I’m delighted to welcome Kate Beaton to the blog today to talk all things marketing. She is an amazing person – one who feels things deeply with a huge gift of empathy, and one whose passion to connect readers with great Christian content has shaped much of her professional life. At the end of the year, she moved from Authentic Media to a position at World Vision, where she’s exercising her skills in a slightly different area – but still focused on connecting people with great ideas and causes. Join me in finding out more about her heartbeat behind how she spends her days.
ABP: Tell us a bit about yourself, Kate. How did your interest in marketing develop?
KB: I’m Chaos Manager at my home which I’m blessed to share with two children, aged 3 and 7, and my husband Kenny, a louder-than-life 6’1 Scot who works in the local prison where he brings light and life. We’re part of the congregation at Stony Stratford Community Church.
My publishing adventure began 18 years ago when I left the tranquility of East Devon for Milton Keynes, knowing only one person in my soon-to-be home but having a very clear sense of God going before me.
My interest in marketing has always been about people. I have always loved connecting people with others and sharing ideas. For me, marketing is about connections and adding value to people’s lives through great products, which in the world of Christian publishing has been a dream and a privilege.
ABP: I knew of you when I worked at Zondervan and you were at Authentic Media – I remember thinking that you were a firecracker of a marketer, and I was secretly jealous of Authentic and your work there. Imagine my surprise when we were reunited to work together later at Authentic! Tell us about your work at Authentic and then Scripture Union and then Authentic again.
KB: Funny that you say that as I remember thinking the same of you! I came to work at Word Entertainment selling advertising space in Premier Magazine and then moved in to a Marketing and PR role. One of the stand-out campaigns I remember was lead singer of Irish group Clannad, Maire Brennan’s album ‘Perfect Time’. I then moved into the role of Marketing Manager and was with Authentic until my role was made redundant in 2007. That was a tough time and a stark reminder that who we are as people is more important than the job titles we do or don’t have.
I moved on to Scripture Union where I had the joy of being involved in the launch of their digital suite of products, WordLive and LightLive and their strong portfolio of published products. I loved being part of a mission organization full of gifted passionate people and was there for over 6 years before Authentic came knocking on my door!
ABP: I’d love to hear more from you about what is behind what you do in marketing. What do you hope to achieve?
KB: For me, relationship is at the heart of marketing. That is, knowing the audience you seek to serve in terms of their needs and communicating the benefits that your product will provide. In an increasingly noisy world where the average person is said to be exposed to over 350 marketing messages a day, it’s sometimes really tough to get your message heard. But the old advertising mnemonic AIDA is still relevant: build Attention of a product, capture Interest, create Desire, lead to Action.
The marketing process follows through from the inspiration and work of the author as we the publisher seek to build their voice to connect with the type of reader they had in mind. Of course, the author has to be a part of the marketing effort to deliver this.
At the heart of any good marketing campaign is a great product, and we are privileged to work in shaping campaigns that have already been inspired by the Holy Spirit as writers and artists have tuned in to God and what he is asking them to craft and create.
I’m sure many authors can relate that golden moment when they hear from a reader about the positive impact that their book has made in the reader’s life. We serve the ultimate Creator so it’s fantastic to be involved in a process which has creativity at its heart (and if you want to be inspired about releasing your creativity, watch this great poem written and performed by Fusion’s effervescent Miriam Swaffield).
ABP: I was touched at my book launch how you saw potential in CutiePyeGirl to be a marketer someday. What qualities does someone need to be successful? What sorts of things did you see in her? (She now insists on creating any book tower wherever I go when selling my book – and she does so very well, under your tutelage!)
KB: Your second question first! In CutiePyeGirl I saw a gregarious, confident, people-loving girl who wanted to help shape a fantastic book-launch experience for all involved. Her creative spark was plain to see and her instant engagement with the building of the book tower was lovely to watch. All the natural ingredients of a marketer-in-the-making (which may answer your first question)! I wanted to verbalize what I saw to encourage her, as I know how powerful a well-placed God-inspired word can be for us all, whatever age we are.
ABP: Many authors are disgruntled with their publishers, saying that they don’t get enough attention (not a complaint, mind you, that I would lodge). Why do authors need to be so involved in spreading the word today? What advice would you give to authors?
KB: In this noisier, digital world we are closer to each other. And people are searching for authenticity and truth. The author’s voice is powerful and readers develop a relationship with an author through reading their words. And these days people expect to be able to have – if they want it – interaction with writers and speakers, whether that is to follow their blog posts or tweets or watch their videos.
People follow people so at Authentic we have been working with our authors to help with this process as best we can. I understand that it can be scary for authors to see themselves as marketers, but when a book is published, that really is Day 1 of its life. There comes a lot of hard graft after that!
It’s not a question of having to be all things to all people, but it is a challenge to see how what you have carefully crafted in the pages of your book can be ‘repackaged’ and served up to add value to people’s lives across multiple platforms, including TV, radio, speaking engagements and last but not least social media which is where many of us spend time looking for inspiring content. Publishers will help you do this as they have a vested interest to do so!
So think about your target reader and how you can engage with them and continue to add value to their lives in a time-bound realistic way for you; perhaps that’s blogging once a week about a topic that you are passionate about and relates back to your book. Remember this isn’t about meaningless, soul-less marketing; it’s about relationship building, understanding your reader who is closer than ever before and bringing the message that God has given you and giving it away to others for his glory.
ABP: Your time at Authentic is ending as you move to World Vision. I hear you’re passionate about this new venture; please share with us what you’ll be doing and what you hope to be able to achieve.
KB: Milton Keynes is home to many Christian charities. World Vision is an organization I’ve always deeply admired in terms of their work in child sponsorship, community development and disaster response. I know a lot of fantastic people who work there.
I will be joining the Supporter Experience team who connect with World Vision child sponsors and seek to enrich the relationship they have with their sponsored child through relevant timely communication. I’m looking forward to being part of a large marketing team and hope to be able to help World Vision grow its impact and awareness in the UK through child sponsorship. Ultimately it’s about God’s people using the resources we have to answer the call to bring about God’s will on earth as in heaven; sharing our resources and praying to make it possible to live in a world where every child is free from fear.