Thursday, April 28, 2005

A gift from Gale

Thomson Gale provides free (there's that word again!) marketing resources for libraries including academic, public, military, hospital, law and school libraries. The site includes templates and tips. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Marketing in Maryland

It looks like Maryland public libraries have found some interesting ways to meet community needs and market their services according to a article. Namely, libraries there are introducing a state-wide library card to entice their users-on-the-go. iPod audio books may be on the way.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Marketing mishaps

MSNBC recently ran an article called "It seemed like a good idea at the time: 20 years later, New Coke and other marketing fiascoes." The article outlines a number of marketing mishaps that makes for an entertaining read. Guess it pays to know your customers!

Monday, April 25, 2005

Found a treasure!

Chris Olson of Chris Olson & Associates informed me about her online newsletter called, "Marketing Treasures." The current issue includes tips on writing newsletters, working with an embroidery company and a lot of other very helpful tips and advice. (This resource is now listed under "Resource Links"). Thanks, Chris! On a related note, a 2000 Marketing Library Services article discusses promoting library services through e-mail alerts.

These articles got me thinking about newsletters and a quick Internet search reveals that a lot of you out there are writing them! A couple of randomly-chosen library newsletters I found come from Haverford College and Duke University's Medical Center Library.

Would anyone like to share their library's newsletter and/or tips for those of us considering creating one?

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Making a little go a long way

I couldn't resist following up on a comment to my recent "Marketing on a budget" post that mentioned how librarians at the Richard Bland College Library of the College of William and Mary have mastered the art of marketing with minimal resources. I was quite impressed with what I discovered! Library Director Dr. Virginia Cherry has found numerous creative ways to incorporate ALA's @ your library slogan without breaking the bank or exhausting staff.

"How do we do it?," Dr. Cherry explains, "Each summer, we select a slogan and incorporate ALA's @your library slogan with it. We decide what to highlight each month and produce the posters, flyers, table tents during the summer months when student demand is not as high. Then we are ready with the core publicity before September.

Since we have been doing this for several years, it is easy to have a marketing campaign and rather effortless.

Below is a sample of publicity from this year's campaign theme, "Lights, Camera, Action! @ your library." More publicity items from this and previous years can be found on RBC Library's Library Events page.

At the bottom of the Library Events page, Dr. Cherry has included her PowerPoint from a presentation she gave at ALA along with a description of how she and her staff pull this off. For those of you who are concerned about finding the time to do marketing, Dr. Cherry's project description could provide some consolation. RBC has a staff of 3 librarians and no on-campus printing facilities. To top it off, RBC has no funds for marketing, relying on their Friends of RBC Library to pay for events.

Thank you to Dr. Cherry for sharing this information and her insights!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Success with "dumb" marketing?

A very worthwhile post appeared today in Los Angeles called, "The Remarkable Genius of Dumb Marketing and Why It’s So Great". There is some good discussion about "neighborhood marketing" and the importance of getting to know your customers locally. (Hm. Maybe Pepsi could learn a thing or two from libraries!). Also, some potentially helpful reads are mentioned.

Baseball cards part II

In response to those of you who were eager to get a pic of the McGoogan Library of Medicine's award-winning baseball info cards I wrote about last month, the wait is over! Teresa Hartman was kind enough to share a link to a picture of the front of the card:

Teresa says that the back of the card has black text against a white background and includes the library's contact information.

Thanks, Teresa!

Update: Teresa used a company called Mint Cards as her supplier. Apparently, their rates are pretty reasonable if you're interested making cards for your library and Teresa had a good experience with them.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Building up a marketing resistance?

An article appearing yesterday in (CRM, by the way, stands for Customer Relationship Management), discusses the marketing burnout that many customers are feeling as they are inudated with ads from both traditional and new media. The article entitled, "Consumers Still Resist Marketing Attempts," struck a chord with me since I regularly find myself wondering if students are really reading the flyers, posters, e-mails and web pages we create to advertise our services, or if they're tuning it all out.

The article points out that it's not that customers resist all advertising, but that they would like advertising that they can control. They want marketing that is short and to the point, that they can view when it is convenient for them, and they also like to hear about products and services directly from friends and or other people they trust.

I think this has some interesting implications for libraries. Concise directed marketing, making good use of word-of-mouth advertising through building personal relationships, and resisting the tempation to bombard students with information might go a long way toward getting our messages across. Have any examples to share?

Monday, April 18, 2005

Library services by students, for students

Pat Wagner of Pattern Research, Inc. suggests an innovative way to market libraries to students by inviting them to be active players behind the scenes. By allowing students to take part in important decisions, they become stakeholders and have a personal interest in the welfare of the library. As Pat describes:

Every time a library allows a library user the ability to make a significant decision, execute a plan, run a program or in other way be in control - real partnerships - the closer they are to this idea. Small examples - the Scottsbluff Nebraska Library's teen board chooses the programs and runs them for other teens. So 17 year olds are delivering programs for 17 year olds. Attendance skyrocketed. Farmington Public Library taught young people from the tribal nations to run reading centers - in effect, the teens are running the "libraries" on the reservation.

This kind of intiative may not work at every library. Pat points out that giving students more control means that librarians will need to give up give up some of it, and that requires an organization that is flexible and willing to take risks.

Please share your experiences with giving students the reigns!

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Marketing on a budget

A friend of mine at ACRL mentioned to me that she felt a little overwhelmed by all of the ideas floating around at the conference. She works at a small library and didn't feel as though they have the staff to incorporate all of the ideas they would like. I've been thinking about this statement, which is why a recent article from the Chicago Tribune called, "Marketing needn't be complicated, costly to be effective," caught my eye. According to the article, the key is to think very carefully about what exactly you want to accomplish, which will then help you to allocate your resources accordingly. Essentially, simple things like knowing your customers and striking a rapport with them can compensate for the lack of a full-blown marketing campaign.

A previous post of mine (January 14, 2005) about READ posters describes one library's successful experiment with homegrown and inexepensive advertising.

Are there any librarians out there who have been able to make a little go a long way? Care to share?

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

FORE! Library coming through!

The James E. Walker Library at Middle Tennessee State University has "minted" a fun way to reach out to students on campus. Librarians rove around on their MintMobile handing out, well, mints of course, while talking to students about library services.

The MintMobile has been warmly received by students. According to William Black, Administrative Services Librarian at MTSU, the project began last year as librarians wanted a way to get out of the library and build a rapport with students. Black states, "We succeeded in arranging for a booth during the lunch period at the university commons and started decorating and taking the golf cart out to talk to students about the library. One of the phrases we used was "Don't Google yourself out of an 'A'."

Thanks to William Black for sharing this idea and pics!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

FREE marketing tutorial from

Ok, I admit that is says something about me that I am always emphasizing the "freeness" of the resources I mention. But, hey, free is good. And speaking of good and free, there is a 10-part tutorial from called "The Principles of Marketing." Part One is entitled "About Marketing", which seems to cover the basics. The other nine parts are forthcoming and will include "Understanding Customers" and "Targeting Markets," among others. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Also, I just discovered and really like, so I'll be listing it as a resource.

Putting the academic library on the community's radar

At the ACRL 12th National Conference last week, librarians from Kansas State University, Baylor University, and Gettysburg College talked about their successes in community outreach through hosting ALA Public Programs' Traveling Exhibitions in a panel session called "Academic Libraries Reap Benefits from Community Outreach." Maybe some of these programs will work for you too. Some things to keep in mind: be prepared to generate lots of children's programming, hype up the exhibits well in advance, and let community members take ownership of the events. Look at ALA's list of Current Public Programs for details. By all accounts, ALA is pretty good about supporting institutions that are awarded exhibitions and the new connections made in the community are valuable.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Steer clear of website potholes

We all know how important the Web is for communicating to patrons our libraries' hours, services, news, and resources. Our websites are almost invariably where we refer patrons when they have questions. Are we really maximizing this most important marketing tool? An article in Bytestart gives 10 pieces of advice for avoiding website marketing mistakes. While the article is directed at small businesses, there's some good food for thought for libraries too.

Friday, April 08, 2005

New Zealand innovation in current Marketing Library Services newsletter

In the current issue of Marketing Library Services (v.19 no.2), retail consultants from John Stanley Associates took a field trip to New Zealand to get a peek at what innovations librarians have come up with to attract patrons, as described in "Studying Progressive Libraries: An Adventure in New Zealand." And it sounds like New Zealanders are doing something right - according to the article, libraries there enjoy 80%+ community usage, more than triple what we see in the U.S.!

The authors outline lessons learned from their journey abroad and point out creative ideas (ever heard of wine in libraries?!).

If you are interested in learning more about retail topics, John Stanley Associates offers a free monthly e-newsletter.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

DuPage Library Teleconferences

The College of DuPage's Library Teleconferences are offering some terrific marketing resources and they're free! In one of their new series, "Library Challenges and Opportunities," speakers presented on library marketing and library as place. While these two teleconferences have already taken place, materials from both talks are available online. Of special interest, take a look at "Library Marketing: Tips and Techniques" for speakers' slides as well as online and print resources. Admittedly, I missed this one, but I did have a chance to see "Library as Place: Where People Want to Be," which was excellent. In this talk, library directors described how they have transformed their libraries into attractive destinations, and included a lot of talk about marketing. My jaw dropped as I saw images from the Southfield Michigan Public Library (it's worth your while to take a virtual tour!).

The next teleconference in this series will take place on Friday, April 29th from noon to 2pm. The subject will be "Library Hot Topics" that will delve into pressing issues.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Marketing to the rescue?

Can marketing sway international politics and is there a lesson here for librarians? Maybe. An article in News by Clay Risen entitled "Re-branding America" discusses the possibilities and pitfalls of "nation-branding," defined by Risen as "what you get when you take traditional public diplomacy strategies and add marketing tools designed to change national perceptions." In the article, Risen notes the importance of "living the brand," or backing up marketing initiatives with services, or in this case policies, that reinforce the marketing piece. Consistency, it is argued here, is the key to successful marketing campaigns and so any exercise in nation-branding should include concrete policies that further the image a nation is trying to create.

This idea of "living the brand" makes me think of the UNC sticker ads from one of my previous posts. It's wonderful that the stickers have been so popular with students, but the key to that success, in my mind, is that UNC did its research and identified a chat tool that is already widely used by students (AOL Instant Messenger) and that students can reliably use the library's buddy name to get good reference service.

Have any of you made changes to your services as a direct result of your marketing plan? Please share!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Marketing virtual chat reference at UNC-Chapel Hill

UNC-Chapel Hill Libraries have found a fun and effective way to advertise their AOL Instant Messenger chat reference service. They have created a sticker noting the library's "buddy name" that students use to send their instant messages to librarians, shown here:

Suchi Mohanty, Reference and Instruction Librarian at the R.B. House Undergraduate Library, has provided this description of how their stickers have been received:

"UNC-CH requires all incoming undergraduates to have a laptop, and in looking around campus, we noticed that many students decorate their laptops with stickers. We thought that by designing stickers, students might be likely to put them on their laptops - reminding them about the service, but also advertising it to other students. I have seen students put the stickers on their notebooks, laptops and even water bottles. We distribute these stickers at summer orientation to new students, in library instruction sessions, and at the reference desk. Most students think they are pretty cute."

Thanks to Suchi for sharing this idea!

In response to Suchi's comment, click here to see the updated version of the sticker.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Explore the American Marketing Association's web site

If you've never taken a look at the American Marketing Association's web site, you may want to check out some of the great, FREE resources it offers. Here you can find Best Practices on topics like Internet Marketing and Marketing Strategy, articles and reports, a dictionary of marketing terms, and you can also sign up for a free newsletter.

I've now listed this as a resource under "Resource Links."