Thursday, March 31, 2005

Marketing time-savers from SW Iowa Library Service Area

Thanks to Karen Burns of the SW Iowa Library Service Area for more helpful tools to get the word out about library services:

Just when I was saying bookmarks were "out," Karen pointed me to some ready-to-go"If You Like..Bookmarks" from SWILSA's Reader's Advisory page that you can customize for your particular library. The bookmarks feature reading recommendations based on topics of interest.

In addition, The Pathfinder Project (an LSTA funded endeavor) is a site filled with pathfinder templates to be used and shared with others. There are already a number of pathfinders available on topics as diverse as "Apples," "Information Literacy," "Scrapbooking," and many more (even "Blogging"!). You can also download and customize your own and then share with everyone else. I've found that pathfinders and research guides targeted to your intended audience can be an incredibly effective way of demonstrating to patrons how libraries can help them no matter what their interests or needs.

Finally, SWILSA is involved in an effort to create downloadable "Computer Help Sheets" that cover how-to's like creating business brochures in Publisher and making photo albums with PowerPoint.

Thanks again to Karen for helping to save us from reinventing the wheel and for sharing these creative, exciting projects!

So what is marketing anyway?

For those of us who are fairly new to marketing, it's worth asking the question, what is it really? Some (concise) definitions of marketing and the "marketing umbrella" from a 30-year veteran of the trade. Have any of your own to share?

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Marketing With Blogs?

Have you thought about using blogs as marketing tools? Well, the jury may be out as to how effective they are, but they may be worth considering depending on your needs. A 2003 article in Marketing Library Services "Why and How to Use Blogs to Promote Your Library's Services" has some helpful hints and examples of how to get the biggest bang for your buck using blogs. Recently, the Wall Street Journal publised an article called "Blogs Keep Internet Customers Coming Back" that does a good job of spelling out the do's and don'ts of blog advertising. You may also want to check out Terence K. Huwe's article, "Born to Blog" in Computers in Libraries, November/December 2003, 44-45.

While there is some debate about the vaule of blogs as advertising, there seems to be one point of consensus: Avoid being pushy! In fact, a blog with personality and good information may be all that you need to attract patrons without overtly "selling them" on a service.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

In search of the "Big Bang"

Well, it's nice to know that librarians are not the only ones facing the challenges of being heard in a landscape saturated with ads and information. A recent article in the New Yorker called "The New Pitch: Do Ads Still Work?" by Ken Auletta gives an overview of the history and current state of advertising. Prominent advertiser Linda Kaplan Thaler (think Kodak moments and the Aflack duck) shares her insights on the search for what she calls the "big bang" in advertising. Thaler also co-wrote a book called Bang! Getting Your Message Heard in a Noisy World (Currency/Doubleday, 2003).

Saturday, March 26, 2005

One-Two-Three Strikes: Bookmarks are OUT!

Want a fun way to advertise but are tired of relying on customized bookmarks to get your point across (I know I am!)? Then you may want to consider an award-winning idea from the McGoogan Library of Medicine. The librarians there have created baseball cards to advertise their library and services. They have three versions: one with main library contact info, one for distance services, and one for their consumer health information resource service (CHRIS). According to McGoogan librarian Teresa Hartman, the cards are a hit (no pun intended) with patrons, and fit better in wallets than bookmarks. The cards were recognized with an award at last year's MLA conference.

Thanks for sharing, Teresa!

Has anyone else used baseball cards as advertising? Maybe you've had some better luck than me with bookmarks? I'd love to hear about it!

State Library of Iowa Tells the Library Story

Iowa Library Service Areas and the State Library of Iowa teamed up to create a toolkit that gives librarians and patrons the story-telling know-how to explain the importance of libraries. The
"Telling the Library Story Toolkit"
has fantastic resources including tips on how to improve presentation skills, sample speeches, how to write news releases, facinating library facts and more! The Toolkit is excellent for all library fans who know libraries are great, but want to do a better job of explaining to people WHY they're so great.

Thanks to Communications Coordinator Annette Wetteland of the State Library of Iowa for sharing this resource!

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

ACRL to present Best Practices in Marketing Award

American University Library and Illinois State University's Milner Libary will be honored at ACRL's 12th National Conference in Minneapolis as the winners of the Best Practices in Marketing @ your library Award.

The Best Practices in Marketing Award recognizes outstanding marketing programs. The Awards will be given during the keynote luncheon on Friday, April 8th. For more information, see the ACRL 12th National Conference website.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Beep! Beep! Make way for library traffic!

Ever wonder what libraries could learn from grocery stores? Marketing Library Services newsletter had a great January article called "Retail Interior Layout for Libraries". The article deals with how to improve traffic through the library to maximize service use based on retail principles. The author pointed to Emporia State University Libraries as a good example of a retail-like interior.