Implementing a New Strategy for BISG

Posted By: Brian F. O'Leary Announcements, Leadership,

Opening our 2024 annual meeting, members of the BISG board outlined BISG's strategy for the next three years (2024 - 2026). Core aspects of the four core strategies–inclusion, research, standards, and education–are not new to the organization. But they need tactics to come to life. That's why the five multi-year initiatives approved by the board are so important, are so important, as they show how BISG is working to implement and deliver on its strategy.

The four core strategies are more than just words. They reflect commitments the BISG board is making on behalf of the industry to address the most pressing issues we see across the supply chain. At the annual meeting, those attending heard first-hand how the board defines each strategy:

Inclusion: Provide anyone in book publishing with a forum to identify, discuss, and pursue opportunities to improve the industry.

Research: Conduct and publish independent research into emerging topics, issues, and trends that impact the book industry and provide enduring value.

Standards: Foster the development, refinement, and use of standards and best practices.

Education: Publicize research, guide adoption of standards and best practices, and foster conversations around emerging issues, through all appropriate channels.

These four strategies were presented by members of the board as a "virtuous circle", starting with inclusion. While the language parallels the strategy a previous board adopted in 2016, it also reflects the success BISG has had in the past eight years expanding its reach across the industry.

To deliver on these strategies, BISG staff proposed and the board agreed to five multi-year initiatives, including:

Transforming supply chain communications, a multi-year effort to influence the book industry about opportunities to significantly upgrade the capabilities, transparency, and resilience of the supply chain. In 2024, major activities include: a planning summit, held in January; a call to action overview of the opportunity, expected shortly; creating a reference architecture and an estimate of project costs; and socializing the idea broadly across the industry.

BISG at 50, an ongoing project to frame BISG’s contributions to the industry and raise awareness of the benefits of collective action to improve industry capabilities and profitability. BISG celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2026, with 2024 efforts that include: forming a board committee to oversee the project; developing a timeline for products, sponsorship, publicity and marketing; researching BISG history; and drafting a book proposal.

Resource development, recognizing that at its current size BISG’s ability to deliver on current and anticipated projects is limited. Priorities for 2024 are to: revive BISG's 501c3; invest in a membership, marketing, and sponsorship staff member; develop principles for BISG educational efforts; conduct reviews of products (audience, execution, branding), webinars, and digital assets; draft a three-year research plan, focused on Transforming Supply Chain Communications; and engage potential funders (including commercial organizations).

Membership growth, consistent with the strategic focus on inclusion, focused on bringing unrepresented and under-represented voices to BISG discussions and deliberations. Tactics for 2024 are expected to: research needs for workforce development; conduct a dues audit, assessing the current model; evaluate options to engage authors, agents, students, and others; implement formal prospect management in BISG's membership management system; and host a west coast road show this fall.

Membership retention, increasing value and support for companies and individuals that have made significant commitments to BISG. This is the most tactical of the five initiatives. In 2024, we'll be working to: develop a formal resource to guide volunteer recruitment and management; move committee and working group membership to our membership database; launch a membership program to support either next-gen publishing or special market expertise; identify at-risk members and propose a plan to re-engage with each; and review members who have lapsed since 2016  and develop a campaign to bring them back.

The full set of tactics for each initiative is presented in a document that was shared at the annual meeting and is now available online. Significantly, in adopting the plan the BISG board committed to monitoring progress and reporting results to membership on an ongoing basis through the life of this plan. It further promised to to review, renew, or amend this plan no later than January 2027.

If you have thoughts on the adopted strategy, or you see a project you'd like to support or join. Let us know. The best e-mail to use is, as that is delivered to both Brooke and me, but feel free to use, as well.