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megan mondi marketing

Marketing tips for improving the bottom line (in the wake of the EU referendum)

I don’t know about you, but I found the article in The Independent about job vacancy adverts falling by 700,000 the week after the referendum result absolutely terrifying, though not entirely unexpected. As companies spend the coming months evaluating the long-term implications of the UK leaving the EU, there will undoubtedly be increasing pressure on marketing teams to cut costs wherever possible.

Here are five steps every marketing department should be taking now to help improve the bottom line:

1) Brush off the dust on your RFQs

Be it designers, printers, videographers or mailing houses, we all have our preferred vendors – those we have worked with often enough that it’s easy to just throw a new project in their direction without thinking twice because it saves us from having to go back to basics. But now is the time TO go back to basics. I managed to save a company I worked for £20,000 during my first month on the job by submitting requests for quotes (RFQs) to new and existing designers, printers and PR platforms. Be as specific as you can with your project requirements – including deadlines – so you can compare like for like. You don’t need to go nuts: 3 or 4 requests for quotes or a price matrix for each service should help you realise who to hire and what the going rate is for a particular project. You’ll be surprised by what you find!

2) Canva is your new best friend

canva marketing exampleI work at Kogan Page, where all of our authors are business experts, meaning their LinkedIn connections are to die for and they more likely than not have very strong Twitter profiles as well. We aim to leverage that as much as we can, and Canva helps immensely. Canva is a free, easy-to-use online graphic design platform. It has a range of social media templates – including cover photo templates complete with holes cut out for where the profile picture sits – so you can easily add book covers, discount codes and calls to action on prime real estate. Similarly, if you have a great book endorsement, take a minute to turn it into an image you can tweet. I don’t recommend using Canva for everything – there’s a time and place for quick and easy design – but it’s great for creating profile headers and graphics for you to post.

3) Use what you have

We’ll increasingly be asked to do more with less, so think creatively about the great content already at your fingertips to grow your database. Do you have access to premium content you can put behind download forms on your website? I worked on the apps project team for an educational publisher, and we created a series of revision apps using content we already had. We secured 10,000 downloads in a single day and were then able to upsell other revision products through push notifications.

4) Don’t be afraid to try new things

I think the gut reaction for many over the weeks to come will be to just stick with what works. But try to avoid that, especially when it comes to digital marketing. The beauty of digital is that you can get results fairly quickly and that it’s an iterative process: test something, measure it, tweak it and move forward. If it works, do it some more; if it flops, then refine it or move on. So long as you have particular goals and KPIs you’re working towards don’t be afraid to try new things.

5) Go back to basics with digital

As with going back to basics with suppliers, take the time to do the same with digital. All activity will drive traffic to your website, so optimise it first to improve the performance of your other channels. Refine keywords and copy and make sure you’re adding new content regularly. Also take the time to find your best-performing channel – whether it’s a PPC campaign, affiliate marketing or another channel – and maximize that before moving on to others.

Megan Mondi (@meganmondi) is marketing manager at Kogan Page. Originally from Chicago, she has publishing experience in both the US and UK, where she has worked for educational, academic and professional publishers.


Self-employed in publishing

Are yEUr rights protected? Workers’ rights and the EU

Following the EU referendum and ahead of our July event with Unite the Union, ‘United, We Publish: Your pay – your say?‘, Jasmin Kirkbride summarises current workers’ rights and how they may be affected if the UK votes Leave. 

It has become fashionable to grumble about ‘EU Red Tape’. However, on closer inspection, these laws that we so easily complain about offer huge protection for workers across the UK.

Rights the EU enforces and protects

Amongst other things, EU law ensures that our government must give workers paid holidays, rights for new mothers, 18 weeks of parental leave, limits on how long we can be forced to work, protection from discrimination against religion, belief, gender assignment, sexuality, age and race.

Certain rights that seem like no-brainers now were only put in place because of the EU: for example, the law saying that if your company is sold, you are entitled to the same pay and conditions as before. The EU also ensures that if any major changes are coming up in a company, union representatives and employee forums must be informed.

Some of these laws look after us day-to-day, others you might not necessarily notice until the going gets tough. But they are there to protect us hail, rain or shine.

How leaving affects the law

The Leave camp has argued many times that these laws will continue to exist if Britain leaves the EU. While this may be true in the short term, and our rights would not disappear overnight, the future is less certain.

The UK government has not always welcomed EU directives protecting the worker. There were bitter complaints against the law stating that part-time workers should have the same rights as full-time workers, for instance. If we left the EU, the government could very easily chip away at or scrap laws like these that are currently crucial to the worker. You may think this seems unlikely but, outside the EU, governments regularly curtail workers’ rights: in America for example, workers are legally entitled to no annual leave at all.

Already, the UK government is not exceptionally benevolent to workers, particularly not under Conservative leadership. Conservative minister Michael Gove has said, “membership of the EU prevents us being able to change huge swathes of law” as a reason to leave. The idea that these changes would not include workers’ rights is naïve at best. Worse, current government estimates say that around 820,000 jobs are likely to be lost in the UK if we leave the EU: not a good start to renegotiations.

Other Leave camp arguments have included the idea that the EU no longer has anything to offer the worker in terms of employment rights. However this seems to be untrue as, amongst other items on the agenda, campaigners from the EU are currently trying to tackle the dreaded zero-hours contract.

Who do you trust?

Ultimately, the decision is based on who you trust to look after your rights as a worker.

With controversial issues like TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) coming to the fore, we cannot pretend that the EU is not in need of reform. We cannot rest on our laurels and assume that remaining in the EU will automatically protect our rights and our future.

But over the years, the EU has proven to offer a strong, consistent layer of protection from the whims of UK governments on a four-year turnover. That protection is something we should not overlook.

Join us for United, We Publish: Your pay – your say?‘ on the 14th July. Early bird ticket sales end 30th June (£8, instead of £15).


Publishing on the move: unions and the EU referendum

This is a guest post by Douglas Williamson on EU referendum, unions and publishing. Douglas is design manager at Macmillan ELT. He started his career at Butterworth Law Publishers and since then has worked for Longman, HarperCollins and Heinemann Education. He has been a union member from the start, and has just retired from the Unite National Committee for the Graphical, Paper, Media and IT industries.

From where I’m sitting in the London office of my German-owned employer, I can see around me two colleagues from Greece, one from Italy and another from Spain. I’m on a project team where the production controller is Slovakian, the managing editor is Irish and the marketing executive is Polish. Our online English dictionary is managed from Brussels by a Hungarian. Nigel Farage and friends will be disappointed to know that none of them are undermining my terms and conditions, and most of them have joined Unite or the NUJ to help defend employment standards.

As far as the EU referendum is concerned, we ordinary workers will have difficulty verifying the claims and counter-claims of the Stay and Leave campaigns, so our votes might come down to a straightforward affirmation of solidarity with our EU colleagues, and a repudiation of the xenophobia that seems never far below the surface of the Leave case.

The leavers want to repatriate powers from Brussels. You can be sure that high on their target list will be the EU employment protection measures transposed into UK law, such as the Information & Consultation of Employees Regulations, the Working Time Directive, and the Agency Workers Regulations, not to mention environmental protections affecting health and safety at work – ironic, really, when you think that one of the main arguments of the leavers is that EU migrants are a threat to UK employment standards. If we leave, Messrs Gove, Johnson and Grayling will give us better workers’ rights, will they?

Unite the Union is backing continued UK membership of the EU to protect jobs, employment rights and the concept of the social market. But that doesn’t mean unqualified support: Unite, in common with the rest of the trade-union movement and many civil society organisations, is opposed to trade agreements such as CETA and TTIP, currently being negotiated between the EU, Canada and the United States behind closed doors. However, we can only exert influence from within the EU.

The EU finances research into the future prospects of the various industrial sectors, including publishing. Two years ago, using EU funding, the International Federation of Graphical Unions produced a report on the impact of digital publishing on printed media in Europe, entitled ‘Publishing on the move, followed up by an EU-wide conference of worker representatives in the graphical and media industry to plan for an orderly transition between technologies. Unite played a big part in that initiative, and that’s the way we want it to stay.

For more information on trade unionism and publishing, read this brief introduction.

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