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Marketability eBulletin

Welcome to our latest fortnightly eBulletin, posted here on 13 November 2018. In this issue:

Would you go to a lecture if you could watch it online instead?

Lecture capture is now common, and may be a godsend for students unable to attend due to illness or disability, or for those for whom English is not their first language. But if they can (in theory) watch a lecture online at any time, why would any student turn out for the real thing?

A lecturer in international law at the University of Western Australia said that since recording became compulsory ‘One colleague with 150 students enrolled has lectured to 15 students. Three of us have lectured to empty rooms.’

This scenario seems ironic at a time when lecturers are under pressure to deliver contact time as part of the package of value in exchange for those tuition fees.

Read the article for yourself
on the THE website.

Our Academic Marketing Workshop starts by looking at what it’s like to work in higher education today. Only by having some appreciation of this can we hope to ensure that we are developing and marketing content that will be warmly received.


New survey: How to Win Trust and Loyalty

Stop for a moment to think of your own buying habits. What makes you loyal to a brand? Has that changed over time? How persuaded are you to be disloyal if a better offer comes along?

These are questions addressed by a new survey from Pure360 and the DMA (Direct Marketing Association). Whilst it ‘only’ covers retail, personal technology and media/entertainment, the findings are genuinely thought-provoking for anyone trying to increase customer engagement. And that’s all of us, right?

To give you a flavour, here are a few points that resonated with me:

  1. We’re becoming less loyal. We’re absolutely swayed by offers because we’re spoiled for choice.
  2. Consumers can be segmented according to behaviour into: active loyals, habitual loyals, situational loyals, and active disloyals. Understanding that it’s a whole lot more complex than just loyal, neutral or disloyal is really helpful.
  3. Seven drivers of loyalty emerged from this survey, from functional (quality/easy to use, etc) to brand charisma. But the drivers governing decisions differed depending on the nature of the purchase.
  4. Nobody wants loyalty points any more.
  5. Consumers justify their disloyalty partly because they don’t feel that it’s adequately rewarded (and points don’t cut it). This one, to my mind, is REALLY interesting. Could we be prioritising this more in our marketing? After all, we have loads of great quality content and authors, which should mean we can easily and cheaply offer customers something of real value.
Read the survey for yourself. At 23pages and with plenty of visual charts this is a quick read and one which might just jolt you away from thinking about your audiences as job titles and remembering that they’re consumers too.

Our Impressive Marketing Plans on a Small Budget workshop is the place to be if you’d like to explore applying these ideas to publishing.


Product messaging may attract, but it’s microcopy that keeps the conversation going

Think about the experience of being asked for your password on a website. How often do you fail because you can’t remember the password protocol for that site and you’re not being given any clues? If you REALLY want what they’re offering you may ask to reset your password. Otherwise you’ll end the conversation right there, to punish the site owner for wasting your time.

On your website, microcopy is the glue that holds everything together. It’s the messaging that helps guide your customers around, especially when form-filling, and it’s instrumental to delivering positive customer experience.

This is not something we write every day, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore it. If your customers are exposed to it, you should be checking how that feels when they land on your website from your marketing. That means lobbying for change if it’s not up to scratch.

I’ve recently been writing microcopy for a new publishing platform and have loved every minute of it – it’s such a luxury to really pay attention to an area of copy that’s generally unloved.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, here are 8 tips for how to approach it:

  1. Keep it conversational at all times, be personal. Nobody wants to feel they’re being processed by an algorithm.
  2. Avoid nerd-speak at all costs! Your developer will be fluent in this, so be sensitive to the need to translate into plain English.
  3. Ditch all redundant words, space is at a real premium here.
  4. Follow conventions. If there are mainstream websites you know your customers are using, mimic their language/navigational functionality.
  5. Make sure your language is consistent. This is no mean feat when you’ll have loads of similar messaging across your site, but it is essential if you’re to avoid confusion.
  6. Make language as simple as possible for non-native speakers of English.
  7. Write error messages with care, by thinking through what they mean from a customer’s perspective.
  8. Anticipate problems so you can address them really, really well. Nothing frustrates a visitor to your website more than hitting a dead end – eg when they’re told on screen that they’ve been sent an email to confirm, but nothing’s arrived. Addressing this well is the difference between a good and bad customer experience.

If this has made you think your microcopy is due an overhaul, right now I’m the woman who could help! Email me on

Our Copywriting Workshop always includes discussions about microcopy.


On The Marketability Grapevine on Facebook

  • Includes a clever post about etymology/entomology and a very funny ‘thought of the day’ notice by staff at West Hampstead underground station. (‘Stop editing your pics ...’) There are some genius copywriters out there to brighten our days.
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Tip of the week: There is always a positive (and it’s a better use of energy)

We hit setbacks every day, but think of something positive and we can move on. Fixating on the negative puts us in a bad mood and wastes energy. I lost my phone recently, it was my own fault, and it was a pain. But hey, I was due an upgrade I just hadn’t had time to prioritise. Now I could. The next time you’re stuck in a traffic jam and getting stressed, be thankful you’re not in that accident ahead that’s causing it.





Marketability (UK) Ltd

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Tel +44 (0)20 8977 2741