Tuesday, May 03, 2005

NCSU librarian enlists students for marketing help

You may recall some posts I've written discussing the value of including patrons in your library's decision-making processes. One librarian's project at North Carolina State University Libraries is a great example of how you can put this idea to use and get worthwhile results!

Those of you fortunate enough to make it to ACRL last month may have seen Bonnie Tijerina's poster presentation on BIN (Business Information Network). After doing some usability testing with NCSU students, Bonnie quickly found interested students willing to donate their time to enhance BIN (and their resumes!). Two marketing students in particular helped Bonnie create a marketing plan for BIN and advise her as to what would appeal to her target group.

What did she learn from all of this? As Bonnie states,

"My general suggestions when marketing to a specific population is to try to use the skills of your group to help in creating and marketing your library resources. It is amazing how much more buy-in there is when their names are mentioned in the acknowledgments. Also, try to find “partners” who are also trying to market to your user group. This can be mutually beneficial."

One of the most striking observations Bonnie noted with regard to the marketing piece was just how fast word-of-mouth spread among students. As Bonnie reflects,

"There is no better marketing than having peers tell you how great it is. I could not have been as persuasive with any other type of marketing than having a 20 year old college senior telling his classmates to check it out! I see this experience less as a way to make generalizations about students that I can share with other librarians and more about the importance of having one-on-one conversations (and hopefully relationships) with your users so that they start doing the advocating work for you."

For a summary of the BIN marketing project, see a summary written by Bonnie. Thanks to Bonnie for generously sharing her experiences!

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