Tuesday, May 31, 2005

More on mystery

Thanks to librarian Sue Dodd from Uppsala, Sweden who sent in a comment about my previous post, "Add a little mystery to your marketing mix."

Sue encountered an interesting example of a mystery marketing campaign at the univeristy that got a buzz going. Sue states:

"A year or so ago somebody started writing titles of interesting books between the tiles in many of the WCs. The writing was small and in black ink with the initials of the publisher. It was always the same publisher. The phenomenon and some of the individual titles gave rise to many conversations. It was extremely effective marketing ."

Promoting libraries online

A library's web site is one of the primary ways librarians can promote their services and an important part of the marketing mix. Librarian.net bloggers and others recently wrote about how to achieve an effective web presence. Some tidbits from the librarian.net post:

  • Be accessible

  • Be human

  • Be an advocate

Friday, May 27, 2005

Find the pulse of your market

If you work with teens and young adults, you may want to take a peek at the blog "Ypulse: Media for the Next Generation." The blog provides news and commentary about Generation Y for marketing professionals.

Add a little mystery to your marketing mix

Take a look at this article from Scotland about a possible viral marketing campaign. The speculation is that some savvy angel experts devised a campaign that involved delivering envelopes to strangers that were filled with money and marked with the words, "Do you believe in angels?" While no one has solved the mystery of the anonymous benefactors, marketing experts believe that this smacks of a marketing ploy.

Regardless of the motives behind these gifts, this idea of a mystery marketing campaign struck me as a great idea for librarians! Could librarians leave clues, quotes, citations, research tips or other "gifts" in unlikely places like the student commons, restrooms, bus stops, etc. and then unveil the purpose as part of a larger event or marketing plan? I think there's potential here. Has anyone tried something like this?

Thursday, May 26, 2005

The Force is with partnerships: Episode II

I thought I might follow-up on my post from yesterday with some examples of effective library partnerships and how-to's.

For those of you able to attend the ACRL National Conference in April, you may want to review presentation materials from the "Meeting the Student Learning Imperative: Building Powerful Partnerships Between Academic Libraries and Student Services" session. For those of you unable to make it, the PowerPoint is available online.

Some other online goodies:

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Force is with partnerships

Ok, on a blog about marketing I couldn't resist talking about the ubiquitous Star Wars marketing efforts. Star War is EVERYWHERE due to the myriad of partnerships they've formed with companies like Burger King and Kellogg (for more insights, take a look at this recent article from Direct Marketing News). This Star Wars endeavor raises an interesting question for librarians: Are we maximizing our marketing potential by partnering with other units, businesses, departments, etc.?

In my position, I've been lucky to find receptive campus units willing to include the library in various fairs and events. As someone new to the University, this option is particularly appealing because the infrastructure and publicity for these events is already established, and we can easily plug into them. After some successful involvement, we are now on the radar and can take a more active role in the planning phases. It takes time do develop a rapport, but I've found the benefits of partnerships to be essential.

I am eager to hear about ways in which you all have flexed your marketing muscle with other partners. What was your experience like? Please comment or submit a post for inclusion on the blog!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Get in on the buzz

Marketingprofs.com offers virtual seminars on a range of marketing topics. The next one, on March 26th is called The Anatomy of Buzz: Lessons in Word-of-Mouth Marketing, with Emanuel Rosen. For those of you who can't watch it, you many want to check out an article by Rosen called Five Common Misconceptions About Buzz Marketing, in which Rosen describes his experiences promoting EndNote. I found this article to be very helpful since I often hope that our patrons will spread word of our services "through the grapevine," but never quite understood how the grapevine works.

The next virtual seminar is on June 9th called Writing a Marketing Plan for Entrepreneurs and Small Business: From Blank Page to Presentation. If you have the opportunity to attend, I hope you'll share your experiences!

Monday, May 23, 2005

Marketing to hope

Did you know that when you market library services, you're actually marketing to patrons' hopes? Well, I never thought of it exactly that way either, but it makes good sense. Check out Sunday's article from Hospitality Net entitled, "What Are You Really Marketing? It's Not What You Think."

Author Charlie Cook advises salespeople to focus their marketing by making a list of their clients' hopes. What would that look like in an academic library? Maybe something like, "I hope I can get the research done for this paper in time for class," or, "I hope I didn't miss any important articles," or, "I hope I cited this correctly."

Any others for your library?

May issue of Marketing Treasures

Don't forget to check in on Marketing Treasures from Chris Olson & Associates this month! As usual, it contains lots of helpful advice and insights. Check out the Role of Color in Branding, Webinars vs. Webcasts, and even a mention of this blog!

Author Chris Olson also writes of a library marketing listserv you may want to join.

Thanks to Chris! Keep up the great work!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Make way for the future!

Great article this week from MarketingProfs.com about 6 trends that are predicted to change the way marketing is done. Some biggies for librarians: 1. Consumers Are the New Creative Directors, 3. Multitasking and Info Overload: Don't Waste My Time, and 4. Humanization of Technology.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Handy How-To Tools

I'm always discovering handy things from About.com. Today's find is some "How-To" resources: Creating a Powerful Brochure and Create a Flyer. While both are useful, the "Create a Flyer" piece is a little sparse, but the related links fill in the blanks nicely.

We recently created a flyer to advertise the fact that our library was going 24/5 during finals, which featured a lightbulb as the main graphic. I'm not sure how successful we were at keeping in brief, but I would add that I learned something about balancing the layout of a flyer. About.com has a page about Newsletter Design Tips that could prove useful if you're like me and new to thinking about design.

Happy printing!

Monday, May 09, 2005

A brief pause

Hello! I will be out of the office this week and will not be posting. I should have some new posts up by early next week. Please feel free to send your ideas along! Have a great week! :)

Friday, May 06, 2005

Snag the black dog

You may have heard mention of a recent presentation given to librarians by Chris Bidlack of Bidlack Creative Group, an award-winning arts and education design strategy firm located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The philosophy of Chris and his Bidlack Creative Group, is that when it comes to marketing:

"Your audience is like a black dog on a cloudy, moonless night. You can't see it, but you know it's out there. Sniffing around. Not paying attention to you, or even knowing why it should pay attention. How do you find it? How do you call it? How do you make it come inside and do what you want it to do? [from site]"

Their web site's "Free Treats" and "This Month's Cool Thing" sections offer some good how-to resources about communication that I know we could all use!

I am now going to adhere to Rule #3 of The First 5 Rules of Communicating with the Black Dog: Be brief!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Bloggin' 'bout Branding

Teresa Hartman had a post about branding today on her blog User Education Resources for Librarians with some handy links.

The customer isn't always right?!

This article from Retailer News called, "The Customer Is Always Right... and Other Myths" points out some false beliefs that can hinder our service to patrons. While this article is about the retail environment, much of the advice rang true for me as I think about marketing libraries. I especially think it is important that we don't just give patrons what they want, but rather we need to think creatively about how to solve patrons' problems in ways that they could not imagine.

An outstanding reference librarian I know once told me, "The patron is always wrong." Of course, he did not say this to demean patrons in any way, but his point was that as reference librarians, we need to dig through the surface of reference transactions to ascertain the real need. I know I've often been in situations where I kind of thought I knew what I needed, but I didn't really know what else was out there that might be an even better choice. This Retailer News article does a good job of demonstrating just these kinds of points with illustrative anecdotes that can help guide our marketing efforts.

Do any of you have any library marketing myths you'd like to bust?

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Freebies! (Did I get your attention?)

If you attend fairs and the like, you've no doubt noticed that those booths with the coolest freebies tend to get all of the attention. I've just begun doing more and more of these kinds of things and you can imagine my surprise when I showed up to my first event without so much as a customized pencil on my table. Needless to say, I had to be a little more, well, venturesome than normal to be noticed.

So now that I've learned my lesson, I've been looking around at some possible freebie purchases. I found a number of web sites that seem to have some good potential products that may be of use to you too, including JanWay Company (found on The Librarian's Yellow Pages), the ALA eStore, and
. Please note that I have not ordered from any of of these places yet, but now that I'm armed with ideas, I'd like to know if any of you have used a free giveaway that was exceptionally popular? Please share!

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!