Marketing involves the “4 P’s” – Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. A marketing plan looks at everything from the appropriateness of the Product for its market (target markets, competition, quality of the product, production values, etc.), how it is Priced in the market (low-cost leader, price leader, value play, etc.), where it will be sold (Place) which for books is mostly about what types of distribution and outlets will be used, and finally Promotion – which people usually think of as “marketing” but you can now see, it is only one piece of marketing.
In big companies the marketing department sets the strategies and direction for the product or product line, then other parts of the company implement those strategies – sales, PR, communications, etc. As small presses, we do it all, but that doesn’t make it any less important to think about how all of these pieces function together.
Promotion is made up of two major components in the book industry (well, any industry actually) – push and pull marketing – and again, you need to do both. Push marketing is “trade” marketing – getting your potential distribution partners interested in carrying your book – this can be trade reviews, ads in PW, attending BEA, etc. – these are book trade outlets. Pull marketing is what you do once you have your distribution set up – this is internet, broadcast, print and live presentations – things that are targeted towards your potential audience – getting them to go purchase your book. Remember – 7 impressions to make a sale – this is where pull marketing comes in (you pull the sales through the channels). In my opinion, you shouldn’t just focus on internet marketing – it is necessary to be wherever your potential readers are – and getting the word out via print media (newspapers and magazines), broadcast media (TV and radio) and doing live appearances are all valuable pieces of your plan and need to all be pulled into a coordinated effort.
Hopefully, that explains the difference between marketing and promotion.