Pan Macmillan UK is one of the largest book publishers in the UK. Their Macmillan Children’s Books imprint is the home to many of the country’s most popular children’s authors, including Julia Donaldson, creator of the hugely successful Gruffalo series. Pan Macmillan was named Publisher of the Year at The Bookseller Industry Awards in May 2015.
Distinction was approached to develop a new site for their Dear Zoo range of children’s books. This site was designed with young children in mind, the intention being that parents would use the site with their children, especially the Games and Activities areas of the site.
Macmillan’s team worked with research agency Mumpanel, listening and responding to the thoughts and requests of parents. The result is a simple, brand-focused website, navigated by age and stage, with regular updates on what to read next and educational benefits, as well as new resources for teachers, parents, and children. The main objective of the site was to engage with the target audience (parents and teachers) and provide a site that could be used by very young children, guided by an adult. Clearly a key goal of the site was to generate sales of the Dear Zoo range of products. Macmillan didn’t want to sell directly through the site. Instead, the objective was to refer users to the relevant partner online store, such as Amazon, Hive, and WHSmiths. They are planning to use the extensive A/B and MVT testing capabilities of Kentico EMS to enhance these calls to action. Given the target audience, Distinction and Macmillan realized that mobile optimization of the site was key. The user experience on tablets, in particular, was identified as being vital to the site’s success.
The key challenge for this project was to create a website that not only allowed Macmillan to promote their books, toys, and accessories to their target market, but also to do so in a very child-friendly way. Engaging, mobile-friendly games were considered the best way to achieve this. However, as the Dear Zoo books have an excellent educational reputation, the games needed to have an educational purpose.
Another objective of the site was to recommend other books/products through a ‘you may also like‘ section. Using Kentico’s related content functionality, site administrators can link books, activities, and other merchandise.
The site is running on Kentico EMS 8.2, and the marketing team can optimize the performance of the site using A/B and multivariate testing to try different design solutions to maximize the site’s conversion rates.