The Book Marketing Society relaunches today. Formerly run by Nielsen, the society is entering a new era, which will see revamped member meetings, a new vision for the seasonal awards, a social media overhaul and, they hope, an expanded membership which reflects the range of expertise across the trade.
Three senior marketers - Rebecca Ikin, marketing director at Cornerstone; Chloe Healy, marketing director at Vintage; and Lucy Upton, currently looking after the pre-school marketing at PRH Children's - have spent the past six months listening to member feedback and overhauling the workshop, membership and awards structure to align it more closely with marketers’ needs. The three have taken up the task voluntarily and will work their roles as co-chairs around their day jobs. Their aim is for the society to be, as Upton said, "run by the members, for the members."
Healy added: “There’s never been a more demanding time for marketers. The marketing discipline is more complex than ever, ways to reach readers have expanded exponentially, as has competition for their time. We feel there’s a real need for a society that totally and truly understands those pressures and provides ways to reflect, analyse and debate.”
They have already begun, with the roll out of a new logo and branding. The trio have also revitalised the meeting formats with themed sessions, showcasing case studies and higher profile guest speakers. Recent examples include a session focused on audio, voice and podcasting, and a speaker slot from brand agency Contagious. The addition of the 30 Second pitch, which gives colleagues the chance to hone their pitch in front of a supportive audience, has been particularly popular, and attendance has risen to a consistent 80+ people per session.
They are also experimenting with different formats and time slots so they can better fit around members’ days, including launching Agenda-setting breakfasts, the first with Twitter Europe VP Bruce Daisley. They are developing their social media strands as another forum to showcase great work, and launched the BMSShoutOut hashtag, a way of highlighting campaigns marketers are proud of. The Facebook page will continue to be a forum for this as well, alongside a space to share expertise.
Several staples will remain, including the popular BMS Masterclasses run by James Spackman and the quarterly awards, which are fundamental to marketers getting recognition for their work. One of the key priorities for the co-chairs was to ensure that winning campaigns from the seasonal awards feed automatically into The Bookseller’s British Book Award’s Marketing Strategy of the Year category - thus eliminating the work of preparing two submissions for the same campaign and augmenting the profile of the winners. Of the partnership, Ikin said, ‘Our newly established relationship with The Bookseller will enable us to better showcase great work and the exceptional professionals behind it. We’d also love for the BMS awards to have real standing in the wider advertising and creative arena.’
The next major step is to expand the committee beyond the three co-chairs, to ensure the conversation among members remains open. They aim to grow the existing membership base in order to draw on the widest range of expertise, and provide services to anyone who can benefit. In addition to trade publishers, where their existing base is strong, the co-chairs are keen to encourage more members from retail, academic and reference, book charities and other bodies within books, and to ensure membership is accessible to freelancers or those who are just starting out. To help, as Ikin said, ‘the next generation of marketers’.
They hope to be in a position to provide grants for membership, and facilitate more formal support via a mentoring programme before too long, and are also looking to expand benefits through access to outside events, galleries and exhibitions via discounts or priority entry for BMS members. Conversations are in the works as well to launch a new Australian outpost of the BMS.
The group added, "if people can keep talking to us about what they want to see, we hope we can deliver a marketing society that works hard for members and that our brilliantly creative industry deserves."
You can stay up to date with the Book Marketing Society via the website on www.bookmarketingsociety.co.uk or on Twitter @BMSoc. Any questions should be directed to their new administrator Katie Sadler on firstname.lastname@example.org