Notably Nashville is the latest cookbook from the Junior League of Nashville. Originally published in 2003, the book has been reprinted once. After a slowdown, this title has experienced a sales resurgence. The League reports that by the end of May, their sales will have increased $40,000 from last year’s total sales! We wanted to find out what the Junior League of Nashville was doing to “breathe life” into this existing cookbook title. Alicia Barker, co-cookbook chairman with the Junior League of Nashville, had the following information to share.
1) What are the elements of your Marketing Plan?
This year we focused on three things: 1. Staying on top of existing accounts. 2. Using a vertical market approach to establish new accounts. 3. Utilizing multimedia advertising with a small budget delegated to that.
First, we wanted to focus on existing accounts. These accounts are a constant source of revenue for our organization. We wanted to provide a high level of customer service as well as keep these accounts informed of our ad campaigns, success, and community impact. We contacted accounts to check on their stock of books and hosted several in-store events at our major selling locations.
Secondly, we created vertical markets, including retail, hospitality, entertainment, and special events. In these categories, our committee brainstormed possibilities for new accounts or special events. Of course, the ideas that would have the biggest impact on sales were the top ideas explored.
We had a small budget for advertising. One committee member was dedicated to establishing and implementing our ad campaign. We had great success advertising through one distributor as well as placing a couple of magazine ads. We did a few local publications as well as regional ones. We capitalized on free publicity. Local mid-day shows for different stations allowed us a monthly cooking segment. Everywhere we could get a booth for no charge we set up a display and sold books. We got on e-mail newsletters for book groups.
2) How have you turned around the Marketing Plan to increase sales?
Our budget has traditionally been small. We had to break out of the mentality of “what we cannot afford to do” and embrace/create “what we can do.” As these opportunities came to fruition, if we were not making sales, we scrapped the idea. Upon completion of successful ventures, we documented everything for our successors. We searched for any connections we had to sell or promote our book. We also focused on where we could get new big sales.
3) Which elements worked well, and why did they work so well?
Attitude was the number one difference in this year. We decided to create an attitude of celebration. It is our fifth anniversary of our publication, and we are still going strong! We decided to create this attitude among our committee, which eventually spread to the membership of our organization and then the community.
Specials on purchases of two or more books worked tremendously well. We arranged with other Leagues special purchases of other League books in exchange for their purchasing of our books (in place of swaps) in order to offer our organization a variety of books. We nixed swapping of books for bookkeeping purposes but wanted to maintain a variety for our membership.
Opening large accounts helped boost our numbers. Costco proved to be a tremendous account in sales and in-store promotion.
We established a monthly quota for our committee members. For motivation, we had rewards for those members who maintained their quotas as well as one grand prize for the top seller. Many of these prizes were donated to our agency in exchange for announcements to our membership of the donation.
4) Which elements did not work, and why did they not work?
It is a long, hard task to maintain a large account on your own, especially when you have multiple accounts to maintain. We would probably divide the accounts differently, giving one large account to one aggressive committee member. This way that committee member can focus on the multiple opportunities for free publicity and in-store events one large account can provide. An in-store event establishes a good relationship with the store and also promotes your title.
5) How has your relationship with FRP benefited you?
FRP has given our title tremendous exposure through Cookbook Marketplace, as well as support. Everyone at FRP has offered tremendous encouragement and ideas for promoting our title. There is a lot of knowledge in the staff at FRP. It is my job to see how I can use that to my advantage!