This report is aimed at discussing the marketing campaign surrounding the release of such book as Emotion, Identity, and Religion: Hope, Reciprocity, and Otherness, written by Douglas Davies. This work was published by Oxford University Press on 10 March, 2011.
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It is necessary to analyze the target audience of this book or product, the elements of the marketing mix that have been included in its promotion.
Furthermore, it is important for us to discuss the competitive environment of this product and identify those factors which might pose a threat to the commercial success of this publication. Finally, it is necessary to present overall evaluation of the company’s promotion strategies, particularly regarding this book.
The target audience of this book is very difficult to define. Judging from its content, one can argue that it is intended for well-educated people, who major in religious studies, history, or psychology. One may argue that this book will be of the greatest interest to educators or students.
Certainly, it is possible to say that increasing attention to the relationship between religion and culture can contribute to the success of this book among general audience.
But, the main readers of this book can be graduate or post-graduate students, professors of psychology and religious studies, and those scholars, who are doing research in this field.
Apart from that, we can hypothesize that the age of readers will 22 and above since at this age people are more likely to have necessary background knowledge in order to read this work. Finally, we can assume that this book is intended to both male and female readers.
This marketing campaign has several strengths. First of all, we need to speak about brand. Oxford University Press has long been regarded as a leading scholarly publisher which always attempts to offer only the most innovative and well-researched works to the readers.
Secondly, we need to mention that the author of this book Douglas Davies is a well-known expert in religious studies; thus, his opinion will be valued by the readers. Finally, the most important strength is the product itself. The book Emotion, Identity, and Religion Hope, Reciprocity, and Otherness presents a thought-provoking discussion of how religion can shape a person’s identity.
One can identify several essential weaknesses of this item. Judging from the cover of the book, one can hardly deduce its target audience. It is not clear whether it is intended for scholars, majoring in religious studies or for people, who are interested in psychology, anthropology, or sociology.
This lack of focus can undermine commercial performance of this item because prospective readers may not know whether this book will be of any benefit to them. The second weakness is poor use of the brand. The thing is that a potential buyer may not notice the name of the publishing house.
The thing is that readers may be more willing to purchase a book, if they know that it was released by Oxford University Press. Additionally, we need to mention that the publishing house does not provide detailed information about the author.
They should have mentioned that Douglas Davis has written more than 20 books about psychology and sociology of religion. By referring to these books, the publishers would have been able to attract customers, who formerly read the books of this author. These are the major limitations of this publication that we can identify. On the whole, they can significantly reduce the commercial success of this book.
The major opportunity is increasing interest of readers to this topic. Many people (not necessarily professionals) want to understand the similarities and differences between the world’s largest religions and their impact on the identity of people and society, in general.
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Moreover, we should note that religious studies are becoming more and more connected with other disciplines, such as sociology or psychology. This trend can eventually increase the target audience of this title and this factor was definitely taken into account by Oxford University Press.
There are several external factors which downgrade the success of this marketing campaign. First, the topic has already become a subject of numerous books and articles. A great number of books have been written about the impacts of religion in identity and human emotions. Thus, it will be rather difficult for Oxford University Press to pursue product differentiation policy in this competitive environment.
At this point, Oxford University Press does not provide accurate statistical data about the sales rates of this book. However, the figures provided by such websites as Amazon (2010, unpaged) indicate that this book does not perform very well.
Currently, the sales rank of this book is 148,881 (Amazon, 2010, unpaged). This means that there are at least 148,881 books which are selling better than this title. This sales rank indicates that a copy of this book is purchased every one in a week.
Overall, one can say that this work can hardly be called a bestseller. Nonetheless, we need to emphasize the point that at the given moment these numbers are definitive. This book was released only 7 weeks ago and this period of time is not sufficient for conclusive evaluation.
Market research conducted by the company
One can assume that Oxford University Press carried out in-depth research of the market prior to the publication of this item. First of all, they determine the extent to which this topic has been examined and discussed in scholarly works and identifies the major books that were previously published. Secondly, they determined if this book by Douglas Davies would enjoy demand among the prospective readers.
This book has been launched into a very competitive environment. As it has been said before, there are numerous books, dedicated to this topic. For instance, we can mention the book called Religion and Identity, written by Patrick O’Sullivan (2001) or the work by Sean Oliver-Dee (2009) called Religion and Identify: divided loyalties?
Moreover, there are thousands of books which can be indirectly related to this question. The majority of them belong to the domain of religious studies. Nonetheless, there are several characteristics of this product which can contribute to its success.
Such brand as Oxford University Press has always been regarded as a paragon of academic excellence, and this perception can affect the purchasing decisions of the readers. Another difficulty which must not be overlooked is the dissemination of news about this book.
Douglas Davies’ book can enjoy demand among readers only if it will be of interest to scholars and teachers. If this book will be used in educational institutions, the demand for it will eventually rise. These are the main external factors that can affect the financial performance of this item.
At this point, it is necessary for us to show how different elements of the marketing mix can be applied to this particular title; in particular, we need to speak about the product, price, place and promotion. Prior to the launch of any title, the publisher must insure that the book is affordable to the target audience (Woll & Raccah, 2010).
Secondly, they need to make the product accessible to the customers and a publishing house must have a well-developed distribution network for effective network (Cole, 2004).
Finally, the company has to increase the customers’ awareness about this product. In other words, this people need to know that this work was actually published. Most importantly, the publishers must convince the readers that this book really creates value for them.
Judging from the cover of this title, one can argue that the designers wanted to emphasize the point that this book does tell what exactly the book will be about. Stonehenge servers as a background for the title and this image is familiar to every British readers and it is immediately associated with mystery and secret.
This design is supposed to encourage the potential to read the annotation for the book and look through its contents. This cover aims to show that this book is based on in-depth research undertaken by an authoritative scholar, who can bring innovative and well-grounded ideas.
Yet, the image of Stonehenge is very ambiguous: it may refer to history, cultural studies, or religion studies. The title of this item and its cover do not show to which academic discipline this book is related. The main drawback that we can detect is that the cover does not tell clearly for whom this book is intended. This is one of the major limitations of this product.
Furthermore, we should point out that this book is released in hardcover and paperback. One should bear in mind that hardcover books are more costly, and publishing houses reserve them only for those books or authors whom they expect to be successful.
In contrast, paperbacks are less expensive, and they are suitable for those books which may not be read very often since they are more likely to be damaged. Overall, this format enables the publishing house to reduce the costs of production and allows them to make the price more affordable but at the same time, it is less suitable for extensive reading.
Thus, it is possible to say that Oxford University Press is not quite sure about the commercial success of this book. Certainly, they expect that customers will read this book more than once but they are not certain about it.
One of the details, which attract attention, is poor use of branding. At first glance, one can hardly see that this book was published by Oxford University Press. The brand does not attract the reader’s attention.
At the given moment, the price of this product is £65.00; at least one can purchase this book from the official cite of Oxford University Press. However, one should bear in mind that this work is also available in paperback.
If a customer chooses to buy it in this format; he/she would have to pay £20.00 (Oxford University Press, 2011, unpaged). Thus, we can say that this publishing house attempts to pursue a flexible pricing policy. Additionally, we need to point out that prices for this book have not declined since the time of its publication.
The customers can purchase this product from various sales outlets. First of all, we need to speak about various book stores in the United Kingdom. For instance, one can buy this book at Blackwell’s, Waterstones, Foyles, and so forth.
Secondly, customers can order this work from the official website of Oxford University Press. Secondly, these book can be obtained from a host of online shops such as Amazon, e-Bay, Books-A-Milan, and so forth.
Hence, it is possible for us to say that the publishers have made this book accessible to a large number of customers who may be living not only in the United Kingdom, but in other English-speaking countries as well.
Oxford University Press has taken several steps to increase the customers’ awareness about this book. First of all, its release was immediately announced at different web-based shops such as Amazon, Alibris, Barnes& Noble, Borders, IndieBound or Books-A-Milan.
People, who are searching for information on the Web, especially if they are interested in religion and identity, can run accross this title. Furthermore, the new about the release of this title was released in scientific circles.
For instance, this book was presented in Wolfson Research Institute which is a part of Durham University where Douglas Davis works as a Professor of Religious Studies (Durham University, 2011, unpaged). Furthermore, we need to mention that this book was reviewed by the editors of several newspapers.
Evidence of sales achieved
Although, Oxford University Press has yet to provide financial data about the sales rates of this book, one can say that currently, financial performance of this item leaves much to be desired. In the previous sections, we have mentioned that this book has a very low sale rank, namely 148,881 (Amazon.2011, unpaged).
This figure indicates this book does not enjoy considerable demand among the potential customers. On average, a copy of this book is bought one in a week, and this is not the best result. However, we need to consider that Emotion, Identity, and Religion: Hope, Reciprocity, and Otherness is intended for academic audience and low sales rates are not unusual for academic books.
At this point, it might be too early to judge the commercial success of such book as Emotion, Identity, and Religion Hope, Reciprocity, and Otherness. As it has been said before, it was released only two months before and after a certain amount of time, the situation might change.
The outcomes of this campaign depend on how this work will be received in scholarly circles. However, at this point, the marketing strategies do not bring the expected results.
This can be explained by several factors such as highly competitive environment and increasing number of books, dedicated to this topic.
However, we need to mention that in this case, the marketing mix was not developed properly, namely inadequate promotion and lack of attention to product development. These are the key reasons why this book does not enjoy considerable demand among customers.
Appendixes. Book Description
Title: Emotion, Identity, and Religion: Hope, Reciprocity, and Otherness
Author: Douglas J. Davis.
Publishing House: Oxford University Press.
Publication Date: March 11, 2011
Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
Categories: Comparative religious studies, sociology, Christian Spirituality.
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