Friday, December 23, 2011

Book F***ed

Vete and Candi are sitting across the table. Part of the conversation and few questions have already taken place. Coming to the crucial part.

Vete: Take a book launch. Say a writer has already written the book and now you have to launch it. How will you market it? Give me a step-by-step approach. Take a few minutes if you want.

Vete leaves the chamber. Candi is thinking.

5 odd minutes pass by. Vete comes back.

Vete: So, tell me what is the approach?

Candi: I would ask the writer what did he think of while writing the book. Whom did he write for? What are the special points? Which genre does it fall into? What makes it different from other books around?

Vete: No! First you go to the customers and ask them what is their need. First you find out what is the need in the market.

Candi: But the writer has already written the book. He would have something in his mind. He would have written it for someone. He can tell us what 'need' is he addressing...

Candi wanted to continue. Had he continued, he would have said, since the book is already written perhaps talking to the writer might pre-empt the need to go to the consumers and ask their needs. If the book weren't written already, perhaps going to the consumers would be the ideal start...

But of course, Vete cut his answer short.

Vete: Candi, I can take you as a Marketing Trainee. You aren't fit yet to be a Marketing Manager.

Candi: Thank you Sir. I am here to do business. Hopefully, we'll meet again and do business sometime.

Candi felt embarrassed. A little flummoxed and amused too. For a moment, all study, theoretical frameworks and stuff went for a complete toss.

This happened in late 2007. Candi was me. Vete was a marketing veteran, I was informed, who came from a big Indian FMCG company, and had joined this new outfit where I went for the interview. I could say he was above 55 or so surely. His hair was white and he had an air of super-seniority about him.

So, how would you launch and market a book?