Publishers are facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles to remain profitable in these financially unstable times. Added pressures of evolving technology both hinder and help growth. Recently, VISTA International unveiled the results of several years of intensive studies on traditional publishing operations. VISTA doesn't simply challenge publishers to "harness new skills to market new products through new channels," in the study, it offers seven essential strategies for ensuring success.
Information. Many publishers suffer from inefficient and insufficient exchange of information across department boundaries. Even though numerous disciplines within the corporation require access to common information, often that information is created and recreated numerous times. Publishers must create an infrastructure that enables access to an authoritative base of information by those who share a need for it.
Customers. It's no longer a matter of knowing your customers; your publishing organization must understand them, too. Customers should be managed as a "market of one." Their behavior must be tracked, and their interests must be fed. Publishers should then manipulate the rich data compiled and provided to those within the organization who need it to drive sales.
Managing the bits and pieces. The more content manifests in multiple form, it is increasingly vital that publishers learn to manage product and rights information throughout the entire organization and into the supply chain. For example, a publisher should be able to identify, describe, process and report on the many different content formats that exist—from hardcover and paperback books to e-books, DVDs, product fragments purchased via the Web, and so on.
Feeling like one of the gang. When distributing content via the Web, VISTA reports that consumers tend to appreciate centralized sources for downloads rather than bookmarking a long list of individual publishers' URLs. But choose your partners wisely, though, for consumers will also better appreciate sites that are flexible and able to meet personal browsing and buying needs.