Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

Good Read #006: It’s All About the User

August 6, 2010 Comments off

I don’t consider myself to be an expert marketeer. While I understand the purpose, value, and need of promotional efforts, marketing has never been one of my strong suits. I continue to look to others for guidance and training in this area.

That is what drew me to the book Marketing Today’s Academic Library: A Bold New Approach to Communicating with Students by Brian Mathews. What I found was an engaging, well-crafted text with a clear thesis and a fresh approach to marketing in academic libraries. A quote from the publisher’s description best describes the purpose of the book:

Most library marketing intended for undergraduates promotes the collection, reference and instructional service, and occasional events such as guest speakers or exhibits. The guiding principle of Marketing Today’s Academic Library is that marketing should focus on the lifestyle of the user, showcasing how the library fits within the daily life of the student.

Bottom line: In all academic library marketing efforts, the student–the library user–should always be front-and-center.

The book flows well from chapter to chapter and is filled with valuable insights and advice for anyone interested in employing marketing strategies for their library. And, yes, while the book is specifically targeted towards those in academic libraries, there are useful nuggets of information to be found for those working in any type of library. I would even argue for its benefit to other departments on the academic campus or anyone serving students in general. If nothing else, Mathews’ insights on understanding today’s student are worth reading.

Mixed in with philosophical discussion of marketing to students, you will find plenty of practical advice and examples of how to engage in the various stages of marketing efforts. As a result Mathews has presented an excellent resource for those wishing to engage in library promotion and, more importantly, improving the student experience.

A few quotes from the book…

My objective in not to persuade you that libraries should embrace marketing methods, but rather to demonstrate the possibility of creating a richer library experience. (p. 1)

Promotional efforts must be social in nature, aimed at starting conversations instead of simply treating our users as a captive audience. (p. 2)

…instead of simply focusing on generating awareness or even just increasing use of resources, we should approach…our marketing as a chance to elevate the role of the library in our student’s minds. …We are not just providing more books, more journals, more computers, more staff to help them, but rather more relevance. (p. 141)

A basic outline of the book…

Chapter 1 — Making a case for marketing/advertising in libraries

Chapter 2 — Understanding the characteristics and activities that help define today’s students

Chapter 3 — Understanding student “need states” (that is, what they need in the academic setting)

Chapter 4 — Understanding and identifying those things that the library has to offer

Chapter 5 — Techniques and tips on ways to conduct marketing research in order to guide your advertising campaign

Chapter 6 — Realizing the importance of building relationships with library users and ways to go about doing so

Chapter 7 — Strategies and techniques for branding the library and its products

Chapter 8 — Presentation of practical “building blocks” that can make up the various pieces of a promotional campaign

Chapter 9 — Advice on designing the promotional message to be shared

Chapter 10 — Measuring and assessing the promotional campaign

Chapter 11 — An offering of practical lessons learned along the way by Mathews as well as a collection of promotional campaign examples


Work in an academic library? Looking for ways to effectively promote your resources and services to students? Want to “elevate the role of the library” for your students? I recommend Mathews’ book.


Adding Value to Social Networking

June 30, 2010 Comments off

Yesterday I was checking my email and found a message from one of our library vendors, Gaylord Brothers, in my inbox. Nothing unusual. We get those all the time. It was for a sale promotion. Again, no surprises here. However, this particular email caught my attention because it was pointing me to the Gaylord Facebook fan page and a discount offer that is directly tied to their Facebook presence.

Become a fan and reap the benefits of an exclusive offer. That is building connections that can be fostered and enhanced. That is adding value.

Social networking, particularly Facebook, now permeates our everyday lives. (I know this is true because even my mother now has a Facebook account.) For anyone with a service to offer–a company, an organization, a library–social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare are ripe platforms for bringing what you have to offer to customers, users, patrons, etc. We connect. We market. We bring value. We service. We all win.

If you are part of an organization and have something to offer, are you regularly using or experimenting with social networking sites to connect with people? If not, there is no better time than the present. Look at what others like you are doing with social networking. Create your own organizational account on one or two popular social networking sites and test the waters. If you are already using social networking, are you moving beyond connections to find ways of adding value to those connections? How can we not only stay in touch with people, letting them know what we have to offer, but also give them actual opportunities to make those connections worthwhile?

A few ideas:

  • A giveaway for retweeting one of your tweets
  • A special offer for the person with the most check-ins at your site with one of the location-based social networks
  • Promoting your Facebook fan page as a place to ask questions on the spot
  • For libraries: Sending a status update on Facebook or Twitter that offers a “library fine forgiveness” to the first X number of people who visit the library and mention the status update

Adding value to our social networking efforts. It’s in the game plan for our library this coming academic year.