This presentation has a great round-up of useful books, blogs and websites on all things to do with Library marketing. Check it out:<div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”https://www.slideshare.net/KathyDempsey/where-to-find-library-marketing-info” title=”Where to Find Library Marketing Info” target=”_blank”>Where to Find Library Marketing Info</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/KathyDempsey” target=”_blank”>Libraries Are Essential consultancy</a></strong> </div>
Ned Potter interviews Terry Kendrick in Marketing Your Library | American Libraries Magazine. You don’t get better library marketing advice than this!
Definitions in the field of marketing can be rather confusing – many terms are used interchangeably. For instance people can talk about marketing when more correctly they are talking about advertising. These definitions from Kathy Dempsey’s book – The accidental library marketer (2009, p. 16-17) – are useful for demystifying some of the terminology:
Marketing is taking steps to move goods from producers to consumers. It’s determining what people want, delivering it, evaluating consumer satisfaction, and then periodically updating that whole process.
Public relations is a planned, long-term communication program (via various media) with a goal of convincing the public to have good will toward something. It’s helping people to think well of an organization, product or concept.
Publicity is sending a message via official channels such as news releases, newsletters and press conferences.
Promotion is furthering the growth or development of a product or service. It’s not just aiming toward good will; it’s encouraging people to use the product or service by telling those people how it would benefit them.
Advertising is calling attention to something through paid announcements.
Branding is a process with dual objectives: 1) establishing a strong link between a company and its logo/typeface/picture or name/phrase and 2) developing the “personality” of your product and service, establishing the characteristics that should come to mind when people think of you. Branding helps build loyalty.
Advocacy is getting people who have good opinions of your organization to speak others on its behalf, to convince other people of its value.
Stare at these definitions long enough and I think that even they start to get a bit blurry around the edges 😉
It is worth considering that in a marketing framework, advertising, promotion public relations and publicity are part of the marketing communications mix – which according to Kotler and Keller in A framework for marketing management (2009, p. 256) is:
the means by which firms attempt to inform, persuade and remind consumers – directly or indirectly – about the products and brands they sell. They represent the “voice” of the company and brand and are a good way to establish a dialogue and build relationships with consumers”.
The other parts of the marketing communications mix are events, direct marketing, interactive marketing, word-of-mouth marketing and personal selling.
Because these elements that make up the marketing communications mix are the parts of marketing that we usually see, it tends to dominate our view of what marketing actually is.
And just to add to any confusion, I was chatting to a colleague at work about where public relations fitted into marketing – i.e. it’s a component of marketing. Well apparently according to public relations theory, marketing is a subset of public relations!
Ned Potter has a fabulous new marketing blog – The Library Marketing Toolkit. It is designed to be a website to support Ned’s upcoming book of the same name, as well as being a standalone resource for all things to do with library marketing. You can check out more about the blog here – and there is a link on that page to download a free chapter of Ned’s upcoming book 🙂
Ned’s book includes a small case study from yours truly – my involvement was very much a tribute to the power of networking on Twitter! Basically Ned called for volunteers to write case studies for the book, and eventually contacted me about writing one on email marketing. I’m absolutely thrilled he has included a link to this blog on his new website!
Heather Lamond, LIANZA’s president-elect, has recently blogged to promote the upcoming advocacy workshops that LIANZA is running in New Zealand. There has been slower uptake for these workshops and I thought I would pitch in and do some promotion.
One thing to be aware of is that advocacy and marketing are not the same thing. So if you have already attending one of the recent LIANZA marketing courses (co-presented by yours truly) you will be exposed to a different emphasis and pick up another skill set. As library marketing guru Kathy Dempsey says marketing is:
determining what people want, delivering it, evaluating consumer satisfaction, and then periodically updating the whole process.
While advocacy is:
getting people who have good opinions of your organization to speak to others on its behalf, to convince other people of its value
Dempsey’s definition does make it sounds like advocacy is part of what other people do for us, but as Heather points out:
we all, as individuals, need to have the skills, knowledge and strength to articulate our value and unique contribution (without having to wait or rely on someone else to do it). This is not just about negotiating library budgets or funding for new buildings, but about being able to tell our story in a way that makes a difference to those outside our profession
This doesn’t necessarily come easy to everyone, but I believe it’s important to do our bit to develop these skills, so that we can be advocates for our libraries, our customers and our profession at every level. You can find details of the workshops in Heather’s blog post – be sure to attend if you can 🙂
Welcome to my first guest post – this one showcases promotional events in an academic library.
A big thank you to my colleague Heather da Vanzo, Humanities & Social Sciences Librarian, Massey University Library, Wellington campus
Libraries do need to up their game when it comes to marketing. Having worked in a variety of sectors, most recently in the Academic sector it’s clear that Libraries have moved from collection based institutions towards service based organizations – I’m just not sure we’re communicating the value of our collection to our clients.
Currently being in a small team our marketing has to be sustainable, we’ve agreed that 2 promotional events a year is feasible. We aren’t talking huge events – just 20-30 guests – again manageable and for us it allows us to offer a “hands-on” aspect to the session.
Tailoring the sessions to client needs is crucial – it keeps numbers manageable, but also ensures a clear message. So far our target audience has been postgraduates, researchers and staff but his could change, depending on the resources we market and the venue.
As always it’s important we don’t reinvent the wheel so we’ve designed a check list of logistical tasks. The checklist ensures we can divide the tasks amongst the team and utilize a package of templates including a door sign, poster, bookmark and invitation email. Apart from saving time, these templates retain some consistency to the Libraries “promotion” brand. We can easily change the colour and logo to match the theme of the promotional event.
Really it’s been about getting staff and researchers into the Library space and showing them the Library has what they need. Assuming we are familiar with the purpose of the institution and the needs of the clients, Librarians are in the best position to make the match between client and resource. Essentially show clients our relevance.
We have offered, cake and coffee, cheese and wine, catering which doesn’t break the bank; but creates a welcoming impression with the client and gets them through the door. And it strikes a chord:
“Great session…..very informative and clearly presented…makes much more impact when you get a presentation rather than finding the info out by working through the data……and let’s face it….mostly we wouldn’t bother…….great cake too!” Associate Professor Ciochetto
We’ve found promotional events a great way to build relationships, promote our resources and look competent!
Note: Photo and quote used with permission
One of the sessions I attended at the recent LIANZA conference was about the promotion of EPIC databases, with the session being presented by the vendors themselves. You can find all their presentations from the session on the EPIC website . Below are some of the ideas I took particular note of.
Most vendors provide:
– posters that either you or they can customise for you
– Search widgets for your website
– Training for library staff in their resources
Liza Fisher from Gale Cengage talked about “shelf talkers” to make the link between hardcopy and print – they can provide these for libraries. This is what they look like:
Liza also made a point that I whole heartedly agree with – you absolutely have to identify key content for your customers. In some library contexts promoting big databases can be overwhelming for staff and irrelevant for customers. Liza suggests taking opportunities to highlight journals that might appeal to your customers – for instance if you someone asks where the golfing books are this could be an opportunity to promote access to golfing magazines on the EPIC databases. This “would you like fries with that” approach is not so alien to us – it is an extension of our customer service values. As Camille from Britannica said at the same session, we librarians are in sales. Every great sales person worth their salt knows their product – and we have to know our products and resources too. Liza mentioned what they did at Auckland City Libraries a few years ago now where they ran a display competition between branches, with each branch promoting a different resource. In this way staff at each branch become familiar with at least one of the resources on offer.
In one of my earlier posts I included some ideas for promoting EPIC databases from the nz-libs list. Be sure to check that out – there are some great ideas there from libraries around New Zealand and staff training was a key tool. I also included a link to Julie Badger’s excellent article about the challenges of promoting library databases. If you only have time to read one article on libraries and marketing, make it hers 🙂
The question of measuring the impact of marketing efforts is a fraught one, even in the business world. Check out what Farris et al. have to say on the subject from Marketing Metrics: The Definitive Guide to Measuring Marketing Performance (2nd ed, Pearson Prentice Hall, 2010):
In business and economics, many metrics are complex and difficult to master. Some are highly specialized and best suited to specific analyses. Many require data that may be approximate, incomplete, or unavailable.
Little wonder then that many libraries don’t tackle it – in the US, one study found that less than 33% of academic libraries evaluated their promotional campaigns.
Farris et al. offer this:
Under these circumstances, no single metric is likely to be perfect. For this reason, we recommend that marketers use a portfolio or “dashboard” of metrics. By doing so, they can view market dynamics from various perspectives and arrive at “triangulated” strategies and solutions. Additionally, with multiple metrics, marketers can use each as a check on the others. In this way, they can maximize the accuracy of their knowledge … Being able to “crunch the numbers” is vital to success in marketing. Knowing which numbers to crunch, however, is a skill that develops over time. Toward that end, managers must practice the use of metrics and learn from their mistakes.
Brian Mathews in Marketing today’s academic library: a bold approach to communicating with students (American Library Association, 2009) offers up some of the potential components of that dashboard:
For instance getting a customer to visit a website, or take advantage of an offer. The website could be a campaign-specific secondary page to better track statistics.
This could be calculated by counting the total number of users and dividing them by the total student population. For instance if 4000 students checked out a book at least once during the year out of a total student population of 10,000 then the market share would be 40%. And then we might think about the other 60% who didn’t borrow anything and how to reach them.
How did you hear about us?
This involves inviting students to share their experience. This can be done face to face or by using a follow-up email.
Analyse total hit rates and click-through rates to your website via tools such as Google Analytics.
A customer service survey administered by the Association for Research Libraries (charges apply).
A technique that can be used in focus groups, surveys or one-to-one interviews.
Dorm (hostel) surveys
This involves tracking student usage over time – how do they find out about our services and how do they use the library over time? Mathews’ example involves selecting 6 new students each year, who he meets with once a semester throughout their degree. He notes this isn’t scientific but it allows him to get a feel for selected user groups and to learn about their experiences.
As Mathew’s says, ultimately there is no silver bullet when it comes to measuring impact and as Farris et al. suggest we need a range of metrics. Critically we also need to remember that this is part of a bigger task – we need to figure out what success would look like – which is all part of the goals we set as to what we want our marketing activities to achieve – right back at the start of the cycle of our marketing activities. For Mathews:
… success, from a marketing standpoint, is a combination of familiarity along with usage, across the span of a student’s tenure. The longevity of library use from day one until graduation is what matters
I feel instead of simply focusing on generating awareness or even just increasing use of resources, we should approach communication more philosophically by viewing our marketing as a chance to elevate the role of the library in our students’ minds. In this manner, our advertising encourages them to expect more from us. We are not just providing more books, more journals, more computers, or more staff to help them, but rather more relevance. We should aspire to smash their preconceptions of what a library is and instead demonstrate what it can become.
He proposes the following:
1. List all of the library products and services that are relevant to undergraduates
2. At the end of the academic year ask a random sample of thirty students from different classes and ask them to
a) tick the products and services they have heard of and
b) tick those that they have actually used.
This allows you to track the effectiveness of your communications and the usage of your library.
What tools do you use to measure the impact of your marketing activities?
At the moment I am reading the excellent Bite-sized marketing: realistic solutions for the overworked librarian by Nancy Dowd, Mary Evangeliste and Jonathan Silberman. The book’s focus is on word-of-mouth-marketing and it is perfect for dipping in and out of.
Do you know anyone who needs to move on from the idea that marketing is some sort of grubby commercial activity? Ask them to consider this:
Marketing traditionally has been thought of a deceitful or overly corporate, but in actuality it is about communicating your values to your customers. Marketing for libraries is a powerful way for libraries to accomplish our goals and stay relevant. In her phenomenal book Robin Hood Marketing: How to steal corporate savvy to sell just causes, Katya Andersen says: “There is no nobility in preaching to an audience of one. Those of us working for the public good have an ethical responsibility to be effective and efficient in reaching as many people as possible.” As Andersen points out so eloquently, we have to see marketing as an ethical responsibility. If we know that the services and resources that we provide for people make their lives better, we can step away from our commercialized view of marketing and move on to creating marketing programs that we can be proud of and fully invest ourselves in.
Well they are almost here! LIANZA are now calling for expressions of interest in the marketing workshops that I will be co-presenting with Liz Knowles.
Here is all the info – see below about where to send your details 🙂