The Nibbies Marketing Strategy of the Year Award: Interview with Jodie Mullish

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Jodie Mullish is Communications Director for Bluebird, part of Pan Macmillan. Previously, she was Head of Fiction Marketing at Pan Macmillan, and has held Publicity and Marketing roles at Quarto, Penguin and a number of award-winning agencies. Jodie has also occasionally worked as a freelance journalist and copywriter. Here, Norah Myers interviews her about what makes a successful communications team.

1) Congratulations on your Nibbies award for Marketing Strategy of the Year! What does it mean to you?

Thank you! It really means a huge amount to win this award. It represents masses of teamwork from both the team in-house at Pan Macmillan, especially Tom Noble, our Senior Digital Marketing Manager, Bluebird Publicist Jessica Farrugia Sharples and Publisher Carole Tonkinson, and from Joe himself together with his amazing team.

This campaign was all about Joe’s fans. Their #LeanIn15Selfies featured in the outdoor creative and it was their votes for which city Joe should visit for the last date on his book tour, each of which generated a personalised social media card, that drove much of the social media activity. We are only able to try interesting and fan-centric campaigns like this because Joe has created an incredibly engaged fanbase, and he has done so by speaking to them authentically and all the time. They really feel that they know him; they are truly invested in his success, and that is something I wanted to build on with this activity. There is a very high level of social media and marketing expertise in Joe’s team, too, and we work hand-in-hand with them to create campaigns.

2) You used several different social media platforms to promote Joe Wicks’s work. Which combination has been the most effective?

Facebook works particularly well for Joe, but we know that his fans and readers – like most people – are on many platforms at once. We want our marketing activity to be where people are, so, for Joe, we made it possible for people to interact with the book and the campaign on a number of different platforms.

3) What’s been your favourite campaign of 2017? Why?

I really liked Hodder’s campaign #ReadWithoutPrejudice for Jodi Piccoult’s Small Great Things. It was brave of the team to completely remove the jacket and author name – when that author is a bestselling one – in their promo material. I’ve read a number of bloggers talking about how they wouldn’t normally pick up a Jodi Piccoult, but did because they didn’t know it was her and I imagine the marketing approach did, therefore, manage to expand the readership. I’m impressed that the Comms team addressed the prejudice around the author head on. Crucially, this all tied in with the actual content of the book.

4) What makes a successful communications team?

I think that teamwork is vital. Comms is such a fast-moving environment: team members really have to have each others’ backs.

I also think it’s extremely important to make time for creativity. It’s all too easy to believe you need to just keep your head down and get the work done, but if you don’t find time to step back and think creatively – to brainstorm, to be aware of what else is going on within the industry and beyond, to simply talk about ideas with your colleagues – it will be impossible to come up with the best and most effective campaigns.

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