ABA All-Day Education Program at BEA Offers Comprehensive Marketing Strategies

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Independent booksellers planning to attend BookExpo America (June 3 - 6 in Chicago) are encouraged to attend ABA's All-Day Education Program, a full day of panels and seminars designed specifically for them. The program is set for Thursday, June 3, from 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. at the McCormick Place Convention Center and is free to all ABA member bookstores and their employees who register for BEA. (Booksellers must indicate on the BEA registration form that they are ABA members, and they must register for the all-day program. For more about the new BEA Super Pass, click here.)

Since ABA's daylong bookseller education programming debuted at BEA in New York City in 2002, the panels and seminars have been extremely well received.

This year, the focus will be on how booksellers can attract more customers, and increase profits and revenue through effective marketing. In addition, afternoon sessions will be offered twice -- at 1:45 p.m. and again at 3:15 p.m.

The day will kick off with the "Marketing Plenary" session, from 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m., in Room N426A/B, hosted by the "father of Guerrilla Marketing," Jay Conrad Levinson. Levinson is the author of the bestselling marketing series Guerrilla Marketing (Houghton), plus 24 other business books that have sold over 14 million copies and have been translated into 37 languages. In this special opening session, Levinson will share some of the keys to maximizing a business' success with low-cost, high-impact strategies. Levinson's concepts revolutionized small business marketing and have become so influential that his books are required reading in many MBA programs. At this session, bestselling author Seth Godin will join Levinson. Godin's books Permission Marketing (S&S), Unleashing the Ideavirus (Hyperion), and Purple Cow (Portfolio) have been among the bestselling marketing books of the last decade.

Afterwards, there will be two concurrent marketing sessions running from 10:15 a.m. until noon:

  • Marketing 101: Creating a Marketing Plan, in Room 402A, and
  • Marketing 201: Supercharge Your Current Marketing Efforts, in Room 402B

Marketing 101 will provide booksellers from stores of all sizes and specialties with useful ideas and easy ways to implement strategies for creating a marketing plan. The speaker for the session is Jeffrey J. Fox, author of How to Make Big Money in Your Own Small Business: Unexpected Rules Every Small Business Owner Needs to Know (Hyperion).

In Marketing 201, experts will detail how booksellers can get their message through to the right people, and what that message should be. There will also be a discussion about the ways in which booksellers can dramatically increase sales without spending a lot of money, and why implementing a successful marketing plan requires research, communication, and feedback in order to spend promotional dollars more efficiently, increase sales, and drive book buyers to a store. In this session, bestselling marketing pro Godin, whose new title, Free Prize Inside, will be published in May by Portfolio, will describe five easy and quick ways for booksellers to dramatically increase sales and set their bookstore apart from the rest. Michael Hoynes, former ABA chief marketing officer, will moderate the session.

From 10:30 a.m. - noon, and then reconvening from 1:45 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. in Room S106 will be the "Large Store Roundtable." This is the annual opportunity for owners and managers of large stores to get together and discuss common issues. Booksellers are encouraged to suggest topics and/or help in the planning of this meeting by contacting Gayle Shanks of Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, Arizona [(480) 730-1142; fax (480) 730-1196; e-mail: gayleshanks@msn.com] or Carla Cohen of Politics & Prose Books & Coffee in Washington, D.C. [(202) 364-3327; fax: (202) 363-7793; e-mail: carlacohen@mindspring.com].

Following the roundtable is the second annual "What Are You Reading?" lunch, held from 12:15 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. in Room N426A/B/C. Extremely popular last year, this event allows booksellers to have a sit-down lunch and discuss books. At each meeting of the ABA Board, one lunch is set aside for Board members to talk about great books they've recently read -- always a highlight of the board meeting. This BEA lunch affords all booksellers in attendance the same opportunity.

Each of the following five sessions will be offered twice -- allowing booksellers to attend two sessions -- from 1:45 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. and from 3:15 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

  • Forming Independent Business Alliances in Your Community, Room 402A. Booksellers and other independent businesses across the country are working together and forming local business alliances designed to promote the ever-growing importance of locally owned independent businesses to the economic stability of their communities. Booksellers are encouraged to attend and hear from representatives of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) and several independent booksellers who have been in the forefront of creating such alliances in their towns and cities. Oren Teicher, ABA COO, will moderate this session.
  • Identify Competition & Self-Evaluation: A Method to Conduct the Analysis, Room 402B. ABA CEO Avin Mark Domnitz will moderate this session that will help booksellers identify possible competitors and their impact on a bookstore's business. After identifying the competition, booksellers need a method of analyzing their business to see how they measure up.
  • Succession Planning: Employee Buyouts, Room 404A. Whether it's a bookstore owner hoping to sell his or her store to employees, or a bookstore employee hoping to buy the store, this session will feature real-life examples where both scenarios have successfully taken place.
  • Focused Small Store Issues, Room 404B/C. Stores that are small in square footage and resources may have all the same problems as their bigger brethren, but finding time and information to better their businesses can be challenging. ABA small store members have set the agenda for this seminar, which will cover issues of inventory management, stocking and ordering, time management, and choosing a POS system, plus much more. A prominent panel of bookseller moderators will lead the discussion.
  • Inventory Management, Room 404D. In this entertaining, yet extremely informative session, booksellers will hear how to effectively measure and monitor their store's inventory. They will be challenged to look at how they're currently doing business, compare it to some proven industry best practices, and determine which practices they may need to adopt in order to maximize success and improve the bottom line. Bob Steele, a professional speaker and business consultant, will moderate this session.

In addition, on Thursday afternoon will be the "College Store Idea Exchange and Roundtable" and educational programming for Children's Booksellers.

The "College Store Idea Exchange & Roundtable," from 1:45 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. in Room S105B/C, will focus on proven strategies that can help college stores become an even more valuable community resource, both on and off the campus. Presentations and discussions will include the following: success with remainders, campus and community events and initiatives, inventory selection, and marketing and merchandising tips. (Booksellers with ideas to suggest should contact Cindy Thompson (cthompson@nacs.org) at the National Association of College Stores.)

"An Afternoon of Educational Programming for Children's Booksellers" will be held from 2:00 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. in Room S105A. This program, which is co-sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, Association of Booksellers for Children, and the Children's Book Council Children's Booksellers and Publishers Committee, will feature Newbery Medal-winning Linda Sue Park (Clarion Books) and the return of the Children's Book Buzz Workshop at which editors and marketing staff from a variety of publishing houses present exciting new titles in small roundtable sessions.

For more about ABA programming at BEA, click here.

The BEA Event Program and Registration Form will arrive in booksellers' mailboxes the week of April 13, and information is posted daily on BEA's Web site, www.bookexpoamerica.com. Booksellers must register for BEA as an "ABA Bookstore Member" and must include their ABA ID number in order to be eligible for unlimited access to all ABA and BEA educational programming.