Orion is to relaunch its online “women’s fiction” community Cherry Picks with a new name and approach, after user research found its audience didn’t recognise themselves as reading in that way.
Research found that the industry “has given a group of people a label that doesn’t fit them”, said Orion’s digital marketing director Marissa Hussey (pictured), who said Orion now recognised the site was “outdated aesthetically” and, design-wise, is “not a comfortable home for anything without pink hearts on the cover”.
Instead, the site’s target audience “read a wide range of titles and are voracious consumers of books”, senior digital marketing manager Julia Pidduck explained.
The site will be given a new name (currently undisclosed) and a new look, plus a fresh strategy to reflect the range of books published by Orion. The changes were influenced by the consumer insight conducted with Cherry Picks users.
Closeness to readers is a feature of the digital marketing landscape. Hussey said that “there is no wall between publishers and consumers any more”, meaning the latter “have direct access to us, and sometimes they have hard questions”, such as why they have to pay for e-books of titles they already own physically.
But the use of digital analytics also means what works and does not work in online marketing can be identified quickly, Hussey pointed out: “When you are managing projects directly and you’re looking at analytics and something isn’t working, you can stop spending the money.”
Constant analysis of data enables Orion to gather “information so we can help our authors”, and lets its team experiment. Orion social media executive Hannah Atkinson said: “We can pick up on what’s trending and get people talking and involved.”
Social media accounts at Orion are run by members of its marketing and publicity teams in partnership with its digital marketing team. Among its accounts are Most Wanted, covering crime and thrillers; YA and crossover community Fierce Fiction; and cookery channel By Book or By Cook, which is on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
The digital marketing team is also working on a guide for authors to “help them navigate the digital marketplaces necessary to survival in today’s book market”. Recently launched ventures include the Twitter account @bookbark, a way for Orion’s sales team to communicate relevant news to independent bookshops, and the children’s community The Orion Star, which has a presence on Facebook and Twitter.