fact is that those who already know how to read really appreciate really high-quality literature. The problem is that if you put a person who has just mastered the primer, for the classics or for something like "Hyperion", he will howl and decide that reading is the saddest and most senseless adventure in his life. Although, of course, the classics are immortal, and serious science fiction is a real work of art. But before a person understands this, he will need to pass the threshold of entry.

    Our resource with reviews will hinder to pass this threshold: once something simple and exciting appears, reading lovers will immediately mix a new book with ... well, you understand what. Because it is not worthy to be called a classic.

    Here, by the way, there is an analogy with the release of the first netbooks: remember how until they started to turn the market around, few people thought that a low-powered piece of iron could be sold? It was similar with tablets - why do we need this partially functional low-power thing if there is a normal computer? It is clear that with the popularity of iron, the tone of reviews has changed.

    Advertising in the media - the obvious solution number 3

    I remind you that we have 20 books on the market that are more or less popular. Let's advertise them in comic book magazines, on television and radio! Great plan, right?

    No, because the conversion with material reaching 10,000 people will be only 5-6 purchases. And that's why:
    • Advertising in large media is good if there is a step-by-step availability of goods. For example, by advertising yogurt on TV, you can be sure that tomorrow you will meet him at your favorite grocery. Specifically - in general in every grocery, of which there are thousands per city. Books in grocery are not for sale, and you need to go somewhere for them. For such advertising to work, you need a distribution network.
    • New product is very difficult to promote. Everyone knows why you need a laptop, but if you start offering segway, you will immediately have difficulties.

    Obviously, you need to advertise in thematic media. Where there is a need for a product (for example, where mothers develop children). Or where the core of the audience lives, for example, IT-specialists (they all already know how to read).

    Reading parties

    The first non-obvious solution. You need to start by increasing your reading reach. As we remember, books are cool things, and any contact with them causes only positive things. So, there should be as many contacts as possible. We will go to all major events and arrange “reading huts”, publish reports on youth sites, invite people to these things, sell books at fairs of rare things, and so on. The main thing is that we will cover new people every day. Surprisingly, after each such event, when we do not even sell books locally, book sales take off. And we know that each sale is a few additional ones, because a new book at someone’s house is a signal to all friends that the thing is worthwhile.

    Release of popular products

    We need to expand the range from 20 books to several hundred and thousands. It is clear that we must start with something extremely simple, able to attract people. The mechanics are obvious: a person will read something light and entertaining, and only then will be able to move on to something complicated. We publish both simple things like Carlson, 12 Chairs, and all sorts of popular action movies (suitable for a new audience), as well as simple entry-level classics like stories about Sherlock Holmes Conan Doyle (by the way, note that they were written for old English magazines, that is, they initially had a format of easy involvement and retention of attention until the next magazine).

    Popular products work. Every 10 sales of simple books leads to sales of 3 complex ones. In 2-3 years, real book geeks will appear on the market, starting with these simple editions.

    New Book Advertising

    Obviously, book advertising was not done as it should, since before us there are so few of them on the market. Most likely, publishers could not reach the audience, and sellers did not. Here we are promoting new books for each specific segment. And the introduction of culture must begin with a direct demonstration of specific products. We are not trying to advertise reading, but simply telling a person: look, here is a book. She is for you. This does not work as cool as the previous methods, but gives new sales.

    The formation of a book is a gift culture

    This is a factor that increases the market 10 times. If you teach people to give books and make it a tradition, we will immediately increase our impact on the market many times. It's simple, we always throw associations about the fact that if you give something, the book will definitely work.

    The formation of fashion book

    Reading should be fashionable. We use fashionable images, stars, we try to go to all places of interest to the audience, gradually bringing to the knowledge that successful positive people read books. You read - you're cool. Reading well is awesome for your company. With the knowledge from the book you will be the star of the party. Stories from books will help you communicate with the opposite sex.

    Works? Yes, but you can evaluate the result only in the long term. Let's say we understand this after 2 years, when the books will be in many large restaurants.

    Alliances with publishers from Europe

    Obviously, our country without reading is an excellent market for European publishers, which has not yet opened. However, they know that after 3-5 years of work, the profits will be crazy. And we are ready now to translate our books and do our best to participate in their advertising. It pays off costs and develops the market. Having a well-established distribution through you and established channels of promotion, they will be able to hit the jackpot and continue to consistently make a profit. They need our work, and we need their books and help in promotion. Perfect symbiosis.

    Comic book ads

    If a person reads comics, he will soon be able to read books. It’s enough just to tell him more often - and then one day he will go and buy his first book. We find all related products and try cross-promotion. Surprisingly, it works best where people are looking for something unusual. Designer products are becoming our best friends.

    Paper books are cool

    Let's touch the universal values ​​of communication, harmony and love. The most important thing for us now in the era of the Web is to show that there is nothing more important than live communication. And books help to meet. Book clubs make new acquaintances. And anyway, it's so nice to hold in your hands something real, not virtual!

    Popularization through loose videos

    Let me remind you, at the stage of market formation, we have video reviews of books. Their problem is that they were originally conceived by active readers for active readers. No new person will ever be able to watch them to the end - boredom will be incredible (and at the same time, useful information for those who have already read 50-100 books). Therefore, for entry-level people, we are forming a different approach: we are not talking about the book itself, but about the mood that it gives. It will be very unexpected, and geeks will take the idea with hostility - but it will give a serious plus to the market.

    Ahhh, save my brain, what is it all about?

    Most likely you understood everything: this is about the stereotypes of the new market development using a clear reading example. We went the same way for board games: clubs almost do not work, print ads do not work, information portals do little, reviews should describe the mood of the game, not its own, the main thing is the maximum of contacts at the game libraries (5-10 events per city ​​per week), publishing hits with us, moving to a simple assortment for entry, creating a “game - gift” bundle, playing in cafes and restaurants, working with core segments and so on.

    We started with one store in a small market with 3 main players. The market before us for several years and did not think to develop and grow. Now, over 4 years, the market has grown a couple of dozen times, has ceased to be the lot of geeks and has become really massive. And the coolest thing is that right now we are moving from the stage of popular simple games to geek ones: a large stratum of people is already appearing who are ready to appreciate sophisticated games. And we are developing along with the market.

    So, what am I doing all this for: perhaps you will come across a new market while working on your project. You may already be on it. Try to look at it abstractly and form a work strategy not to “catch up and overtake a competitor”, but to run ahead of the herd and set standards for the market. The main thing is to try everything and evaluate the effectiveness. And think a little larger than local sales, as coffee merchants once thought, selling children's chocolate with the taste of this drink to Japan. Because then there was no sales, and a few years later a generation grew up that loved coffee.

    Good luck in your market.

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