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Creating Demand at Scale: Audience Development Delivers Publisher Success

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Mary McAveney is Chief Marketing Officer at Open Road Integrated Media. With a focus on the strategy and execution of comprehensive digital solutions, McAveney works to grow customer interest and drive revenue for authors and publishers. Across 25 years of experience, McAveney had advanced from managing title-specific marketing, brand building, and team structures to running product marketing and connecting consumer insights across channels to optimize efforts and positioning.

Her previous positions include Vice President Marketing at Simon & Schuster; Vice President Marketing at Zondervan; Director of Marketing at HarperCollins Publishers, as well as numerous consulting positions with media companies, internet start-ups and publishers.

In considering the importance of consumers, start by thinking about the TAM—Total Addressable Market for books in the US. According to Pew Research, there are 253 million adults in the US, and about three quarters (74%) of them have read a book in the past 12 months. This figure has remained largely unchanged since 2012.

In 2018 total book revenue in the US was $25.8 billion. Of that, $16.19 billion were trade sales and $8.03 billion were purchased via online retail. There are 17 million titles in the market and that market is growing at 1.3 million new books per year.

The number of readers is staying relatively static. How do you attract the attention of readers? The problem is that only a very small percentage of the millions of books in publication are discoverable. Authors need to connect with readers. Consumers want books they’ll love. Marketers do not have the resources to individually promote each book.

The solution is to develop scalable marketing and technology tools to promote discoverability and sales using data that is acquired through the pools of readers and book consumers. Open Road Integrated Media (OR/M) developed the Open Road Ignition program to satisfy readers who want to discover books and authors and publishers who want to attract readers. The OR/M audiences of 2.6 million monthly readers find new books via a proprietary discovery engine.

In its ability to scale, OR/M unlocks the potential of digitally connected audiences. Its core capability is producing scalable sales for authors and partner publishers using proprietary technology, data, and a consumer-obsessed approach.

OR/M readers are voracious—averaging 8 to 12 book purchases per year. The estimated lifetime of the consumers on our lists is more than five years. We serve this audience 20,000 highly rated fiction and non-fiction titles that are in the program. These books are written by iconic authors, and many are bestsellers in all categories. This is a relatively new approach to marketing in which we begin with our customers and maintain a steady focus on them throughout the process.

We expand our audiences through our book-focused content sites. These six sites: The Lineup for true crime, horror and paranormal fans; The Portalist for science fiction and fantasy fans; The Archive for non-fiction, history and science fans; Murder & Mayhem for mystery and thriller fans; A Love So True for romance fans; and Early Bird Books that covers all readers act as funnels that attract readers via their search habits and invite them to subscribe.

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