Thursday, May 8, 2014

Promotion or Marketing? What's the Diff?

I am not in anyone’s mind a business person. I have struggled with learning the business end of this writing profession of mine, and sometimes I didn’t do that gladly. I have been known to whine, complain, belly ache and be a general PITA** about business issues.

I am so na├»ve I used to dump anything that was remotely connected to promotion and marketing into the same unsorted-items folder. Other people’s ideas that I would figure out at some unspecified future date.

Well, the future is here, and I am only marginally better informed than I was. So feel free, all you promotion pros and marketing mavens, to join into the discussion in the comments section below. I am here to learn at your collective knee.

I realized pretty early on that dumping everything into one computer file didn’t make sense. Especially, since the items were unsorted, there was no way to find and use anything even if I knew I needed to. First job: I sorted into two separate computer files: book marketing and book promotion.

Ta Da!

Except … I had to make double copies of some articles because I wasn’t sure which was which! Sigh.

And I’m not alone. Some stuff labeled by business professional as “promotions” are sometimes “marketing”. But while I have an excuse Mad Men do not. I’m not expected to know. And that’s scary in itself.

Here’s what I now understand to be the difference between promotion and marketing--1) the amount of information provided and 2) the intent seem to be the major delineating factors.

Okay. Here’s my understanding:

Promotions announce information about availability, access, and news. “The print version of Mission Impastable was released for sale by Oak Tree Press January 23, 2014.”  Streetwalker came out from Sizzler Editions as an e-book on Amazon on August 1, 2013.”  Mission Impastable got a 4.5 rating from Manic Readers.”  “I posted about how I wrote Mission Impastable at Sarah’s Reading Blog today.”

There is no pitch. No direct appeal for sales. Promotion merely tells or reminds the reader that a product is available.

Marketing has a different intent and provides much more information. I want you to buy my book, and sooner is better than later. I am offering you value-added to convince you to buy. “With Mission Impastable you get a two-fer: mystery + cookbook.” “Buy Mission Impastable today at  “This weekend only, get Mission Impastable for 99¢”

What confuses me is when promotion are marketing are conflated. I don’t know the term for that. Am I promoting or am I marketing? Announcing reviews with a buy link seems to be both. Things like book trailers with buy information are marketing because they’re trying to hook you into buying. Announcing a great review seems to be marketing.

I will do another post on some of my promotional and marketing ploys next time. This topic is rich with options.

I’m sure a business person could straighten me out, but for now . . . I’ll just keep on truckin’, and whether it is promotion or marketing, in the end, doesn’t really matter. Labeling my activity as promotion or marketing doesn’t sell books. But I hope whatever I’m doing, does!

**PITA: Pain in the Arse