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  • Pages: 3
  • Word count: 657
  • Category: Marketing

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Harlequin, the successful company produces series romance products was founded in 1949 and had become a symbol representing series romance fiction. The Vice-President of direct marketing, Donna Hayes stated, the demand for single title women’s fiction grow continuously while the demand for series romance remains stable. As the result, the problem Harlequin has is whether or not to launch MIRA, a new line of single-title women’s fiction novels and if so, how to launch it.

Harlequin management is facing the industry turning point and their decision determines whether the company will grow its publishing business or be beaten by its rivals. Harlequin has been applying a packaged, consumer goods strategy since 1968, which means every book was a part of a series that was positioned to certain customers and featuring a particular style. The strategy was evolutional and established Harlequin’s dominancy in series romance industry, most of the publishers tried to enter this sector withdrew. It was difficult to compete since Harlequin was focusing on its niche and developing a retail network for distribution was difficult to new entrants. The one who challenged Harlequin, Simon & Schuster(S&S) was Harlequin’s distributor of its series products in U.S., Harlequin acquired S&S’s serious romance business afterward to avoid further competition.

Consistency in products, orders and sales volume are some of the key values Harlequin carries. The content, length, size, formats and print of Harlequin’s products are well defined to ensure consistency and the company promotes the brand as a whole. As the result readers favour Harlequin novels instead of particular book or author. The consistency of products allows to predict quantities of monthly prints in order to achieve print cost effectiveness.

The management might be hesitate to enter the single title romance industry because of its previous failure and company’s good performance in series romance market. Yet Harlequin only has a 5% market share in women’s fiction market while its has over 80% in series romance market. The amount will keep decreasing since its competitors were entering the single title romance novel market and taking market shares. The Vice President of market research and analysis mentioned that company’s research indicates Harlequin customers read 20 Harlequin books and 20 single-title books from other publishers. After launching MIRA, its royal customers might purchase single-title novels published by Harlequin instead of other publishers, which will let Harlequin take market shares from the other publishers.

Unlike well defined and consistent series romance, single-title romance rely more heavily on author’s skills. As the result, identifying good authors and developing them through partnership would be important for single-title publishers. Some of best-selling authors Harlequin worked with had moved on to writing single-title books, publish their single title products will let them remain loyal to Harlequin.

Single-titles’ advertising and promotion costs will be higher since every single tile needs its marketing plan, and Harlequin is not the dominant player. Yet launching MIRA wouldn’t result in additional indirect overhead cost because the infrastructures were acquired to produce series romance novels. Also, use social networking tools to promote will cost less comparing to traditional ways. In opposite to series novels, distribution of single titles rely heavier on bookstores other than retailers, as a reputable publisher, it would be easier for Harlequin to build distribution networks comparing to new entrants.

In order to serve the increasing demand for single title women’s fiction, take competitors’ market shares and build stronger ties with authors with promising futures. Launching MIRA and signing contracts with talented authors would bring publicity and break through its the dilemma. Costs, distribution network, products, advertisements and even the previous failure of the single tile program can no longer hold MIRA back. Unlike Worldwide, the previous program, MIRA has a clear objective as being a women’s fiction single title program. MIRA will be a single title program re-born from its mistakes, developing domestically and internationally, through time, it will sparkle among Harlequin.

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