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Summary: Thursday 21st July 2011 – Library Marketing and Promotion

Summary of  the second #uklibchat discussion:
1.  Have you experienced any particularly effective library marketing campaigns?
2. What methods do you feel are effective for marketing a library?
  • Viral effective e.g. Old Spice and Library Ireland video. “Wow” factor but possibly exclusive and may end up being naff if not careful
  • Capitalising on anger re. public library closures
  • Face to face e.g. open day at a university
  • Use media students to design posters etc.
  • Leeds Shhh! Library bags
3.  How do libraries select a target demographic? And is it detrimental to the service by narrowing their focus?
  • Not detrimental – need innovative segmenting to succeed
  • Libraries can be unscientific in their targeting
  • Local public libraries should target less than others
  • Example of poor segmentation – Hail to the V Campaign (non-library, NSFW) http://t.co/bQNJ0B6
  • Vox pop style segmented marketing celebrating diverse range of users
 4 Does the library need a clearer selling point?
  •  “Marketing information services is much harder than marketing coca cola”
  •  Hard to market if you’re not clear what you’re marketing
  • “They save people time” as clear selling point
  • Selling points and USPs vary depending on location/sector/needs of community
  • “You said, we did” could demonstrate clear selling points. Though possibly too general
  • “Good information saves lives” – from CILIP Defining Our Professional Future Discussion
  • Libraries as a trusted source of information
  • Identify customer needs. In some HE libraries, subject librarian role is expanding into customer account planning
  • Resounding answer to this question is YES!
5. How do we explain what it is that the library DOES?
  • As undergraduates, many people said they didn’t know what libraries and librarians did
  • Different libraries send out different messages so it’s not a clear brand
  • Suggestion that we all tell a friend what we do to start busting myths. Others agreed and also reacted to this by suggesting that we do this by taking part in the Library Day In The Life project. Building on this – follow what was suggested by Megan Wiley at New Professionals Conference – share your Day In The Life entry with a non-library colleague (could use Google + to do this)
  • Promoting 3 core values or principles could be the way to go.
  • Saying what we are rather than what we do – see Lush bags, also see this TED Talk http://t.co/tBusaiV
  • Ironic – the things that we’re traditionally known for we still do – BUT better
6. How do we reach non-users?
  •  Bookcase in Cheam train station. Unofficial ‘library’ for commuters that advertises the local libraries. Think how many read on public transport http://yfrog.com/kkagihrj
  • Use Library Day In The Life blog entries (see answers to Q5). Also suggested that you adapt it as a Day In The Life for non-library audience. Publish in library newsletter, local paper, local social media etc.
7. How do you convince management that marketing is necessary when they stubbornly refuse to see it?
  • Marketing is a misleading term – it’s just communication. Why would you not want to communicate what the library is doing?
  • Marketing is ‘identifying and satisfying customer requirements’ according to Chartered Institute of Marketing
  • Management could be concerned about increasing demand and expectation to a level of service that a library is unable to provide
  • Several said that they found management were largely positive about marketing in their experience
  • But management didn’t always have the budget or time to make marketing a priority
  • Can have problem of central marketing department making restrictions on library marketing department
  • Important to use tool of bizspeak as people view libraries as businesses.
  • Although it was also felt that libraries are not always perceived as businesses, so bizspeak not always appropriate
8. How do you join up marketing with other departments making best use of budget to reach a common target audience?
  • Central comms can offer additional support/resources/advice
  • Rules of central marketing can unfortunately prevent this happening
9. How do you demonstrate the ROI (Return On Investment) of social media marketing?
  • Brand awareness study (are we at this stage yet though?)
  • Annual users survey. Could put questions in there about social media marketing
  • Quantify time spent on social marketing (using free tools) and measure any increase in visits (footfall or hits)
  • [Web] analytics
  • Remember user attitude important as well as statistics like footfall
  • Individual library Twitter feeds get fed to widget on central library site, so reaching a wider audience than number of followers shown
  • Reward social media engagement with an extra book out
10. Are online reward and check-in programmes (like GetGlue and Foursquare) the way forward?
11. What/who do you think your competitors are?  Why is the library better?
  • Neutral space – “you bring your agenda, not accept someone else’s” (I love this quote – Ed). 
  • Library as community hub
  • Amazon, Google do some of the things libraries offer better
  • Marketing often more about partnerships than competition with other organisations
  • How it is funded and how widely it attempts to represent sectors beyond public
  • Should focus on library space and value of staff in marketing
  • Lovely staff – who aren’t trying to sell something unwanted/unneeded
  • University bookshop as competitor – they are emphasising good communication with lecturers
  • Does Amazon host book groups for the visually impaired?
12. What should the next #uklibchat be about?
Suggested topics were:
  • Increasing awareness across sectors/Breaking down barriers inside the profession
  • Ebooks
It was decided that ebooks would be the next session, although the first suggestion should also be a topic in the future.
13.  Miscellaneous. A couple of things discussed were not necessarily answers to questions but grew out of the general discussion
  • Bad library marketing campaigns are unfocused and don’t know their target market.
  • “Find us on Facebook” is bad marketing
  • Bad form to not put things like opening hours and URLS in your adverts.
  • Popular idea of National Library Marketing Campiagn – though process issues could make this difficult.  See ALA Love Libraries campaign for inspiration http://t.co/uBp6aFA
General comments:
Thankyou very very much to everyone for taking part. It was great to see both new and old faces at this #uklibchat , including some from the US and Israel. It’s worth mentioning that many #uklibchat participants expressed how much they had enjoyed it, so please feel free to drop by next time if you haven’t already – even if you’re “just” a lurker.

5 comments on “Summary: Thursday 21st July 2011 – Library Marketing and Promotion

  1. Annie Johnson
    July 24, 2011

    Thanks again for hosting and summarising! I’m looking forward to the next chat.

    “Also bad form to put things like opening hours and URLS in your adverts. “Find us on Facebook” is bad marketing” I don’t remember this tweet or what the context was, but shouldn’t this be “to NOT put things like opening hours and URLS in”?

    • sarahcchilds
      July 24, 2011

      Hi Annie. The original tweet read “& putting info like opening hours and URLS in your ads. “Find us on Facebook” is bad marketing.” Thanks for the correction – I’ve now amended it as I think your suggestion is more likely! I have to admit I was flagging towards the end of summarising as the caffeine started to wear off…

  2. Lindsay Richards
    July 27, 2011

    Very sorry to have missed this chat as it has covered a lot of key issues!
    For 10+ years, we have been providing free Public Library Bookmarks to UK Public Libraries, with promotions/designs tailored exactly to what the local libraries need. This is funded by backing sponsorship that we secure that aim to reach the similar library audience.
    We have and still tackled many of the issues above.
    It’s interesting to see over time how the UK PubLibraries have chaged in what they are marketing 10 years ago we were promoting “Books for Babies”, “Life Long Learning”, “Archives, Local Studies” etc… but although these are still being promoted, current topics are “ebooks”, “Online Resources”, “Online Catalogues”, “Teen themes”, etc We are currently in a position of moving more to more commercial sponsorship as well as the previously used Government and “public services” sponsorship. Commercial organisations are keen to join up sponsor and back material that the library may give out.
    Any feedback welcome…

  3. I know this is old, but just in case anyone looks at it:

    1) I’m surprised no one mentioned outreach! Meeting actual librarians and realising they’re not shushing demons is a real game changer for a lot of non-users. Knowing even just one friendly face in the library encourages people to come in. So going out into the community and talking to local people is a very important type of marketing.

    2) Library websites are important. So many of them are drab, difficult to navigate, and infrequently updated (because the updating process is often bureaucratic and removed from staff). This is a serious problem, as it makes our libraries look dated and boring, even if they’re anything but.

    In my experience a friendly chat with a group of non-users yields greater interest in the library than a well-designed poster. And a bad, difficult-to-navigate website can deter anyone who’s even slightly internet savvy.

    • Ka-Ming
      February 9, 2012

      Hi thanks for commenting!

      I agree with your points! A badly designed website can make a library feel ‘out of date’ ! We hope to run a chat on outreach as a topic in the future

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This entry was posted on July 23, 2011 by in Discussion Summaries and tagged , , , , .


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