PETER MCCARTHY AND MIKE SHATZKIN ANNOUNCE NEW DIGITAL MARKETING SERVICES FOR PUBLISHERS
Peter McCarthy and Mike Shatzkin have joined forces on a new venture, The Logical Marketing Agency, a digital marketing services-provider for publishers and authors. The company is offering a range of title- and author-optimization and research options at prices scaled to fit publishing budgets. The founders expect to provide solutions both for individual authors – mainly through a web portal – and for the largest companies.
Peter McCarthy is among book publishing’s leading digital marketers with nearly two decades of experience with The Reader’s Catalog, The New York Review of Books, Penguin, and Random House, all of it at the cutting edge of nascent “web editorial,” web development, digital publishing, eCommerce, marketing and distribution. At Random House his explicit charge was to invent new techniques for reaching readers, which enabled him to experiment with all the available data-mining technologies (McCarthy calls on over 125 different tools to do his work), to work with every conceivable type of book and audience, and to work with a world-class team and trading partners on a highly collaborative basis.
Mike Shatzkin, Founder and CEO of The Idea Logical Company, a consultancy, is one of book publishing’s acknowledged thought leaders on the impact of digital change. Along with Michael Cader, he runs Publishers Launch Conferences, which does programming and marketing for the renowned Digital Book World as well as conferences at other industry gatherings including the Frankfurt Book Fair. His blog, The Shatzkin Files, has a wide readership among the movers and shakers in the global book business. Shatzkin began his career in books more than 50 years ago on the sales floor of NYC’s legendary Brentano’s Bookstore.
Shatzkin explains the story behind the start of Logical Marketing. “It becomes clear pretty quickly if you talk to him that Pete McCarthy just knows more about how to identify and efficiently reach audiences for books and how to establish an author’s digital presence than anybody else you’ve ever met. I see my job as figuring out how to ‘scale’ him: how to get digital marketing jobs done under his direction with a relatively inexpensive staff. We have trained a small and talented staff pretty quickly and believe we can grow that number as fast as we have to in addition to developing proprietary tools to improve efficiency. We’re pretty sure we can deliver best-of-breed digital marketing capabilities for lower costs than even the largest companies can for themselves. Publishing is an incredibly complex business – it is not the case that just any digital agency can properly serve it, neither from a cost nor an expertise perspective. We believe that we have both covered quite nicely.”
McCarthy offers additional detail on his perspective and philosophy. “In concert with a terrific team and a highly supportive and visionary management at Random House, I was able to test hypotheses and hone techniques. I was fortunate enough to be in the position to combine that with a longstanding background in publishing and technology. I firmly believe that good digital marketing practice requires research and constant experimentation. Increasingly doing that also requires a sophisticated and nuanced understanding of the technologies involved. Gathering information is one thing; using it wisely is another. The idea that an editor or marketer can just write SEO’d copy for a book – any book – without research into the presumed audiences is just wrong. The same is true of paid media efforts. Skipping research is a mistake. But research done in the absence of the understanding of how to properly apply it to business objectives might as well not have been done at all.”
McCarthy employs a broad range of tools and tactics to optimize an author’s online presence and he applies insights gleaned online to the physical channel. “Sometimes the most famous authors offer major challenges because there is so much activity on the web for them that getting the new book to cut through the noise in, say, search can be very challenging. Then again, regional interest can be seen and capitalized on. Social media efforts often enable insights into the demographics, beliefs, and behaviors of core audiences and suggest others – online and off.”
Often the issues uncovered are surprisingly basic but hard for an untrained eye to see. Citing a recent example, Shatzkin says, “At the other extreme, we find authors – even with big houses – with the most fundamentally flawed online presences including a recent case where an author’s website had an archaic version of a ‘do not crawl’ instruction in 15-year old code. Of course, that means Google couldn’t see it!”
The company officially launches today with a website that describes its offerings for publishers, authors, agents and brands. Shortly following the initial launch it will enable individual authors to engage Logical Marketing’s services. The founders are focused on helping publishers, “traditionally published” authors and, as a natural extension, literary agencies, but also believe that, in time, the vast market of self-publishing authors will benefit from their services and prove to be a source of business as well.
Says McCarthy of self-publishing authors, “An author is an author and a book is a book. The techniques for identifying audiences do not change based on how one gets to market.”
The first set of offerings include “foundational” and “comprehensive” reports for both titles and authors, as well as a “proposal quick-check” that reports on the digital marketing potential for a proposed project. In addition, the company has delivered a number of highly detailed customized reports on authors and brands. These projects are more extensive and expensive, depending on the extent of an author’s online presence, and provide a “360-degree” assessment of an author or publishing brand. Other projects include executing paid media efforts on behalf of authors and brands.
In what the founders describe as their “beta period,” Logical Marketing has done projects for many publishers, large and small and in the US and UK, several authors, and two of New York’s most prominent literary agencies as well as influential niche agencies, over the past six months. Now, with the launch of the site, they are pursuing growth in earnest.
“When I was working for publishers, I looked in vain for a digital marketing agency that really understood books and presented offers that showed they understood publishers’ budgets, goals, and concerns. Agencies are so commonplace and useful in other industries. But every agency I came across was not designed to serve our industry,” says McCarthy. “Not having found it, it seemed a good idea to create it. That is The Logical Marketing Agency.”
More information, including detailed descriptions of Logical Marketing’s products and services available at www.logical-marketing.com.