Zeus of Marketing

Marketing Basics : Want New Business Model Growth? Think as a Customer

June 30th, 2011

I hope that today’s blog is read by publishers and authors everywhere.  While today’s post is not your regular social media insights type, it does bring you insights as to how new business models can help you identify product development ideas and strategies to grow your business. Particularly, when you take on the perspective of the end user – after all – we are not only marketers – we are customers and consumers as well.

Like many of you – I just acquired a shiny new iPad2 – it has not only improved on-the-go productivity but has increased my book readership by over 500%, whereas I used to read about a book a month, now I am reading 5+. Why, you may ask – my favorite time to read is at bedtime (yes I am of those people that now wake up with the iPad next to them). Before the well lighted screen of the iPad, I wrestled with anything that would provide a reading light, including the “itty bitty light” – they never worked well.  And falling asleep with the bedside lamp would only guarantee a restless sleep as I would always fall asleep with the lights on.

At first the whole idea of ebooks bothered me, I couldn’t imagine not being able to fold the page corner – but being a 21st century guy, I did buy a Kindle. While it was good to read in the subway or the beach – I still needed a night light source for my favorite reading time. When I learned that I could download Kindle books to my iPhone and now my iPad, my reading life changed forever. There is nothing like finishing a book in a series (Think The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, the Lincoln Lawyer novels by Michael Connelly) at 2:00 AM and being able to instantly download the next one to find what happens next.  Or in cases that you are stuck waiting at the DMV or the doctor’s office, being able to whip out your iPhone and keep reading is “priceless.”

So what is the insight for “product development” in this case:

As an author or publisher:

1. Make sure that there are sequels to the book.

2. Time the sequels as close in time as possible   – you want to leverage the “2:00 AM” download (even consider digital previews over hardcover)

3. Ignore the e-readers versus tablet controversy – as long as you have an open platform like Kindle that can be used across all OS´s – the argument is moot. This is one area where Apple has not gained a proprietary hold.

4. If you have not started publishing digital books – prepare for a quick death  – I recently had to purchase a business book as a pre-read for an upcoming executive seminar and the fact that it was not available for download made me think twice about long term survival of McGraw-Hill.

This is only one example of what I find to be a great digital business model  – I would love to hear from you about your examples and insights in this or many of the other new digital opportunities in this brave new world.

Stay tuned for my next blog.  In the meantime, please share your thoughts below; I appreciate each and every one of your insightful comments, and I promise to pay extra attention to any opposing point of view. You can also contact me via email: zeus@jrgrana.com, Twitter: @zeusofmarketing and Facebook: Zeus of Marketing. You can also find additional contact information via LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jrgrana




Entry Filed under: Marketing Basics

  • Steve

    No doubt “pads” are the wave of the future for reading. The good news about ebooks is that they are easy to access virtually anywhere, one can carry / load a slew of them on their device without having to schlepp paper, and they save trees and energy. What they are not however, is inexpensive. Looking at various titles, while there are public domain and some other titles priced at 99¢ to $5, new releases are priced pretty much the same as their paper counterparts. As a consumer I have a problem with that. Let’s see, no paper or printing costs, no transportation costs, NO INVENTORY………you see my point. As a longtime photographer I noticed a similar trend in paper for digital printers. It’s pretty much the same price as photographic paper used to be. Let’s see, to make photographic paper you had to kill a cow, boil it’s hide for the gelatin, mine and process silver, chop down trees and process that into paper, add a bunch of other chemicals and then MAKE THIS PRODUCT IN THE DARK! Paper for digital printers on the other hand is basically just paper with a coating…….no killing of animals, no mining silver; but we still pay the same price.

    While paper is a manufactured product and probably would not benefit greatly from a  price point, ebooks on the other hand, would. Ebooks will become a great business model when authors are paid based on sales (like music downloads) and the price drops to the point where books sell in the 10’s of millions for $5 or less.

    • Anonymous

      From a consumer perspective, there’s no arguing on wanting a lower price. From an economic margin maximizing view, if my buyer places a specific value for a book, it would make no sense to reduce its pricing when I am delivering that same value with added benefits. The fact that as time advances prices drop to $4.99 or $0.99 is a positive for the consumer and society as a whole – as information is made available to a larger group which would have never been possible if you had to consider manufacturing, shipping and inventory costs. 


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