Case Study: Strategy and Publisher Relations Support

Our client was a new publishing company that began with a single idea – to provide textbooks, online, by the chapter. 

Our collaboration began in October 2009 when Maverick was approached to provide top-level strategic support that would take the embryonic idea into a full-blown product. 

In close discussion with the client, Maverick developed a 5-year business development plan that set out the areas that needed to be considered in order to allow the company to grow.  The plan explored a variety of factors including product proposition, market segmentation, competitor analysis, plus critical factors for success.  It also included a fully loaded sales and marketing plan, complete with customer segmentation and target customer profiling, brand promotion and positioning as well as a suggested tactical marketing roll out plan.

Pleased with the end result, the work lead to further consultation with three next stage engagements.

Maverick supported the client through the process of identifying and appointing a suitable technology partner that would create and build the platform that had been envisaged.  This work included assisting with the RFP generation in addition to the vendor selection and negotiation process.

At the same time, Maverick associates were also requested to provide initial and first phase Publisher Relations support – a role that subsequently continues on an ongoing basis to this day. Work here included reviewing and re-writing the original publisher contract; researching and establishing a priority list of relevant publisher partners (as the proposition was an aggregated platform service); and then approaching these potential publisher partners and executing the relevant contract negotiations and agreements – including royalty and payment structures, content delivery and ongoing legal advice and support.

Maverick also supplied the marketing support and resources that would launch the final service to the UK market.  The initial marketing strategy was reviewed and a final plan created that set out how the client could approach the UK market and its range of potential users, customers and institutional influencers.

It was supported by a complete marketing communications plan that included both online and offline tactics.  Maverick then proceeded to deliver the plan via a number of differing Marketing Communications initiatives. Support here included writing and designing a full suite of marketing materials and exhibition graphics; PR and PR outreach across all major student, trade and national press (including relevant listservs, LinkedIn, web and blog sites); PPC advertising campaigns and Search Engine Optimisation; plus developing a campaign to launch the platform at Fresher's Fairs across several key London-based institutions.

Also, as the primary customers were UK students, these campaigns required some innovative marketing tactics and stunts in order to effectively engage and hold their attention!  The final launch plan encompassed a range of activities from brand ambassadors employed at each institution to distribute leaflets and giveaways and encourage students to sign up, to targeted email campaigns to student union members and web advertising on student union websites. Other more creative approaches included “clean advertising” (where adverts are “cleaned” into pavements and walkways in and around campuses) to use of Bluetooth technology to distribute specially-created promotional codes to anyone with blue-tooth enabled devices.   

Since the launch, the client’s new platform has gone from strength to strength and currently provides content from 14 leading publishers in the sector to student customers across nearly all UK Universities. Requests were regularly received from students living outside the UK so now our client is also delivering content on a worldwide basis.  With every step of the way, Maverick has been pleased to provide support and assistance and we look forward to continuing this relationship and seeing what the future holds!

 

 

 

Case Study : Digital Strategy

We were approached by the CEO of our client, a large market sector leading specialist publisher, to assist the board with the initial discussion, research and development phases of a long term company initiative to review and create a more robust digital strategy.

Despite their internal developments and activity in the digital arena to bring both technology and content up to speed with market demand, the client wished to understand what else they should do to maintain and increase their position as market leader in the subject areas and market sectors in which they operated – and ensure they caught up and/or overtook their immediate competitors in the digital space.

Maverick’s engagement began with a review of the current state of the digital market within the clients chosen sectors – and the clients' current positioning and perception within them. This helped the client understand – from an independent perspective – where they really stood with their customers and also identified particular areas for closer consideration and focus if they were to be a leading content and service provider in the digital arena.

Maverick support included:

  • Assistance with understanding and analysing the industry with regards to threats, opportunities and developing trends
  • Helping to understand the competitive landscape in more detail – including in-depth analytical reports on 5 of their key competitors.
  • Reviewing and identifying partners and outsource companies that could provide assistance and support with regard to digital platform development and enhancements, website upgrades and content development and production.
  • Advice on marketing, branding and positioning strategy.
  • Advice on areas for immediate sales attention or opportunities not currently addressed.  

Maverick were then asked to create and conduct a board level workshop and initial business review to help further identify the core areas that needed to be addressed. The aim of the workshop was to uncover any areas of mis-alignment in thinking or strategy; ensure there was a common understanding of "digital" across the senior management team and what it meant for the client both strategically and operationally; as well as discuss and resolve some more specific and practical issues regarding the clients digital growth and prioritise the various plans and activities already underway or in development.

Following the workshop, Maverick created a top-level strategy paper that outlined the areas discussed, including findings, recommendations and agreed actions and priorities. This strategy is now being implemented by the client concerned.

 

PDF Download:
Digital strategy

 

 

 

Case Study: RFP Support and ongoing sales Representation

Our client, a specialist publisher in the scholarly sector based in the US, approached us in December 2010 with a specific requirement. Whilst their current content delivery platform was working well for them, they wanted to be sure that they were aware of all new developments or initiatives that could enhance the way their customers accessed their content.  Maverick was requested to undertake an initial "potential vendor (current) capability review" and then undertake a resultant, narrowly focused RFI / RFP program.

Working with the client, Maverick developed an RFP which set out all the requirements for a potential new platform and invited selected technology companies to respond accordingly.  Subsequent responses were then reviewed, scored and reported against to provide a basis for comparison as to which offered the best potential solution.  The result? The client actually remained with their original provider (one of the respondents) as they were able to adapt the platform sufficiently to meet their changing needs, at a reasonable cost and with minimal impact on service delivery.

The process did, however, uncover a number of other issues with which the client required support.

These included:

  • Further strategic and tactical discussions about how to maximize the commercial benefits of the platform via online advertising and sponsorship.Improving access to – and delivery of – usage statistics from the current platform provider.
  • Improving pricing structures and models
  • Maximizing content exposure and sales opportunities (SEO and discoverability).
  • Improving the content conversion and upload / acceptance processes with their typesetters as well as the platform vendor itself.

Maverick provided consultancy as to how these areas could be addressed, culminating in a number of new promotional and revenue generating initiatives being rolled out and subsequently increasing sales. We also provided outsourced content and production management resources and continue to manage the delivery of their publication to the web, liaising with the platform provider and ensuring the whole process runs smoothly and on time.     

As well as continuing the strategic and operational support as outlined above, Maverick's sales associates have also been retained to represent the publication on a worldwide basis, generating new sales and securing renewals from both consortia as well as individual institutions.

 

PDF Download:
RFP and Sales Support

 

 

 

Case Study: Market Research

Our client, a leading scholarly publisher in the social sciences, wished to conduct a market assessment to determine the perceived value and positioning of their product offering amongst their client base.  The client wished to gain a much deeper understanding of their customer loyalty to both the corporate and product brands, as well as explore current levels of customer satisfaction. Amongst other goals they wished to determine the extent to which a potential pricing increase and content structure review could be undertaken without negatively impacting on their brand or revenues.

Working with the client, Maverick developed a research programme that would encourage the greatest possible number of responses at the same time as delivering the results the client required.  The solution was to adopt a two phase approach, comprising an online survey supported by targeted, in-depth telephone interviews that would explore particular areas of concern.

These included:

  • Customer perceptions of the client’s corporate and product brands
  • Which were the immediate competing resources that the clients' customers (also) subscribed to and how were these compared to the client product proposition with regards to content coverage and value for money.
  • Gain a better understanding of available (resource) budgets at the customer institutions and what proportion of which was allocated to electronic resources
  • What were the levels of satisfaction with the client’s current business and access models, and
  • How could products be developed to continue to meet the needs of the academic community – and what were the pricing sensitivities surrounding how these developments might be funded via a potential pricing review.

To ensure that responses received were as representative of the customer base as possible, quotas were set that represented each region’s percentage contribution to the client’s overall revenue.

Following the online survey, in-depth telephone interviews were conducted to provide deeper understanding of particular key issues that were highlighted during Phase I of the research. The subsequent findings were then analysed and presented in a full report which also included a strategy paper with recommendations on how the client could move forward in all these areas.

Since the research was conducted, the client has been working hard to develop their content offering in line with the research findings.  As a result, Maverick has subsequently been requested to provide top-level strategic assistance with this product and content development until the end of 2012.

 

PDF Download:
Market Research

 

 

 

Case Study : Strategic and Marketing Support

We have worked with our client, a major STM publisher, on a number of significant projects over the last two years. Engaging with all areas of the marketing organization (both library side and author side) in Europe, US and Asia Pacific, we have supplied both strategic and marketing communications support, delivering effective marketing messages to all their various customer groups.

Our initial engagement began with a request to provide strategic marketing support regarding their market positioning. Despite a strong and growing customer base, our client wished to re-develop and re-position the branding of one of their major product offerings – as well as ensure that this re-positioning remained closely applied to their overall corporate brand. Further, they also wanted to understand how their products and services could be positioned to encourage further sales, whilst extending their "leading edge status" in the market.

Maverick was approached to undertake a strategic review of their current market messaging, positioning, brand values and materials and generate proposals that would outline how these could be re-positioned, enhanced and expanded in line with more recent (digital) market developments.

We created a top-level market positioning strategy that identified how messaging could be improved and updated to enable the client to extend its leading position into the future as well as stay ahead of competitive response.

This strategy included:

  • Revising the existing market messaging
  • Developing a new market positioning and subsequent top-level messaging and delivery tactics.
  • Adapting this messaging according to customer type, user type and geography to promote both publisher and product benefits in a manner tailored to their specific and differing needs. Customer types included academic and corporate libraries as well as end users.
  • Reviewing and suggesting alternative solutions for graphics and graphical representation to bring the visual elements up to date and in line with the new market positioning and messages.

The project proved to be a success and was rolled out (with Maverick assistance) on a global level. Maverick was further engaged to copy write and create the subsequent marketing materials for each of the identified stakeholders and take the messaging the market.

Today we continue to provide ongoing support across a number of areas, including:

  • Creating and generating eNewsletters distributed to all their customer and author groups
  • Copywriting brochures, data sheets, presentations and web copy for a number of products and services – tailored (as appropriate) for authors, societies, libraries, faculty and end users (researchers and students).
  • Generating whitepapers, articles, outreach PR and further market messaging strategy plans to assist the further development and "thought leadership" positioning of their product and content brands.
  • Conducting a wide range of market research projects, questionnaires and perception surveys to scope potential new market sectors and regions (and identify additional opportunities in existing markets)
  • Providing additional strategic support, plans and materials for establishing a market presence and sales growth within these new sectors and regions

We have been privileged to be able to act as part of the marketing team for this client and we look forward to continuing our relationship.

“Maverick understands our business and have listened very well to our needs. We have done a wide range of projects with them, from small copy writing projects to large strategic projects, and they have proven to be effective for us. They are happy to adapt to the scale required and always work within our capabilities and budget.”