Monday, March 12, 2012

Library Marketing Toolkits 101 / Patience Frederiksen

This session focused on an overview of marketing in a library setting.  Marketing  is defined as a set of processes for creating a relationship with patrons.  It includes public relations (trying to influence how people feel about the library), advocacy  (type of marketing we use to communicate, advertisements (paid) and promotion (posters, stickers, etc.).
Why do we need marketing?  Patience outlined it:
1)  Libraries are not only game in town!
2)  Competition /internet, ebooks, book stores
3)  Marketing is necessary for new services to validate these services
3)  Marketing helps libraries remain relevant by increasing usage of library

Marketing can help the library adapt to changing times by demonstrating VALUE to the community.  In my case, that would be finding ways of gently (and perhaps more overtly) reminding students and staff of the library programs and services they can get from us. 

Patience also cited the idea that librarians often assume they know what their patrons want/need; marketing research can help us learn more about these needs and wants.  But this really is making me examine my own professional situation and makes me wonder whether I am guilty of making assumptions about what my students and staff need and want from the library.  Hmmmm...this session certainly made me more cognizant of that possibility!

The presentation described two kinds of marketing:  the Classic Approach using four steps:  Research, plan, communicate and evaluate; and the Guerrilla Marketing Approach: 7 sentences to a marketing plan - What to do, When it will happen, How to achieve it, Who will do it, How much will it cost, and How success will be measured.  I like the seven sentences - just seems more do-able to me, realistic and relatively straightforward.  And maybe I just like the idea of being a library guerrilla.

One main takeaway for me was the idea that before the year 2000 (and that was only 12 years ago!!!), libraries did not have the kind of competition from the Internet and full-service bookstores that now exists.  Since then, libraries have had to advocate and fight for their place in the world.  I got my MLS degree in 1999 - no wonder it feels like I've been advocating, advocating, advocating ever since.  It's an exciting time to be in the library business!

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