We talked about her newest book, Fit Happens: Analog Buying in a Digital World and the benefits of its publication. Later in the interview, we’re joined by public relations consultant, Margo Myers, who has helped with marketing of the book.
Karen Lynn Maher (KM): Thank you for talking with us today, Marge. Your book, Fit Happens: Analog Buying in a Digital World Shopping, is quite interesting. As I understand it, you help retailers shift their focus from the floor to the fitting room where people make their final buying decisions. What was your purpose behind writing this book?
Marge Laney (ML): I wanted to get noticed. My business had been in transition for a few years. I was trying to do more than just get in front of customers and sell product. I wanted to build a broader audience through social media, Retailwire, blogs and expanded use of the Internet.
KM: What about writing a book intrigued you?
ML: There were a lot of ideas floating around about fitting rooms that really didn’t put the entire picture together. I noticed other subject matter experts were also writing Expert Books ™. I felt a book would be a really good way to expand the conversation about fitting rooms in a more cohesive way.
KM: What prompted you to contact LegacyONE Authors?
ML: A friend of a friend had published a book and was very excited about what you’d done for her. So, BAM! I decided to immediately call you. It was a really great referral.
KM: It’s been a highlight of my professional life working with you on your book. Let’s talk about the problem you had reaching your audience. Who did you want to reach with your books?
ML: Sales associates, really just about anybody involved in retail. Initially, I wanted to be recognized as an expert in the C-Suite of retail. I wanted to highlight our business to retail chief executives since they are the most influential people in a company.
I also developed the belief that a book would be a good vehicle for college students pursuing a retail career because they would be more likely to adopt new and innovative ideas. I want to be a guest lecturer at major universities.
KM: What problems were your target audience experiencing that you wanted to solve?
ML: I actually wanted to help them get people into their stores. Internet shopping was quickly becoming the death of in-store shopping. So I wanted to emphasize the live experience of shopping because that’s how retailers were going to get people into the stores. Rather than limit a shopping experience to sales floors and marketing, my message to retailers was, “retail action is in the fitting room. This is where your real opportunity is – and where you can redeem your money.”
KM: You had an expectation of what the book would do for you. What did it actually do for you?
ML: Honestly, it did exactly what I wanted it to do. Opportunity is growing due to this book. No one’s ever written a book about this subject – and it’s so key to retail. There’s so much going on in fitting rooms – somebody needed to bring that to light. And the attention it’s given me – whoa! It’s only been a year and I’ve sold 1,500 copies. It’s a really good thing.
KM: What about the business results of the book? I know you’ve had three different printings already. Talk about the attention the books have garnered you.
ML: I’ve had attention from trade journals, newspapers, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg and even some interviews from the UK. There’s a lot of highly technical information about fitting rooms out there but my book is very down-to-earth and speaks to what’s actually going on in fitting rooms. Bloomberg was interested in the psychology of fitting room design whereas The Wall Street Journal wanted to talk about specific retailers. The book inspires a lot of different discussions.
KM: Has your book increased business for Alert Technologies?
ML: It’s had a huge impact. It’s driven a lot of traffic to our website. Writing a book someone cares about is the best inbound marketing! One huge retailer even bought 350 books and sent one to each of its district managers and upper-level people. Book-related business has generated millions of dollars for Alert Tech.
KM: Wonderful! You’ve lifted 90 blogs from the book. How else are you repurposing content from it?
ML: We’ve had tremendous traffic from university websites. I am planning to use it as a platform for presentations to universities and colleges.
KM: Marge, public relations consultant Margo Myers has just joined us. Welcome, Margo.
Margo: Thank you. Marge, what was your expectation around public relations for the book and what we were going to do for you? How was the process for you?
ML: I knew the book needed PR, I just didn’t know how to do it. You helped me with public speaking which was really painful for me and the most challenging part of marketing the book.
Margo: What’s been the coolest part of this process for you?
ML: Being on Good Morning America! It was my four seconds of fame!
Margo: How did that impact your credibility with clients and potential clients?
ML: My street credibility has really improved! People tend to run with a winner. I could not have done any this without both of your coaching in writing, publishing and media presence. You laid the foundation – and were very professional in getting the job done.
KM: Of the entire book writing process, what was the most challenging for you?
ML: Doubting myself. I started thinking, “who needs this stuff? Nobody wants to read this. I don’t even want to read this.” I tend to get right to the point. But in a book, you have to add substance and be more concise. It took longer than I thought it would. And you helped drag that information out of me to the finish line. It’s one thig to be an expert in a field. It’s quite another to write about it and put it in a book. Getting the book done was a real highlight for me; it was satisfying on a lot of levels.