With the crucial Back to University and Back to School seasons underway, PCG UK’s Simon Pollard provides advice for making the most of opportunities
For publishers and aggregators alike, the Back to University and Back to School seasons have been tough in the last decade, with adoptions and conversions into sales increasingly difficult. But with a customer-first approach to strategic planning, stakeholders throughout the supply chain can increase sales by creating more efficient procurement models built to drive improved outcomes for educators and learners.
Here’s PCG UK’s seven-step plan for a customer-first approach to your peak season—and we’d love to help you adopt it at this important time.
1 Segment your customers
Take some time to research your customers and understand their needs—and how your content meets those needs. Create groups of similar customer types and define the customer journey for each. This can be used to create impactful approaches to sales and marketing. Be creative and objective, and use all data that is available to you.
2 Reach your stakeholders
Identify your most important strategic relationships, and capture what you require each to deliver and why for each customer segment. Defining a clear strategic plan with timelines and owners will help you measure the impact each has for the customer.
3 Optimise availability
Model your stock requirements, clear rights and permissions and ensure that your delivery infrastructure can ensure availability for customers to both print and digital formats well ahead of the season. It sounds obvious, but it’s often overlooked, and it leads to poor customer experience and lost revenue.
4 Understand procurement needs
Costs for all stakeholders—aggregators, educators and learners as well as publishers—are rising, so take time to understand your customers’ procurement needs and match them to the relevant procurement channel partner. It’s essential to model return on investment and how business, revenue and shared goals will be met commercially.
5 Make it easy to buy
Simply having content available is not enough. Put the customer first and make it easy for them to procure what they need. Stay agile and innovative with your sales and marketing to maximise the conversion of adoptions into sales.
Measure the success and challenges of your strategies from a customer’s perspective. Evolving your approach where necessary will help to improve strategic customer alliances.
7 Have fun!
What’s better than playing a role in improving outcomes for educators and learners on campus? BTU and BTS are academic publishers’ and aggregators’ Christmas period, but try to enjoy the season and go the extra mile to provide easy access to your courseware which in turn improves your customers’ outcomes.
Simon Pollard is founder and director of PCG UK, a publishing consultancy practice made up of a team of world-class business strategists, sales and marketing professionals and publishing experts that launched in September 2019. It provides support for publishers, content providers, aggregators and authors, tailored to the academic, education, trade and B2B sectors. To learn more about how PCG UK can support publishers in peak seasons and beyond, visit its website or email Simon. He will also be attending the IPG’s Autumn Conference and the Frankfurt Book Fair.