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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Book Marketing Redux

In anticipation of marketing my next book--a memoir and a guide on aging in place--I've been re-reading old blog posts from when my first was published, in July 2008.

At that time, my publisher sent me several hundred colorful postcards with all the book details on it, which I then mailed to anyone and everyone whose address I could find.

I also found other uses for the card, which I wrote about on my blog, including this post from February 18, 2009. (Note: the Stories book publisher now sends me bookmarks--also colorful, also with all the book deets on it. I use them just as I used those postcards.)

Turning the Tables on Junk Mail
This is not a secret: I will seize any opportunity to promote my book. And I’m not—nor should I be—alone. As writer Brad Meltzer was quoted in a recent NYT Book Review, “Today, you can’t be a successful writer without having a little Barnum in your bones.” Amen I say to that, especially for all of us first-time authors.

Since the Stories book was launched last July, a mere seven months ago, my particular version of Barnum has been in overdrive, seeing marketing opportunities everywhere: on coffeehouse and grocery store bulletin boards; at book and literary events (my own and others’); at holiday and networking parties; and pretty much during any interaction that continues beyond “Hello.”

And just this past week, I discovered another marketing tool, one that by happy coincidence aids in the recycling process, both in paper and postage. I speak of the junk mail that appears regularly in my mailbox, and, more specifically, of the prepaid envelopes that accompany it.

Truth is, this should have occurred to me earlier. I should have seen the possibilities in using these envelopes to market the Stories book, but alas was too focused on the more stealth-like, Bondian strategies, like facing out my books at local bookstores or enlisting recruits to pin up book postcards all around the country. (Thanks, Lynn, for the Tucson strike!)

But no use crying over spilt postage. I’m on it now, which is to say, I’m stuffing these prepaid envelopes with the ever-dexterous Stories postcards, then mailing them back from whence they came—to all the junk mail perps that daily yank my chain.

Last week I mailed off postcards to the United Omaha Life Insurance Co. and The Art Institute of Chicago’s Membership Department. I’ve an “Urgent! Process Immediately” postage paid envelope sitting on my desk from one of my many credit card companies. That’ll go out today, postcard secured snugly within.

I’ve considered responding to junk mail that arrives sans prepaid envelope, like the recent one from a State Farm agent who operates in my neighborhood. But then I think, why waste my own stamps? Besides just mailing the postcard is not the same as sending it back with the perp’s own envelope.

Now, with this latest marketing strategy in full swing, I find myself in the peculiar position of actually looking forward to junk mail, disappointed when it doesn’t materialize in my mailbox.

But perhaps I can turn these occasional droughts to my own advantage. I mean, what about all that junk e-mail that litters my inbox? Surely I can figure out some profitable use for that.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

A B&B Brief: The Boomers & Millennials Marketing Bridge

Here’s a follow-up to Tuesday's post—and with a slight twist. Instead of millennials (and others) marketing to boomers, some ad agencies are targeting both generations in the same ads.

Here’s one example described in the article, part of the “Made to Move” ad campaign for Osteo Bi-Flex, a joint health supplement:

But my favorite part of this piece,"Ads for Old and Young," by Braden Phillips, comes at the end, in this quote from Brian Nguyen, of the New York-based ad agency, Droga5:

“Here at Droga5, we’ve already begun to take a more age-agnostic approach,” he said, “by building campaigns on truths and insights rather than arbitrary assumptions based on generational stereotypes.”

Amen to that, brother, including the use of that nicely alliterative phrase.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Boomers and Millennials and the Longevity Market

If you google “boomers and millennials,” you’ll find an awful lot of people weighing in on how these two generations—each with close to 70 million members—are or are not alike; do or do not along; and especially do or do not get along in the workplace.

I suspect this conversation will be going on for a while, covering the many ways that each generation has, and will have, a demonstrable influence on our lives, from the cultural to the professional to the financial. And even to the political, it turns out. Here’s an excerpt from a May 16 article on the Pew Research Center’s website:

“As of April 2016, an estimated 69.2 million Millennials (adults ages 18-35 in 2016) were voting-age U.S. citizens – a number almost equal to the 69.7 million Baby Boomers (ages 52-70) in the nation’s electorate, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. Both generations comprise roughly 31% of the voting-eligible population.”

And here’s yet another Boomer-Millennial connection, in an article about the “longevity market”—a Boomer Buzzword new to me—and how it’s attracting all kinds of innovative goods and services. The piece opens with a Millennial entrepreneur noticing something new about his Boomer parents:

Boris Mordkovich, a 30-year-old serial entrepreneur, had never considered developing products for the aging baby boomer market. One day, however, he saw that his parents had started using an electric bike that his brother Yevgeniy had modified for his wife and himself.

“Electric bikes are an equalizer,” said Mr. Mordkovich, who has also owned a software company and a small-business magazine. “They let the rider decide how much or how little they will pedal.”

This year, he said, Evelo, the electric bike company that he founded with his brother, will double its revenue to $4 million, and it is profitable. “There’s no shortage of potential customers,” he added.

Read on here:

Saturday, August 6, 2016

A B&B Brief: Geisel for Geezers: A Must-Read

I read about this book on the Washington Post website in late June, and saved the link so I could a) get the book and b) pass the info along to this blog’s readers:

You’re Only Old Once: A Book for Obsolete Children by Dr. Seuss, aka Theodor Geisel.

Here’s how the book came to pass:
“Dr. Seuss, creator of some of history’s most quirky and beloved children’s books, was a famously private man. But during one of his most vulnerable periods — while he was being treated for oral cancer in his early 80s — he wrote a book for adults, a memoir-esque saga of an old man in a bowtie being ushered through the medical industrial complex.”

And here’s the part that gave me a huge (writer’s) lift:
“He was in huge amounts of pain,” said Judith Morgan, a longtime friend and co-author of a biography called “Dr. Seuss and Mr. Geisel.” It wasn’t until 1985, when he was invited to accept an honorary degree from Princeton, that he revived. When he came forward to accept the degree, the graduating class stood up and chanted, “I am Sam! Sam I am!” and then recited the entire text of “Green Eggs and Ham.

“It gave him a huge lift, and when he got home he remembered, this was the way it feels to be on a writer’s high,” Morgan said. It was time to write a new book."

No matter what kind of lift you might be in need of, you'll find it here: