Kobo’s media play for the holidays

The Toronto-based eBook retailer is making noise this holiday season with a dual-stream media strategy executed in tandem with its majority shareholder, Indigo.

With the e-reader and tablet market heating up this holiday season, Kobo is hoping to endear itself to open-source-technology fans and book lovers alike.

A pure-play mediaco that sells eBooks and e-reading devices, the Toronto-based company has made a flurry of announcements in recent weeks, calling attention to the latest generation of its e-reader, new book bundles and, for the holidays, eBook gift cards sold through its website. All Kobo book products are open-source and can be read on any device, including tablets, smartphones and competing e-readers, a fact that it hopes will appeal to people who don’t want their eBook purchases tied to once device, Marina Glogovac, CMO, Kobo, tells MiC.

Less than a month ago, the company added newspapers and magazines to its product library as well, via single copies or subscriptions.

The company has launched a dual-pronged media strategy to promote its products for this holiday season, which has been forecasted to be a major one for e-readers and tablet computers such as the iPad.

‘The new wireless Kobo is the hottest holiday gift at Indigo and Chapters.indigo.ca and has been widely promoted as being available at Indigo through media relations, in-store kiosks and signage, email blasts and social media, as well as through contesting with Chatelaine.com, Styleathome.com and Sweetspot.ca,’ Janet Eger, director, public relations, Indigo, tells MiC.

Full-page magazine ads have also been placed in seasonal issues of Chatelaine, Canadian Business and More, she adds.

The Kobo-handled media plan is mostly digital, a strategy that has so far been quite successful for the brand, says Glogovac.

‘Everything we’re doing is online,’ she explains. ‘Because we’re a pure-play online company, we really understand this space.’

The online plan includes SEM, ‘which has been doing really well for us,’ ad network buys, ad exchanges, major-portal display buys and mobile ad networks, she says. Kobo is also heavily leveraging its social media properties, and investing in a comprehensive blogger seeding strategy. Campaign graphic design is handled by Evoke Solutions in Toronto, and media is handled in-house.

‘We really have gotten a lot of traction through social media,’ Glogovac explains. ‘I come from the old world of advertising and magazines, and it really amazes me how the world of marketing and PR have changed. The consumer decision cycles are very different and the whole notion of just investing into brand awareness before the point of purchase is really no longer sufficient.’