It’s the best day of the school year. But the Scholastic Book Fair couldn’t happen without the teachers, school librarians, and parents who run the Fair in their rare free time. So it’s no surprise that one recurring bit of customer feedback is the request to streamline Fair setup and management.
We share our customers’ concerns because we share their mission: Giving every kid the chance to choose their own books and develop a lifelong love of reading. Our secondary objective is raising awareness among our Book Fair Chairs (the grownups who run the Fair) around optional Fair features like online shopping and digital payments. All purchases at the Book Fair benefit the host school, so features that encourage spending serve both Scholastic Book Fairs and our customers.
Scholastic Book Fairs recently overhauled the supporting documentation that we provide to our Chairs. We streamlined processes. We simplified instructions. All the while, we knew that everyone nowadays turns to online videos to build skills or learn cool tricks. To truly empower our Book Fair Chairs, we need to make mastering their role as easy as clicking “play.”
The Book Fairs Marketing Team considered four questions in strategizing these videos: What topics will the videos cover? How will we organize the information in each explainer? How will Chairs find the videos? And what’s the vibe?
On topics, we chose the six most crucial knowledge areas for our Chairs: setting up a Book Fair, maximizing our exclusive currency, using digital payments, mastering the checkout equipment, boosting online shopping, and restocking inventory. These skills are essential to running a successful Fair—and each competency has a bit of a learning curve. Developing confidence in these areas would lead to customer satisfaction, less work for our customer care teams, and additional earnings for schools and Scholastic Book Fairs.
On structuring the explainers, we divided each video into three or more chapters. Viewers can start with the basics or skip ahead to tips for seasoned pros. That way, Book Fair newbies and veterans alike can find what they want to watch. Most chapters are shorter than three minutes. We knew our Chairs might need a last-minute refresher—they might be watching the video about their price scanner while kids stand nearby, books in hand. So we eliminated intros and promotional fluff.
On the online location for the videos, we created a dedicated page on our (colorful, exuberant, and drop-dead-gorgeous) redesigned Book Fairs website. We drove Chairs to the page from our email journey, the start-to-finish outreach sent to hosts of active Fairs, as well as our social channels. And we hosted the video files on a private platform to spare our Chairs from unskippable ads on YouTube. After all, our goal isn’t boosting video views for advertisers, but helping schools run unforgettable Fairs.
On the vibe, we asked the actors in each video to deliver their lines with approachable empathy, addressing our Chairs as peers. From the Book Fairs team to customers, the message is clear: You can do this, and we’re here to help!
We got the video views anyway! Over 167,000 of them, in fact—nearly 4x the total number of Fairs nationwide last year. This remarkable uptake is reflected in the overall engagement score (79.2) for the explainers. For several videos, that score exceeded 90. Since we launched the explainers, the combined viewing time for all videos was 9.5 million seconds. That means, in total, our Chairs spent over 2,600 hours watching.
Data is all well and good, but the results we loved most came in the form of customer feedback. Chairs praised the videos on our social channels. They also complimented the explainers in speaking to their Customer Care representatives, the members of our team responsible for guiding Chairs during their Fairs. There’s obvious overlap between the purpose of the videos and the role of our Customer Care team, who reported spending less time helping Chairs with the topics covered by the videos. In fact, the videos were so helpful that we’re using them to train new Customer Care reps.