JUST RELEASED: Book Aimed At Changing the Way Manufacturers Reach Shoppers

Fayetteville Authors And Entrepreneurs Release New Book: MARKENDISING

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark., March 9, 2016 – Alex Ahmad and Eric Howerton today released their first book, MARKENDISING, an in-depth study of the relationships between manufacturers and shoppers and the changing dynamics in interactions between the two. Ahmad and Howerton explore the dynamics Millennials bring to the world of online and in-store shopping, and provide a fresh take on how manufacturers and retailers can adapt to effectively capture this growing shopper market.

The book, currently available at markendising.com and Amazon.com, is an important tool for any marketer or merchandiser looking to find a competitive advantage in the fast paced world of e-commerce.

“Manufacturers in retail environments, in-store or online, need to embrace the importance of data and content to satisfy today’s omnichannel shopper.,” Howerton says, “Today’s shoppers must be addressed with data and content in a world of constantly evolving technology and consumption opportunities.”

The ultimate solution according to the authors in MARKENDISING is the “Mega SKU,” or a product detail page that tells the full story of a product.  The “Mega SKU” differentiates from today’s product pages on most major retailer sites by providing up to 95 percent more data and content that omnichannel shoppers use to make purchasing decisions. Using this approach allows a shopper to learn more about a product from their home computer or mobile device without the need to seek out the expertise of in-store personnel, thereby streamlining the shopping process.

In addition to providing shoppers with a fuller information picture about a product, the “Mega SKU” approach outlined in MARKENDISING also provides the benefit of search engine optimization, which leads targeted shoppers directly to products faster, eliminating research time and enhancing the likelihood of purchase.

“People don’t want ads when they are at the critical moment of a transaction,” says Ahmad. “They want credible and useful information.  That’s what MARKENDISING is all about.”

MARKENDISING is available in both print ($14.99) and digital ($11.99) formats on www.Markendising.comAmazon and soon to be released on iTunes and Google Play.


Photoshop for Layout? Whaaa!

How to distinguish Adobe design software programs

When working with the Adobe Creative suite programs it is important to remember that not all jobs can be done in one single program.

Too often designers will become comfortable in one program and try to stretch it’s uses beyond the original design purpose of the program.  Adobe InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop each come with a unique use for designers to build a publication.

“I like each of these programs based on the applications they were designed for,” said Eric Howerton, CEO of WhyteSpyder, a full-service, integrated content marketing agency in Fayetteville, Ark.

InDesign is built for creative layout. Designers can use this program to layout multiple pages of content and integrate the text and visual elements of the publication into one over-all design.

Photoshop is used for touching up or clipping photographs to be added to the design at a later time.

“Photoshop says it right in the name, it is for work-shopping photographs,” Howerton said.

Illustrator also has the purpose added to the name of the program. Within Illustrator users can focus on graphic-based designs. Most artists like this program because it gives them more creative control of logos or any line graphic designs. Illustrator and Photoshop are not design layout programs like InDesign.

Sometimes designers will work to their strengths by using the program they are most comfortable with to do all the design and lay-out work.

It is important for designers to be a “jack of all trades” when it comes to Adobe design software.

All of these programs work together as tools in a designer’s work belt to build a strong structure that clearly articulates the message of a publication.

“The text is important and all the visuals can help tell a story, but too often designers have a vertical rather than horizontal view of design,” Howerton said. “It is important to take a step back and look at the work.”

Publishing Distribution Series - Part 1

Top 3 Distribution Methods – And Why They Matter!

When it comes to subscriber-based publishing, whether traditional media or content marketing, distribution is one of the most critical components to success. There are three forms of distribution that are most popular and each has their pros and cons.

Free Distribution

Pros: The most convenient choice of a publisher is free distribution, particularly for content marketers. Free distribution requires less homework, database management and circulation control. For traditional media, this method is particularly beneficial at first glance, as you can have a higher quantity of readership to base advertising rates.

Cons: Content marketers don’t have too many negatives for free distributioin, particulary when readers are subscriber-based. However, for traditional media, it’s really a terrible scenario. The business model for traditional media mostly depends on advertising revenue. Advertisers want to know who the reader is. If distribution is free, especially without subscribers, the readership demographic is difficult to determine. Furthermore, readers have no investment in the media, which lowers the value of each reader, thus reducing cost per thousand of advertising rate base.

Controlled Distribution

Pros: Also known as “controlled circulation”, this form of distribution allows content marketers and traditional media to have a direct understanding of who exactly their audience is, whether or not the publication is free or paid. Subscribers are typically provided the media because they fit within specific criteria. For example, a trucking trade magazine is only delivered to directors of commercial trucking fleets and not to automobile mechanics. An added value to controlled distribution is called “requested”, which simply means the reader is not only “qualified” to receive the media, but has also specifically requested to receive the media. In tradional media, this is a big plus, which raises the advertising rate base significantly vs. free distrbituion. Advertisers know the audience has a professional or personal connection to the media and will acutally read the content.

Cons: This form of distribution requires professional, ongoing databse management. Don’t try this at home folks! Also, for traditional media or for content marketers that are offsetting production costs with advertising, third-party audits are typically involved. Audits are time-consuming and expensive, and have a punishing frequency (usually twice per year) that requires publishers to submit reports, statements and records to prove controlled distribution. Did I mention this is exhausting?

Paid Distribution

Pros: By far the best for distribution, paid subscribers are the diamond in the publishing industry. Every publisher wants them, and wants more of them. Why? Because paid subscribers have made an investment to receive your content. Very simple. It really doesn’t matter if you pay $1 or $50, a reader’s investment into your content amplifies engagement and has a longer shelf-life. Also, and sorry to all free distribution publishers, “pass-along readership” makes some sort of sense with paid distribution vs. free. Another benefit is a healthy database of readers with excellent data hygiene. Finally, there is some revenue to help offset some distribution costs, but, don’t get too excited, usually not enough to implement a business model.

Cons: Intensity all the way around. Constant renewal programs, constant bookeeping and constant pressure to perform better and better. There’s also plenty of expense to facilitate transactions. One of the most intense aspects is since readers have paid for their subscription, you had better come through on every promise made – you’re messing with their money now.

These are just a few examples of distribution methods. There are more, and there are many variations of the methods mentioned above. Before you run off and start publishing anything, you should seriously consider your distribution methods. Distribution is something that is there in the beginning and will be there in the end and it is not something that can easily be changed.

What distribution method do you think is best for your content marketing? For your traditional media? We would love to hear your thoughts.