Andrea Jo DeWerd (Mariner Lifestyle at Harper Collins) - A Little Bit of Everything
Ben: Welcome to The Marketing Stir Podcast by Stirista, probably the most entertaining marketing podcast you're going to put in your ears. I'm Ben, the associate producer here at Stirista. The goal of this podcast is a chat with industry leaders and get their take on the current challenges of the market. And we'll have a little fun along the way. In today's episode, Vincent and Ajay chat with Andrea Jo DeWerd, senior director of marketing at Mariner Lifestyle at Harpercollins. She talks about how reaching and understanding readers is an important start to marketing published books. Vincent stays away from sneezing folks on the elevator, and Ajay meets with a friend for breakfast. Give it a listen.
Vincent Pietrafesa: Ladies and gentlemen, hello. It's me, Vincent Pietrafesa, the vice president of B2B Products here Stirista. That must mean one thing only, you're either on a conference call with me, but this would be weird or, it's The Marketing Stir Podcast. Ladies and gentlemen, we are so happy to be back on the podcast. I love doing this. And thank you so much for the love over the last few weeks, about our 100th episode that came out and all the love for Ajay, myself and all the team that helps put this together. 100 episodes, can you believe that. Ajay has put up with me over 100 episodes, this is probably like 106, 107. He can't believe it, but I remind him every day. Ladies and gentlemen, let's pause for a moment for identification purposes, I always hear that on the radio. Stirista, who are we? We are a marketing technology company. We own our own business- to- business data, our own business- to- consumer data. We focus on identity. We work with customers who want to target that data to get new customers, maybe to enhance their current CRM or database. We do that through email marketing. We have our own DSP called AdStir. We can help with connected TV display, email me vincent @ stirista. com. That's it. That's the last we'll talk about Stirista, but thank you so much. Speaking Stirista, oh, I just talked about us again, but you can't Stirista without this man right here, ladies and gentlemen, he is my co- pilot, I ride shotgun to him or vice versa, who knows? We don't care, but he is the commander in chief here at Stirista. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Ajay Gupta. What's up Ajay.
Ajay Gupta: Hey, Vincent. Happy 100th episode. Pretty cool.
Vincent Pietrafesa: Yeah. A couple of episodes ago, it's crazy. The love that we are receiving for that, and it was a iconic brand. We have another iconic brand today, but we'll get to that in a moment. That's just a little teaser as we call in the business here. But Ajay, what's good? How's everything with you?
Ajay Gupta: Good. I actually ventured out for breakfast this morning. So, met a friend for breakfast, it was kind of weird. I hadn't been to a restaurant in a little while and I just... But the COVID cases rising, I was looking at everybody who was sneezing around me or just had a little cough so I was on the edge so, I don't know. It was good to be at a restaurant, but I felt like I was on the edge most of the time.
Vincent Pietrafesa: And that's no way to be. Hopefully by the time this episode comes out, maybe Feb, March, it's sicing, I know, but that's the way it is. Someone sneezes on elevator, you're like, what? Get this person off immediately. And that could be a child, you never know. People are on edge a little bit. I've done a few dinners with people, but I'm wondering what's going to happen with all these conferences that we were so excited that were coming back. I was like," Okay, I'll be at LiveRamp. I'll be at the ABM Exchange one, I'll be here." What's happening. I know the Direct Marketing Club of New York had done our very popular luncheon with Bruce Beagle. The Outlook, it's our biggest, one of our biggest events besides the Silver Apple Awards, virtual now. And so, that happens as long as we can do more events in person and the Silver Apple Awards, which we love so much, but yeah. Wondering what's going to happen there. Haven't heard anything.
Ajay Gupta: It's interesting because we started this, first episode was what we thought at the height of the pandemic, but it seems like many of our episodes are at the height of the pandemic or different types of the pandemic.
Vincent Pietrafesa: Exactly. I know for once, a lot of people said," Hey, we would love to see you do these episodes live with these guests because some of these guests, you seem like you've known them for forever." And I was like," That's a great thing." And that is the plan. We want to do this at a trade show or conference or, this next guest, she's from New York. Would've been great to do this in person. But let me tell you about this next guest, speaking of a person that you feel like you've known for a long time, you probably hear me say that, not a lot, but every once in a while on the podcast. And I do feel that way about certain guests. I love all our guests, Ajay. That is a fact, however, certain ones, you're just like," Wait a minute, I feel like I've known her for a long time." She's from the company called HarperCollins Publishers. I told you it was an iconic brand. But I met Andrea at an event. It was that a Kodi Connect event. And we'll talk about it when I introduce her. But we were just chatting. It was supposed to be the speed marketing for like five minutes, but she and I, we started talking well before that, had so much in common, both from New York, both were just hit it off. And I really enjoyed talking to her. I said," Andrea, I have a podcast." She's like," Of course, I heard of your podcast." She didn't say that, we're not that big yet. But she said," I would love to be on the podcast." I had to have her on. Ladies and gentlemen, please let me introduce, the senior director of marketing, Mariner Lifestyle at HarperCollins Publishers, ladies and gentlemen, a warm Marketing Stir welcome to Andrea Dewerd. What's going on, Andrea.
Andrea Jo DeWerd: Hey, Vincent. Hey, Ajay. How are you guys doing? Good to be here today.
Vincent Pietrafesa: We're happy to have you. It's so good to see you again. I love that you have your Christmas tree up. I'm the same way, I try to keep it up as long as I could.
Andrea Jo DeWerd: Yes. In this household, like Downton Abbey, we keep the tree up until the Epiphany. So, I just wasn't quite ready to take it down yet, so that's my project for this weekend. So, happy new year, Happy Epiphany. It's still the holiday spirit around here.
Vincent Pietrafesa: I love it. Happy Epiphany. I love that's already a great title for this episode. Andrea, let's talk about how we met before I get into some questions. We were at, which I thought was one of the coolest events I've ever been to, it was a Kodi Connect, so give Kodi some love there. It was this speed networking event and it was at this really nice, it was a nice hotel, nice restaurant where the vendors, if you will, or suppliers or solutions provider as I would say, got to be at a table, different tables of people in marketing, senior level marketing executives like yourself, some great companies there, you were there, there were Equinox, there was American Express, and we got to network before. And then myself and our colleague, Patrick Corey, got to go to different tables and talk about your products and services. A great event. Stirista was the only company of its kind there, which was great. We got a ton of high scores about how well we did and how interested people were. I got to tell you, not many people following up with me after a few touches. We'll get to that. If you're listening to the episode and if you were at that event, ladies and gentlemen, return my email, come on, we're not going to bother you. But Andrea and I were talking before, it was a little group of us. There was a few others there, a woman who lived in my building before me, it wasn't that, it was so cool. And we just hit it off. I really loved what you're doing at HarperCollins, loved what you're doing as well about traveling and talking about the publishing industry. We'll get to that in a moment. Maybe an author yourself, we'll see. We'll get to that ladies and gentlemen, but it was such a cool event and good I'm-
Andrea Jo DeWerd: I love going to those events and meeting other marketers besides the vendors. I actually was looking for some new MarTech myself to bring in to my team. So I came in looking for some demos that night and happy We did have a call with you and Patrick after, and we're thinking about some first and second party data that could add to our own ad practices. But I love meeting... I actually have now had dinner with the ladies from American Express and the other person, I think that lived in your building was from iHeartRadio that night.
Vincent Pietrafesa: Yes.
Andrea Jo DeWerd: We had dinner the other night and we're like making a little marketing ladies of New York meet up.
Vincent Pietrafesa: Awesome.
Andrea Jo DeWerd: I love going to those events as a marketer in book publishing so I can meet and learn from other marketers. You'll hear me talk about learning a lot today. I'm an entirely self- taught marketer, so I love getting to learn from other marketers and hear what's going on in other industries because I can look at Random House, I can look at Simon& Schuster and look at other publishers, but that's not where really where I'm getting inspiration, I'm really getting inspiration from American Express or Pepsi or some of these other big name brands. So, I got a lot out of that night. I hope iHeartMedia or someone calls you back soon, Vincent.
Vincent Pietrafesa: Yeah. No, iHeart was great and yeah, hopefully they will. We understand the holidays get busy, but I say that tongue in cheek. But hey, the people that got back to us, people like you and you're on the podcast and we're happy to have you, Andrea, talked to us about, very unique title that you have, only in the sense so, I'd love to understand more about Mariner Lifestyle because it's not what I think. And so, talk about that, and talk to us about what you do day- to- day there at HarperCollins.
Andrea Jo DeWerd: Mariner Lifestyle is one of our imprints, and imprint is a brand in publishing. Some people don't know that word or, but it means one of our publishing brands. And we talk about this in publishing all the time that the brands, the logo on the spine means nothing to the reader. It is a brand that means inaudible to the author, to agents that we work with, but really consumer facing, it's a challenge that people are not familiar with these brands. So Mariner Lifestyle is one of the brands that I work on. I lead a team of marketers that works on fiction and nonfiction, business books and cookbooks, and a little bit of everything. We do everything top to bottom. We are doing full service marketing campaigns for about 70 books in a year, launch marketing. And since last year, we for part of a brand called Houghton Mifflin Harcourt that was rebranded as Mariner that was acquired by HarperCollins. We became part of the HarperCollins family last summer. We were rebranded and asked to focus on lifestyle. So, lifestyle is new. That is our new gig. We are being asked to focus besides the fiction and nonfiction and everything else that we've always done well, history, we do history books really well. We are being really asked to focus on lifestyle and cookbooks. So, we have a publisher, Deb Brody, and she's our editor in chief now and she's launching a new lifestyle division. And guess what, Vincent, since we last talked, we actually have a new name. So, we are actually not going to be Mariner Lifestyle anymore. I'm so excited. This will be... Actually, it's public in a very quiet way, but we are working on a logo now. Our rebrand is coming this year. We are quietly relaunching now as Harvest. So we-
Vincent Pietrafesa: I like that.
Andrea Jo DeWerd: ...as Harvest, an imprint of HarperCollins and I'm so excited because it means this year, my team gets to do a whole rebrand and launch, and launch marketing is so fun to me. So, we're designing merch and catalogs and things to go out to all of our B2B partners, but also our direct consumer marketing. So, the place I hesitated is that when I describe book publishing and book marketing, when I go to these industry events or non- industry event, when I go to cross industry marketing events, it's always a little challenging to describe what book marketing is, because we do B2B and D2C, we do a little bit of everything. We operate as an in- house agency model, but we also use outside agencies for some things. So, we do a little bit of everything and it's a very strange model and we we're using more outside agencies as we're scaling. We're looking for more off the shelf solutions. Our B2B stuff looks like we're working with our partners who are book sellers and librarians, making sure that they are aware of the books that are coming out, the new releases. And we are arming them with the assets and what they need to promote the books to their shareholder... Their stakeholders at the end of the day. But then our primary marketing is also direct- to- consumer, so that's where we're not advertising in social media and author platforms. It is also strange in that our authors are our product. Theyre our brand, they are our talent, but we the publisher are paying them. So, I am paying the talent, but they're the client, I have to keep them happy, but we're paying them. So, it's a very strange model.
Vincent Pietrafesa: Definitely.
Andrea Jo DeWerd: So, that's what book marketing is. That's what my team does. And we are now very shortly this spring going to be the Harvest lifestyle marketing team focusing on self- help lifestyle cookbooks from top to bottom, and it's very exciting.
Vincent Pietrafesa: That is exciting. I love that new name, Harvest is awesome. Well, that's very exciting news. Thank you for sharing that here on the podcast. And Andrea, we love to ask these questions right off the bat. How did you get into this business? How did you get into the publishing and then marketing aspect? Because our listeners love hearing this question.
Andrea Jo DeWerd: I came into the industry first. I was an English major. I've always loved books, books first. I loved reading and stories from, I was an early reader. I started reading books, probably age four independently. In college, I was an English major and I kept telling my parents," Don't worry, I'm going to make a job out of this." And they're like," Why don't you transfer to the business school?" And I was like," No, no, I got this. People make jobs out of this." And when I was 21 and graduating, I was like," I'm going to get a master's of science in publishing." That is an option. So, I went to NYU and got this M. S in publishing program and simultaneously, I was like," This is how people get into publishing." I applied to 50 different internships and entry level jobs and started working simultaneously while I was finishing that master's program. But coming into the industry, I thought I was going to be an editor. I thought I was going to be the person who makes the books better and work with authors in that really dedicated way. What I learned in my first three years in publishing, once I got in the door in that master's program through meeting people and starting to get my foot in the door, is that I actually really love marketing. And I did not have that background as an English major. I had no idea that that was really a career option where a slice of the publishing industry that I touch and really love. So, that has all come in the last 12 years just kind of on the fly on the job. So, my first job in publishing was a pub office's assistant, which is... The pub office is a little bit like air traffic control. They're the air traffic control between all the different departments. They deal with the editors, the marketing team, managing editorial, which are like the schedulers, the production folks. So, they're the ones making everyone work together, combining all the schedules, looking at the competition, looking at the schedules of other publishers. So, I worked for a deputy publisher who did all that. And because of that level of exposure of the things he was working on, I got to touch a little bit of everything and it was an awesome entry into the industry because I got to see everything that he was doing and decide what I wanted to do and what I wanted to touch. And it was also those early days of social media. So, he handed me the keys to one of the brands Twitter accounts. And he was like," Here, I don't really understand what Twitter is. You go run with it." And I was 22 at the time and I loved Twitter. I still love Twitter. Twitter's one of my favorite places. And I started to explore with it and really see the opportunities, and simultaneously in my master's program, I was starting to see the added value of what marketing can and bring to it, what is the value of brand awareness? And we were trying to assign dollar value to brand awareness through a tweet about a book. And those were some of the projects I was working on in this grad school program. And I really fell in love with that logic game of this. I started to work on writing book trailer videos. I worked on a book trailer video for Snooki from the Jersey Shore. And that was one of my first real inaudible marketing projects when I was at Simon& Schuster. And I was like," This is it. I like this. Whatever were this weird little niche part of publishing is where I'm writing a book trailer for Snooki," I'm like," I want to do this." And then from there on out, once I had that path, I was all self- taught. I was like," What can I learn? How can I teach myself marketing?" I had that master's background then, but then I also started going to conferences and how do I learn analytics, how do I learn how an ad dashboard is built, how do I learn attribution and sales tracking on the back end? So, a lot of that has just been really self- taught in the last 10 years once I decided that this is it. Then it's all been by the seat of my pants and I love it.
Ajay Gupta: Much like you, I was an English major as well, so you being our first publishing guest is a really cool thing. So, thanks for being on. You touched on this a little bit earlier, obviously publishing is very different than some of the other verticals we've had guests from. So, tell us a little bit more about what are some of the channels you are marketing in, how is the strategy different than some of the other verticals?
Andrea Jo DeWerd: I bet it looks pretty similar just channel- wise. A lot of our... Our marketing really starts with who the reader is and how do we reach them, over the last five years, it's been about reaching our reader wherever they are. So, are they on social, are they reading newsletters, are they scrolling the newyorktimes. com or cnn. com and how do I reach them? So, we've put a lot of our effort into digital audience targeting and segmentation, a lot of second and third party data to get to that and layering on our own first data where possible. We have the added challenge of, we don't typically sell direct, we sell through Amazon or Barnes& Noble. So, our first party data is typically newsletter subscription or something. But we're looking at the same digital ad targeting that most of our other big brands are looking at. We're looking at social media in the same way. We are building our brand voices. Like I said though, most consumers don't really care about us the publishers, the brand, they care about the authors, the brand. So, a lot of our brand building is really about building up the Mary Higgins Clark, so the Greg Iles, or building up the authors brand, not the publishers, the brand. Where things really get different though is budgeting. My larger division and at Harvest is part of the William Marow group at HarperCollins, we're part of this larger group that publishes 620 books in a year. And each of those 620 books, our budget gets so segmented and each of those books needs a launch plan. And so, the individual books might have a$ 5, 000 budget,$10, 000 budget. The budgets themselves get so segmented, we have to get really creative with scale. So, a lot of my work over the last couple of years has been to get my team to think about how can we group audiences together, how can we group like with like to build a mystery and suspense and thrill a audience, or a culinary and lifestyle audience. And within that, we have celebrity cookbooks, we have New York chef cookbooks, we have books about mental health. So how can we build reusable audiences and target within those groups so that we can relamp those budgets back together and have 50k for an ad campaign instead of breaking it down into 5k for each book. That's really the challenge of our industry. And I think a lot of publishers are still taking it 5k at a time not to get too deep into numbers, but that's where we get stuck, is if you're looking at books as individual projects instead of looking at the broader programmatic approach, that's I think where a lot of publishers are going to just fall behind. We've had a lot of success, when we really think programmatically, we look at a season at a time and think, where can we group things together, where can we pair like with like. And it pairs up with what we're finding out about audiences, readers read very broadly. They read by feeling, they read by topic. They're not just reading fiction or non- fiction even, they might read books that help you learn something, whether that's fiction or non- fiction. They might read books that, let's see, books that help you go into the new year, I'm coming up with really bad taglines here, we're going to edit this, please. One of our most successful September campaigns was called Falloff Fresh Starts. So we grouped together fiction and nonfiction books that helped people start the school year with a new outlook on sending your kids back to school so that we grouped eight or 10 books together for a search in social and display campaign. And that worked really well, because the people might have been looking for a different kind of book in that way, but they were served the exact right book at the right moment. So, the actual channels looks pretty typical. It's DSP newsletter, a lot of sponsored search. We do a lot of Google sponsored search. The great thing about sponsored search that's been really successful for our non- fiction is we have the entire PDF interior of a book to index for keywords. We have table of contents and appendix, our cookbooks do really well with sponsored search because we have all those recipe keywords to cross. So, that's been a huge tactic for us. Same on the social media side. Pinterest does really well because we have all of those interior photos for our QuickBooks to use. But otherwise, inaudible probably does look really similar. We don't do a ton of TV because we don't have a lot of video assets. We're trying to change that, we're trying to explore some connected TV as we have more authors exploring short form social media, we have Instagram and TikTok videos, we're exploring a lot more of a TikTok. I think we are one of the first 14% of advertisers that were doing paid TikTok this year. And I love experimenting. I love being first and trying and seeing what works, but we had to have authors creating those videos and we were reusing their content. We were not creating the content ourselves in that case.
Ajay Gupta: You made a good point about the audience size because we are on the other end things where clients want to use our segmentation to create the smallest possible audiences and sometimes, yes, we could target 1000 people but it's not the most effective way to spend the media dollars, so great point there. What's been a campaign you have particularly enjoyed working on?
Andrea Jo DeWerd: Oh, that's so hard because I've been really lucky to work on a lot of big books and books that I've really loved. I've worked with a lot of authors that I've genuinely loved as a reader. I was really honored to work on the book, Educated by Tara Westover. If you haven't read it yet, I'd say put it top of your list. It's a really stunning memoir, and it's a really important book that I think just reminds us of some of the challenges of this country and poverty in this country and mental health. I felt so lucky to work on the book because the writing was amazing and the book and Tara, her words, the author's words in that book are really the star of the campaign. So, what we did with it was use the author's words in the campaign itself. We did a lot of content in ads or video ads, author videos where we would overlay sentences from the video... Sentences from the book over the bottom of the video to draw people in just using the book itself, drumming that first sentence, that first chapter of the book into people's minds. But then from there, I really can't take credit for much of the rest of the campaign because the book itself is incredible. People like Barack Obama fell in love with that book and my advertising from there on out looked like literally everyone is talking about this book, why haven't you bought it yet? That was my second wave banner ad campaign, it was amazing. And then it became 2 million copies sold. Why haven't you bought this book yet? So, I'm very honored to have been so lucky to work on books like that. Another one I love to talk about is, also when I worked at Random House, I was very lucky to work on Born a Crime by Trevor Noah which is also an amazing book and one of my favorites if you haven't read it. Again, those are probably the two books I recommend to people very often if you haven't read them. I will recommend those books to anybody, no matter what you like to read. But we had the big marketing meeting and presenting the plans, we were at The Daily Show offices over in Hell's Kitchen. So, we're around this big table and I'm explaining retargeting ads to a room of like 12 people and they're all like writers and it's The Daily Show people and it's Trevor and his agents and there's like four agents in the room and I'm like the one marketing person in the room talking through my four- page marketing plan and I'm like," No one cares about what I'm talking about." And I was talking about the retargeting campaign after someone engages with the book page, will you continue to serve them ads? And I'm like," When you shop for shoes from Kogan and then those ads follow you around the internet." And Trevor Noah gets very quiet and he got very serious and I was like," Oh no, he hates it, he hates me, he hates my marketing." And he goes," Okay, let me get this straight. So, first the ads are going to follow me home and then they're going to come upstairs and they're going to get in my bed and they're going to say, buy this book." I'm like," That's exactly right, that's how retargeting ads work. Thank you for listening." Highlight of my career is making sure Trevor Noah understands how retargeting ads work. And again, that book was a huge best seller, but it was also because of the book itself, that book is really, really good. If it was just another celebrity memoir, people would read it and not talk about it, they wouldn't tell a friend, you need to read this. They would read it and put it down and not tell anyone. They'd say, eh, Trevor Noah wrote a book, but this book is so good. It's the book that makes you understand apartheid in South Africa. It is a book that makes you think about yourself and your identity and your childhood and you read it with such high stakes that you're like, how does he get out of this situation? So, I can't take credit for that. I can take credit for the retargeting ads.
Vincent Pietrafesa: I love your... I love what you said. Not only our first publishing guest, but the first guest, I think the only guest that would ever be able to say that I taught Trevor Noah how cookies work. So, I think that's pretty cool. Andrea, I'm not what you call an avid reader and so Ajay would always bust my chops about that and the listeners too sometimes-
Ajay Gupta: I'll get you the audio version, Vincent.
Vincent Pietrafesa: Yeah. Actually, I've heard of that book. I've heard of the Trevor Noah book, I actually own that book believe it or not, but I have not read it yet. So, I actually do own that book, but I haven't read it yet. There's one or two in my hopper, I kid you not. There's that one, there's a Kevin Hart book. I tend to read about comedians and-
Andrea Jo DeWerd: That's a good start.
Vincent Pietrafesa: Yeah, I know. My first book's ever, no. I've read other books.
Ajay Gupta: People Magazine doesn't count.
Vincent Pietrafesa: Yeah, Andrea is so nice, she's like," Oh, that's a good start, that's great." I'm like," For your first book, it's not my first book." But here's my question. My question is, part of the goal is success measured on obviously how many people buy the book but also getting on that New York Times Best Seller, is that like an accomplishment? It is but is that also like, all right, we're doing our thing here. I just don't know.
Andrea Jo DeWerd: Yeah. Vincent, that really is the gold standard. The New York Times list comes out every Wednesday night so, publishers are sitting at their desk on like Wednesday at 5: 00 PM waiting for the list. There's always someone assigned to call the author and let them know where they hit on the list. It is a big deal. And I hadn't really thought about it recently. We had an author, Pati Jinich who had her third cookbook out in October, Treasures Of The Mexican Table and she hit the New York Times list for the first time ever in her career and she was asking us about this, she's like," How big of a deal is it?" I was like," I was doing the math," and I'm like," Okay, of the books that my team works on, we have maybe 10 or 15% of our books that we work on hit the New York Times list every year." So, we have... If that's the mark of the number one gold standard, if 10% of our books hit the list, that's pretty big and it's pretty hard. And I'm so lucky to work at some of the big brands and that we only acquire the big authors, so we have a better shot of hitting the list than other brands and other houses, we have the money to put behind our campaigns and Pati put it so nicely. So, she's like" So, you only work on the really good books, right?" And I'm like,"Yes, that is correct." So yeah, it's really challenging and the list is depending... There's different categories, there's fiction and non- fiction, there's paperback. So, there's either 10 slots or 15 slots each week, it changes each week. But the list is a real... It's a true algorithmic-
Vincent Pietrafesa: Wow.
Andrea Jo DeWerd: ...reflection of sales and consumer demand. There is a secret algorithm, no one really knows the New York Times' formula for its determining how they weigh Amazon sales differently than Barnes and Noble sales and independent book sellers' sales. We don't know the exact formula, we can guess at it, but it is a true marketplace reflection and it's the closest thing we have to really gauging that. There are others, The Wall Street Journal's bestseller list is really important for our business authors. So, when I work on business books, I work with Marc Benioff of Salesforce. He was number one on the Wall Street Journal list and he also hit the New York Times list but that Wall Street Journal list was more important for his staying power in the business audience. There are regional independent book seller lists for each. There's, I think, seven independent book seller regions. So, there are different that are important for different reasons, but New York Times is our gold standard.
Vincent Pietrafesa: Wow.
Andrea Jo DeWerd: Me personally, I also know I've made it with a book campaign when my mom and her suburban ladies are talking about it in their Pilates class, in inaudible when a couple years ago she's like," Have you heard of this book by Trevor Noah?" And I'm like," Yes, mother. I have."
Vincent Pietrafesa: Worked on that mom, yeah.
Andrea Jo DeWerd: I'm aware.
Vincent Pietrafesa: I love it. So, the New York Times' gold standard and mom's Pilates group, that's it. That's what you want to go for. I love it. Could see. So, it was like I was... Thank you for answering that for me because I was wondering. I was like,"This is a silly question I'm about to ask." But thank you. Andrea, let's get back to something because you said about the rebrand. That is exciting but also could be nerve wracking, I would imagine as well. Can we explore that a little bit? Because I would imagine I'm thinking of our listeners going, oh wait, we're doing a rebrand too. Let's get Andrea's take on that. What's involved there? How's that going? What are some of the steps that you have to take? I'd love to get your opinion on that.
Andrea Jo DeWerd: It is a whole lot of chicken and egg. We were working on a name for a lot of the fall. Our editor in cheif, her one demand was that our name inaudible is something that anyone could ever make fun of. So, no silly names and so we had a lot of brainstorming and now we're on the logo phase and same standard, nothing that anyone can make fun of. So, yesterday I was doing research on all of the logo redesigns last year that the internet destroyed and just ripped apart, there were some notoriously really bad ones last year. I won't name names, but there were some bad redesigns. So, we're looking at logos hoping to have something by next week so it's really a crush on our in- house graphic design team. We are looking to our in- house designers who also do our covers of our books. That will be who is doing our logo and one of the things we had to talk about is where we're using it. Besides appearing on the spines of the books, it will also have to appear in a square and circle and vertical and horizontal format for different uses for social media, some things that maybe my publisher wasn't thinking about, but the marketing team has to think about and how will it look on merch. I want tote bags to send out to our agents. In publishing, whenever you have lunch, whoever you're meeting with, you always bring them a bag of books. So, every agent and editor will have Harvest tote bag and they'll bring a bag of books to their lunches whenever we can have work lunches again. So we're already thinking about swag bags and that makes me think about influencers. So, ll these things are rolling at the same time. I have a running list with the marketing team of what needs to happen. So, as soon as we have a logo, my next step then is I need the mission statement. The mission statement then will determine social media bios and other such things that need to be updated. I think we will probably soft launch and change our social handles and bios before we make our trade announcement. Like I said, I have announced it here today because it is public on Amazon, it is feeding in our metadata, we did make a metadata update already. We are rolling this out, we have authors who are already like," My book says Harvest on Amazon." And we're like," Yes, that's correct." So, it is a tiered launch before we make our big trade announcement, before we make our media announcement. So, then I think probably later this spring, we'll do a full like influencer reveal of like packages of books and swag and things sent out to our influencer list. I didn't talk about this earlier, but influencers are really important to our overall marketing strategy. We have a huge organic influencer program, we have about 700 influencers that we've just homegrown that we have close relationships with. I want those to be some of the first folks to get like their Harvest swag and know the fall Harvest cookbook line up and be ready to start talking about and promoting our books and tagging our new or handles. So, that is probably one of the last steps when we're more buttoned up and have our printed materials and things ready to go. But there are a lot of steps in here and I'm getting from A to B and everything is happening at once. There's a lot of legal review in here too, legal had to review the name and the trademarks. Legal was asking," Are you going to be using the name on printed and digital materials?" And I'm like," Yes, the name will be used on digital material." That one surprised me, I'm like," Come on legal." So, lots of legal review at every step, they have to approve the logo, those kind of things. So, there's definitely more checks and balances than I think any of us ever would imagine.
Ajay Gupta: Andrea, a little bit of a lighter question, which is one of our staples. So, I'm sure with your title and where you work, you get a lot of LinkedIn messages. Are there some... What are some that stand out to you? And the one we're really interested in, what are some that really annoy you?
Andrea Jo DeWerd: Let me start there.
Vincent Pietrafesa: People usually do. They're like," Let me tell you what annoys me."
Andrea Jo DeWerd: I should say, I love LinkedIn, I'm an avid user, I'm definitely a super user, I've used it for recruiting. When I get pitches on LinkedIn, I am shocked how bad they are sometimes. I changed jobs during the pandemic, one week into the pandemic. I left Random House on, I think, March 10th, 2020, and went to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and then like I said, HMH was acquired by HarperCollins. So, I've made a lot of moves in the remote work environment. So, I was shocked when I started getting these messages on LinkedIn saying," I sent you a package at your office at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt." And I'm like," I don't have an office at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, I've never set foot in the building. I've only been a remote employee for my entire time here, thank you for doing your research." Or people would say," I left you a voicemail on your HMH phone." I'm like," I don't have an HMH phone, I was never given one." So, a lot of these people trying to say, I already tried to reach out to you and I'm like," That is literally impossible, you could not have done that." Those were the ones that really bothered me in the last year. But I love LinkedIn. I guess, I don't really have answers for what pitches I like to get, but I'll tell you what's worked for me. I've used it a lot for recruiting and I have sent a lot of messages to folks saying, hey, are you interested in X, Y, Z kind of opportunity? Are you a lifelong learner and team player? Are you looking to make a career move? And I've hired three people from cold LinkedIn messages where I've done my own recruiting and those three people are still in the HarperCollins organization and wonderful additions to our team and they took a chance on me for sending a cold LinkedIn message and I really appreciate that. So, hopefully my LinkedIn stocking has not been too creepy in the past.
Ajay Gupta: Hey, that's actually great. So, as we have gotten bigger, 100 plus employees, we've had to pay recruitment fees now because we're running out of people in our network and I'm going to ask our managers to start pitching themselves because those recruitment fees are pretty high.
Andrea Jo DeWerd: Totally. Yeah, it's been great.
Ajay Gupta: So, speaking of recruitment, a lot of people that watch our podcast are younger marketing professionals, so would love to have you give some advice or for people starting out or even people in college, what's the good way of getting into marketing, what are some of the skills you think they need?
Andrea Jo DeWerd: Right now especially, I think everyone's struggling with burnout. I think balance is really important and this is something I think young folks in marketing don't learn for a couple years in their career. So, I think it takes almost a more, it's a more senior eye, it's a more skilled eye to look at your to- do list and really evaluate what's important and what's not important. I think it can actually look more junior if you are hustling to do every last possible thing you can do for a campaign instead of doing the three most important things. So, I've started to see this with my team and we really try to focus on what are the three needle moving activities or what are the five needle moving activities. But I don't need to see you pitching every last possible outlet if there's not going to be any payoff. I want to see my team evaluating, is this worth it? And that shows senior level critical thinking, strategic marketing thinking to know that you have thought about this activity. Is this activity going to sell books? Is this activity going to be a valuable marketing activity before you just go ahead and do it for the sake of doing it or because it's something that we've always done because someone said we had to a year ago, but is it something we still need to do? So, I think that's valuable for anyone in any position or anyone in any marketing role, are the things on your to- do list things that are actually adding value to your product or your campaign or your launch or are you doing them because you've always done them? And for marketers, it's for you too, it's to save your sanity it's to save your to- do list. So, I'm going to recommend a book again. I highly recommend the book," Do Less" by Kate Northrup. She's actually launching a book club this week. I don't publish her, she's published by Hay House, I believe, but I'm just a huge fan and she has really taught me and I've recommended for my team as well, how to prioritize your time and really think about the 20% of your work or marketing activities that contribute to the 80% of your bottom line. So, I love that rule and it's really changed the way I think about my time and so I'm trying to evangelize that message, think about what's needle moving and what can we just not do anymore?
Vincent Pietrafesa: And Andrea, we appreciate you naming books because that's a segment that we get to as well, like what are you watching, what books out there? And we hear from people not in publishing about that and some of the feedback we get from our listeners who are like, oh, I bought that book, thank you. And that's the ultimate for us here at The Marketing Stir, hearing that feedback from people. Andrea, we're almost out of time, but speaking of books, I want to talk about, I remember talking to you that you're working on a book and let's talk about that. Tell me about that, how it's going, I want to get that out there for... You've been talking about other books, let's talk about yours.
Andrea Jo DeWerd: Thank you. So, it's not marketing related, it's not business related, I have written a book just completely for fun. I have written a novel that is tentatively titled" Everyday Magic" although this week, I was emailing with my agent about maybe changing the title. So, as I say this, we were throwing around some other titles. I am in last revisions right now. So, hypothetically we are going to be trying to sell my book to a publishing house this year and I will be coming at it from the other side. It's a coming of age novel about a family of witches, it's a mother, daughter and grandmother and the daughter is learning to take over the family business from her mother and grandmother and it's also a universal story of if you want to forge your own path or step into the family expectations that are being put upon you and family responsibility. Do you go your own way or do you do what your family expects of you? So, it's been just a really fun side project for me. I write in the mornings before work and it's really helped me connect to my authors and see their side of things. So, that is one of my side projects and I am also, because you can't have enough side projects, I'm also launching an international writing retreat this year called MADonna Writing Retreats.
Vincent Pietrafesa: Lovely.
Andrea Jo DeWerd: Applications are opening on January 24th and we'll be taking a group of 10 writers to Barcelona in June 2022. So, watch my social media. I'm @ ajdewerd on social and we'll be announcing the application shortly to take some folks to Barcelona to learn how to plot and set up your novel if you want to write a book but have never figured out how, we'll be taking you through that in the Mediterranean.
Vincent Pietrafesa: I love it. Yeah, I know that you do that. I know that you love educating young professionals just getting started, so we really do love that and appreciate that. I can't wait for your novel to come out. Andrea, this has been amazing. Thank you so much for your time, we really appreciate it. That is Andrea DeWerd, the senior director of marketing Mariner Lifestyle, soon to be Harvest at HarperCollins Publishers. I'm Vincent Pietrafesa, that's Ajay Gupta, this has been The Marketing Stir. Thank you so much for listening, thank you, Andrea, thank you all, we'll talk to you soon.
Ben: Thanks for listening to The Marketing Stir Podcast by Stirista, please like great and subscribe. If you're interested in being a guest on the podcast, please email us at themarketingstir @ stirista. com and thanks for listening.
Vincent and Ajay chat with Andrea Jo DeWerd, Senior Director of Marketing at Mariner Lifestyle at Harper Collins. She talks about how reaching and understanding readers is an important start to marketing published books. Vincent stays away from sneezing folks on the elevator, and Ajay meets a friend for breakfast.