Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Using students to market information literacy

According to a 1998 article in Marketing Library Services, librarians at the University of Louisville in Kentucky enlisted the assistance of students in a Communications course to help them market their Information Literacy Program (ILP) to fellow students. Students designed a logo and brochure to advertise this key library program. Librarians described the brochure as "bright and humorous," which suited the purpose of reaching out to their student audience. The brochure's theme was the sense of information overload students feel when they think about the library and doing research.

The idea behind this initiative is that students would know best how to reach other students as they share similar perpectives. Therefore, they are well-suited to design an effective message to "sell" the library's product (the ILP).

Interestingly, in their article, the U of L librarians mentioned the importance of segmenting their intended audience to create an effective marketing campaign, but they did not describe how students did this. This is a tricky, but vital, piece of any marketing campaign. Segmentation is something I often think about in terms of undergraduates. Undergrads could be grouped in any number of ways including by years in school, academic standing, major, on or off-campus, primary language, in or out of state/country, student organization, etc. Possible target groups are almost never-ending. What the challenge is, in my mind, is figuring out how much segmentation is too much and which groupings are the most meaningful. Any thoughts?

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