Monday, 11 April 2016

Marketing of Books, Butchery, Brewing and Baking

PE S TLE  - Marketing’s social changes from Adam Smith to James Goldsmith.
“It is not from benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker that we expect our dinner but from the regard of their own interest. We address ourselves not to their humanity but their self love.” Wealth of Nations, 1776 Adam Smith

Yet we consumers, buyers and clients can be such a changeable bunch.

Our demands from the trades of butchery, brewing and baking have changed somewhat since Smith’s time.  Today we may well demand leaner meat, organic lager and gluten free bread yet Smith’s notion still holds true- it is in the supplier’s interest to keep abreast of the fads, fashions and changing tastes of their customers.

Adam Smith did not know of our modern supermarket where the goods of the butcher, brewer and baker could be bought from under the same roof; yet he would most certainly have recognised  the Supermarket’s self interest .

In our time

The improved performance over the last year of the CoOp has shown their recognition of our changing shopping habits in the UK. 

We have moved away from the large weekly shop to a “ little-and-often” pattern. 
 Recognising this change, Sainsbury announced that they are dropping their ‘Brand Match’ comparison scheme of 5 years’ standing as well as their ‘Multi-buy’ deals.

The Sainsbury PR release described the findings of customer marketing research was couched in rather camouflaged vocabulary that customers had found multi-deals caused ‘logistical challenges at home in terms of storage and waste.’!

A marketer’s finger-on-the-pulse that detects such changes in consumer habits can lead to great opportunities.

Simon Callow in his role as author 
( and book salessman)  feverisly signing copies
 of his latest book on Orson Welles – One Man Band
 after his terrific one man show about Orson Welles
 at Farnham Maltings 9th April 2015.

Book sales have increased over the last years in the UK. Even Supermarkets cherry pick the best selling titles and put them on offer to their customers. In recent times there has arisen another change in book buying habits.

Books as gifts for others and books bought for our own well being

The London Book Fair opens on Tuesday at Olympia. Its catchphrase is  ‘Making words go further’. I guess there will be much talk around the stands and in the seminars about what’s hot in publishing and how our book buying habits have changed. Since 2012 Book sales increased 4 % in units 5% in profits.

The UK’s book buying habits in terms of buying a book as a gift as opposed to buying a book for oneself have been changing.

There has been a 8% drop in book sales ‘as gifts’ yet an 8% uplift in books bought ‘for self’.
 In 2012, 217 million books for themselves whilst by 2015 231 million books for themselves. One might have thought that the changes were due to eBooks. Yet Digital books have only  accounted for an increase of 4 million in 2014 to 6 million in 2015.
It appears that it is sales of the new phenomenon of colouring books for adults that has that boomed.

Certainly I would not have predicted years ago that I would find such an activity an aid to mindfulness and an aid to my mental health.

The skill of the marketer in detecting and exploiting such opportunities in your customers’ buying habits is a good trick to learn but it is not easy as easy as may appear. 

As the father of the current Conservative party’s electoral candidate for Mayor of London  2016 ( Zack Goldsmith) Sir James Goldsmith once put it

“ If you can see the bandwagon – you are too late!”

Yet as Adam Smith would have argued it is the suppliers’ interest to try and do so.

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