Thursday, December 21, 2006

The wrong way to win customers

Sometimes, the best way to do something right is to know the wrong way and do the opposite. That's precisely what this post from Brand Builder Blog is about: How to Lose Customers in Ten Simple Steps.

[Via Quality Services Marketing blog]

Categories: tips_to_try

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Coming up on LM

As this year comes to and end and next year is right around the corner, it's a perfect time to reflect on the past year and look ahead to the next. I have a lot of New Year's resolutions for this blog, so I'd like to give you an idea of what I'm thinking about for the Library Marketing in '07.

I imagine that almost every blogger out there has a pile of notes on posts they'd like to write about but don't seem to get around to (at least, it makes me feel better about my own post backup to think so!). I have heap of topics I'm eager to dive into early next year. Here are the big ones:

1. A series of posts on the emerging trend of mobile marketing and why librarians should jump into this arena now. As part of a research project for a marketing class, I did a good deal of research into this topic and believe that cell phones and other mobile devices make good venues for library services. I'll share some of my findings with you.
2. A series of posts on forming and leading a library advisory committee. I don't know how many academic libraries out there have advisory committees, but if the literature is any indication, there aren't very many. I'd like to share my thoughts on how I put this group together, for what reason, and how I think they fit into marketing efforts.
3. A discussion of what I find to be a central tension in marketing that is especially noticeable in library marketing: Finding a balance between giving people what they want and offering what they need. Sometimes the two are the same, but other times they're at odds. When is it best to assert our expertise and when is it best to let the patrons do the leading?
4. A consideration of what are some reasonable expectations/outcomes for marketing plans. Is marketing always about getting patrons in the door? Or are there other ways to evaluate marketing effectiveness?

In addition to catching up on my posts, I'd also like to upgrade the LM blog itself. I've talked for a while now about doing a re-design, but decided to hold off until Google sorted out its new version of Blogger. Now that the new version is out of beta, I'm going to be making the switch. In the process, I'm hoping to also change the look and feel, and make it a little more Web 2.0-friendly so that it more closely reflects what I think a blog should be. I hope you'll enjoy the upgrades. :-)

Finally, a goal I've had for LM from the beginning is that I'd like to involve readers and showcase their own marketing efforts, thoughts, ideas, questions, and so on. Most marketing, with the exception of some major promotional initiatives, happens behind closed doors so it's hard to get a sense of what librarians are doing. In a number of cases, I've e-mailed colleagues asking for more information about their marketing efforts, but usually don't receive a reply. I understand that for some, participating in a blog can be off-putting or too time-consuming, which I understand and respect. But for those of you who do want to share your marketing projects or perspectives, please do keep LM in mind as a place to highlight them. I'm pretty open to sharing the floor and responding to questions or comments, so long as they fit with the blog and are useful to readers. Don't hesitate to e-mail or IM me at JillatCabell with your thoughts and ideas. I don't have all the answers, but I always learn a lot from others' points of views and experiences. For those of you who have already taken the time to share your thoughts - thank you! I've enjoyed meeting many outstanding librarians and marketers with a passion for building better relationships with patrons/customers and I hope you'll continue to keep in touch.

There's a lot to look forward to in '07 and I thank each and every one of you for reading and for your support of this blog project. I could never have kept this up if it wasn't for your feedback and kind words. It's meant a lot to me!

I'll be leaving on Friday and returning after the first of the year, so you may notice a pause in posting during that time. Have a terrific holiday and best wishes to you and your families for a happy new year!

Categories: random_stuff

Marketing the social way

Marketing is a team effort, and it's nice to see marketers teaming up with customers to make their initiatives more meaningful. In a ClickZ article, Mark Kingdon reports on a WOMMA conference panel discussion in which presenters discussed ways to successfully integrate themselves into social networking sites. One of my favorite points offered is, "Demonstrate that you're knowledgeable and credible, someone who can contribute to the knowledgebase. Think about how to create this level of participation among the communities you create." In other words, don't just be there for the sake of being there; Bring something of value to the table.

Along these lines, I found a WOMMA report on the Nintendo Wii ambassador program. It's a really interesting case study of how to put an ambassador program together, particularly since Nintendo's efforts are so well documented. Nintendo sought out and recruited enthusiasts who would host secret Wii gaming parties. According to the Go Nintendo site, "Wii Ambassador Program: The yearlong initiative identified ambassadors in markets throughout the country. These ambassadors are of three categories: multigenerational families, hard-core gamers and modern moms. During the initial phase, Nintendo hosted events for each ambassador and 30 of his or her closest friends and relatives. The events offered an opportunity for everyday people from all walks of life to play Wii for the first time and share their experiences with others." This effort was supplemented by a number of other promotion tactics including a MySpace page, countdown events, and brand partnerships. This example raises the question of how librarians can do a better job of engaging their biggest fans to export the "library experience" into people's homes and among the community.

Categories: promising_promotions | real_life | tips_to_try

Friday, December 15, 2006

Co-creation manifesto

I enjoy a lot of the manifestos posted on ChangeThis, but this recent one by James Cherkoff and Johnnie Moore is fantastic. The topic is co-creation, and the manifesto outlines 17 points for effectively working with customers to make your marketing effective. Reading this made me want to get to work right away at finding new ways to partner with patrons in my work. Some of my favorite points: Get Vernacular; Make Your Customers Look Good (big shiny star next to this one!); Make Mistakes; Play...ok, I could list them all because they're all terrific, so you're better off just reading it yourself. I think a lot of these points could also be applied internally to increase cooperation among staff.

Why bother with co-creation? The authors sum it up this way: "If we have to choose between engagement and control, we prefer engagement. We think that organisations in the future will do well to have the same preference when it comes to dealing with their own people and their customers." Co-creation is the main reason I'm so excited about marketing and about marketing libraries in particular. I'd love to see libraries as THE partner for anyone who wants to expand their horizons. So much of what Cherkoff and Moore recommend comes naturally to librarians (sharing "secrets," creating opportunity) that I know we can be leaders on this front.

Categories: creativity_and_inspiration | must_reads | neat_trends | tips_to_try

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Mini marketing idea

Paul over at Idea Sandbox mentions a fun way to spread the word (and the pictures!): mini cards. A company called can turn your flickr pics into tiny promotional items. The company states, "We dream up new products, personalised by your stuff on the web, that let you take that virtual life offline. We hope you like them." Neat! You can put all of your vital stats on the back and feature your favorite photo on the front (here are some examples). There's something about the smallness and personalized nature of these cards that makes them seem way more fun than business cards or bookmarks. I know a lot of libraries out there use flickr to document outreach events, etc. Why not turn those images into mini cards? You could send them out with newsletters or other promotional items, tack them onto computer monitors, stick them in books at check-out, and all kinds of things. I should say that I haven't used the Moo service myself, but I really like the idea. If any of you try it, please tell me about it.

Categories: promising_promotions | tips_to_try

Employee buy-in, continued

True to her word, Sybil responded to my comment asking for examples of tactics to gain employee buy-in for marketing initiatives, which I discussed in a previous post. In her answer, she mentions a some great ideas like including employees when distributing promotional items and hosting a kick-off event for a boost of motivation.

What's important to keep in mind is that when we employ marketing to reinforce or change patrons' expectations, we are also implying that staff need to alter their expectations as well. For example, if our promotions brag to patrons of our speedy service, we're also saying to staff, "Speed is a priority." All of our messages have two audiences: internal and external. I'm interested to hear about ways in which you've addressed your internal audience. Any good ideas?

Categories: promising_promotions | tips_to_try

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Create; Innovate; Don't wait!

Creativity and innovation imply one thing: change. And I'm not talking about the coins jingling in your pocket (though I'm sure those help!) feature an Innovation Forum that is overflowing with good ideas and inspiration! The site consists of short videos, so you don't need to block out huge chunks of time to take advantage of these sound nuggets of advice. I haven't listened to all of them, but two that stood out to me so far are talks from the CEO of The First 30 Days, Ariane de Bonvoisin. Her two clips, Believing in Change and Comparison Killer were great for a quick jolt of inspiration. In the latter clip, she talks about how the biggest killer of innovation is doubt, and that comparing yourself to other companies squashes innovation in its tracks. These statements make me think about libraries and librarians' tendency to look outside to how we stack up to the competition. Being aware of competitors is necessary, but I can see how there's a point at which we stop seeing our own value because we are too wrapped up in what others are doing. If you want more discussion of change, how to adapt to it, and why it's a good thing, check out Ariane's blog, First 30 Days.

Since we're on the topic of change and innovation, I found an article from on the Importance of Being Relevant. In it, the author notes that sometimes remaining relevant involves reinventing yourself and who you aim to please.

Categories: creativity_and_inspiration

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Engaging patrons with YouTube

Somehow, I only just discovered this outstanding new initiative from the Denver Public Library (where else?). The library is holding a YouTube contest where patrons are invited to submit videos about "How I have fun at the Library" to win an MP3 player. What I think is especially cool is how DPL is tying this contest in with its eVolver MySpace site. [DPL librarians: If you're out there, please let us know how this goes.]

This is consumer-generated media (CGM) in action! Neilsen BuzzMetrics has a nice overview of CGM with suggested readings, including a vocabulary guide, to help you learn what it is and how to use it.

Thanks for the heads-up, Bob!

Categories: promising_promotions | real_life

Monday, December 11, 2006

Planning for promotion campaigns: Tips and tools you can use offers a Marketing Calendar Template to supplement the article, "Creating and Using a Marketing Calendar Effectively." Since we're about to enter a new calendar year, it seems like a good time to talk about planning, particularly promotion planning. I find the template to be a little sparse, but it is a decent starting point.

When I was studying Integrated Marketing Communications, we were tasked with developing a promotion campaign complete with budget, schedule, etc. I learned a few invaluable lessons during that class that have proven useful in my work. Here are the big ones:

1. Think frequency: Depending on who you listen to, you'll find that it takes AT LEAST 3 repetitions for someone to remember an advertising message. Three. If you're pinning your hopes to one ad in a newspaper that runs one time, then you're probably going to be disappointed in the results. Plus, there's no guarantee that your target audience will actually see every ad you place. For these reasons, it's necessary to place multiple ads in multiple vehicles before people take notice. To choose the right vehicles, think about all the points of contact your target audience has with various media (bulletin boards, magazines/newspapers, Web sites, on-board bus signage, etc.) and determine if they would work for your message and budget.

2. Integrate: The whole point of Integrated Marketing Communications is to focus on the customer's perspective and to create a consistent message/image across all media. Do the elements of your promotion campaign reinforce or compete with one another? Consistency can help boost the overall strength and effectiveness of your campaign.

3. Know your goals: Advertisers adopt numerous theories and models in their work. The model we focused on most was AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action). The argument here is that customers move through these 4 3 stages before taking an action, particularly for high-involvement purchases. Therefore, a promotion campaign for a new service should build up to taking action (using the service) by first making people aware the service exists, then obtaining their interest, and so on. (Note: Some argue that for lower-risk/involvement purchases, an emotional appeal is other models are more effective, but that's for another post.) A good question to ask yourself is, What do I want my promotion campaign to accomplish? Maybe you only want to generate awareness. However, if you want to prompt patrons to use a particular service, you may want to build up to that by arousing their awareness/interest/desire first through a series of promotions that describe what the service is, how it benefits patrons, etc. Whatever the case, pick a goal and a means of measuring whether or not you achieved it. Keep in mind that sometimes a promotion campaign is process, rather than a one-shot initiative.
[Update: In retrospect, I realize I've given this whole AIDA business short shrift. There's a lot more to this "think-feel-do" model and its implications than what I've discussed here. I'll give it more focused attention in the future.]

4. Your message is your competitive advantage: Ideally, your service has some kind of competitive advantage that makes it different from all of the other options out there. It could be your ability to tailor the service to your community's needs, for example. Whatever "it" is, make sure to tell patrons about it over and over again. Your competitive advantage is your reason for being and your most compelling asset - use it!

5. All good things must come to an end: Promotion campaigns weren't meant to last forever. Some last for a few weeks, others for a few months, and a select few could run for a few years or more. As part of your planning, determine how long you will persist with your campaign to reach your goals. Once you've accomplished your goals, ditch the campaign or, if successful, refresh it. Nothing is worse than a stale campaign that won't go away.

As you can probably tell already, planning and implementing a promotion campaign is a complicated process that involves an in-depth knowledge of your intended audience. To help with planning, I'm making available a sample promotion schedule (Excel file) that I've used and like fairly well as it helps me to visualize all of the various stages, vehicles, and how they fit together. It's very basic, but you can adapt it as you see fit. For example, you might want to include a column or separate sheet for costs. Also, don't forget to schedule in any assessment you plan on conducting. Let me know if it helps!

Promotion isn't my primary responsibility, but it is closely related to my work in service planning and delivery. Those of you who do promotion full-time may have some insights of your own to share and I'd love to hear about them!

Update: Of course, a tip I should have added is that promotion is not just about getting your word out. It's also about listening to and conversing with patrons. But you knew that already, right? ;-)

Categories: promising_promotions | tips_to_try

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Who's #1?

If your answer to "Who's #1 in your organization?" is customers, think again. The more I learn about services marketing the more I've come to realize that employees should be the #1 concern for any service provider.

In 1984, Richard Normann developed the concept, "moment of truth", which basically refers to any instance in which a customer comes into contact with any aspect of a business. Each of these points of contact has an effect on how customers perceive a business and whether or not they'll use its services. Think about the points of contact for a library. Most of them involve library staff directly, or, like in the case of Web resources, behind-the-scenes. The moment of truth is also where your marketing plans live or die. So, who are you going to trust with these life-and-death moments? Staff! Preferably, well-trained, happy staff. If staff aren't willing and able to help patrons, all of your attention to patron needs/wants will be for nothing.

I've mentioned before that there is a terrific blog by Sybil Stershic, former Chairman of the American Marketing Association and very nice lady, that focuses on internal marketing and communication. While all her posts are educational, a couple stood out to me because they address a common problem: lack of employee buy-in. Sybil addresses both the cause of employee resistance to marketing and what to do about it. Her advice addresses all stages of implementing a marketing plan - before, during, and after. One of her suggestions is to recognize and reward employee participation. In a comment, I asked if she has some specific examples of recognition/award programs that work well. She contacted me to let me know that she wants to think about it some more and will respond in a forthcoming post. Of course, I'll let you know when it's up. For now, enjoy these two great posts on an important topic. Please share your ideas too!

If you still need more insights into helping employees to help customers, the Corante Marketing Hub has an excellent piece by Olivier Blanchard on aligning employee experiences with customer experiences, along with plenty of suggested readings.

[On a somewhat related note, if you want to read more about "moments of truth," there is a book by that title written by Jan Carlzon in the late 80's. The book describes how Carlzon turned Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) around to become a success. While it may seem dated, the approach Carlzon used still seems fairly progressive even by today's standards ("focus on the customer, encouraging risk-taking, delegating more authority to front-line employees, and eliminating vertical levels of hierarchy"). I'm going to put it on my To Read list.]

Categories: tips_to_try | usable_theories

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Cool new tool from RSS4Lib - WOMBLINK

Ken Varnum is officially a great guy! Based on posts from LM and RSS4Lib, and some resulting commentary, Ken took it upon himself to develop a quick-and-easy way for libraries to spread the word about their services. He created a tool called WOMBLINK (Word of Mouth Blog Link) that enables librarians to generate a piece of code for their Web sites that creates a "Blog This" link. The link allows bloggers to copy another HTML code into their posts that directs readers to the library site of interest. (Check out Ken's explanation for details). The idea here is that librarians can make it easy for patrons to spread the word about library news and service.

Ken was kind enough to let me be one of the WOMBLINK guinea pigs and I have to say it works very well! Give it a try and let Ken know if you have any suggestions or comments (


Categories: technology_tools

Monday, December 04, 2006

Obedience training for pet projects

It's hard to let go of a project or initiative that you were instrumental in getting off the ground. However, this MarketingProfs article advises doing just that and offers tips on how to achieve a healthy perspective for the greater good.

Categories: tips_to_try

Friday, December 01, 2006

A glimpse into the next tech-ade

The Federal Trade Commission (somewhat) recently concluded its conference, Protecting Consumers in the Next Tech-Ade. The Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) reports that the conference, "featured experts from the business, government, and technology sectors, as well as consumer advocates and academics, all discussing how changes in demographics, marketing practices, and technology will affect future consumers." The FTC maintained blog coverage of the events, including discussions about RFID, nanotechnology, Web 2.0 topics, demographics, and privacy to name some. You may be surprised to find how most of these discussions are very much like those that take place in librarian circles, like this one on consumers' attitudes toward blogs and Web sites. I've only just skimmed the surface of the FTC blog but I'm finding many relevant and interesting insights and reports. I hope you will too! If you'd like to point out any particularly good nuggets of info, please write about them in a comment.

Categories: excellent_events