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March 2005
Volume 14 Number 3

In This Issue

National Library Week Sampler
What is Market Segmentation?
A Grand Slam Promo!
Digital Libraries Network
The Library
Law Librarians Candid Camera
Libraries Matter
Library Literary Festivals
John Cotton Dana PR Awards
Golden Opportunities

A Note From Chris
This issue of Marketing Treasures is packed with ideas and resources! We begin with a sampling of National Library Week activities being planned by various libraries and information service centers. We think you’ll be inspired by the diversity of the activities—from book drives to food for fines to essay contests.

You’ll find a nice assortment of resources and ideas described in the Pearls of Wisdom section, including the “Libraries Matter” bracelet awareness campaign created by the Alliance Library System in Illinois.

As you plan for National Library Week, don’t forget to visit the Marketing Treasures Resources web page where you’ll find links to resources we’ve run across in our travels.

Look for our next issue April 20, when our feature article will consider library newsletters. Are they communications tools or an information service?


Chris Olson Signature

Chris Olson

National Library Week Celebration Sampler

It’s time to celebrate! National Library Week (April 10-16) is upon us. Intended as a way to recognize the contributions of libraries and librarians as well as promote library use and support, National Library Week has been observed annually since the American Library Association (ALA) first sponsored it in 1958.

But are you ready? If the big week snuck up on you this year don’t go crazy trying to determine the best way for your library to mark the occasion. We’ve compiled list of ideas intended to help you kick-start your plans. Here’s a sampling of how National Library Week is being celebrated around the United States:

> The Environmental Protection Agency Library in Research Triangle Park, NC will mark National Library Week in conjunction with Earth Week. Celebrations will include an open house where attendees can pick up recycled pencils and “seeded” bookmarks that can be planted in the ground. Library Director, April Errickson, tells us that this year the library will be the collection spot for children's book donations that will go to the new childcare facility. There will also be trivia quizzes about libraries and the environment and a book swap where people can "recycle" books from home that others can take away for free.

> The information center serving the Massachusetts offices of defense and aerospace systems supplier Raytheon is running a “Books for Troops Drive." The last book drive this library hosted gathered more than 2,000 titles that were distributed to units in Asia and VFW hospitals. They’ve partnered with the National Guard Public Affairs Office to insure success for this year’s event. Technical Librarian, Laurie Allen, hopes colleagues in other special library settings run similar book drives.

> The Marshall County Public Library System in Kentucky will waive overdue fines if violators stop by during National Library week and drop off canned or other non-perishable food items. All items will be donated to local food pantries.

> The PPG Industries Library in Monroeville, Pennsylvania is using National Library Week to tell their customers how the library is a life preserver of information in helping them do their jobs. Not only will they give away lifesaver lollipops as a sweet reminder to rely on the library, they’ll push the importance of keeping up on the information services they offer. Vendors will be on hand to help with training and to give away goodies. Subscriptions, t-shirts, notepads, playing cards and stress balls are among the items library visitors will receive.

> The Illinois State Milner Library marks National Library Week each year by inviting a children or young adult author to speak to their community of future educators. This year Sue Macy, author of books such as, “Girls Got Game” and “Barbie: Shooting Hoops,” will discuss her works. The library will also give away pens, magnets, lanyards and post-in notes to students.

> The Herb Society of America Library will host a drawing where members have the opportunity to win books on topics such as bloodroot, gardening in small spaces and ideas for using garlic.

> The Plain City Public Library in Ohio is hoping to encourage budding authors in their customer base by running an essay contest. In 250 words or less, all written works will answer the question, “What is the Best Thing The Plain City Public Library Offers?”

> In keeping with the ALA-set theme for National Library Week, “Something for Everyone @ your library,” the Frankfort Community Public Library in Indiana and the Unitah County Library in Utah seem to have planned events for literally every age group they serve. Special story times for toddlers and other age groups, a free genealogy class, lectures, author visits and giveaways for adults and kids alike are only some of the promotions they’ve scheduled.

For more scheduled events planned by academic, public and school libraries visit:

From scavenger hunts and student pizza nights to career planning workshops and direct mailings to new community members, more ideas on how to promote your library’s programs, services and staff during National Library Week are available on ALA’s website:

Information provider LexisNexis wants libraries to take celebrations a step further. They’re encouraging libraries to reach beyond National Library Week by using it as a platform for promoting information services throughout the year. Stressing that the relationship between a library and the organization or community it serves is a partnership for success. LexisNexis has designed a toolkit loaded with ideas and materials to inspire yearlong promotions. You can find it at

If you’re still searching for a promotion that fits into your library culture, there are even more ideas to be found in this issue of Marketing Treasures.

The ALA and Major League Baseball have teamed up for the "Join the Major Leagues @ Your Library" program. To find out more, read “A Grand Slam Promo” in Promo Gems.

Inspired by Lance Armstrong’s hugely successful “Live Strong” bracelets, the “Libraries matter” bracelet was developed by the Alliance Library System of Illinois. It is currently for sale in 16 states. To find out more, read “Libraries matter” in Pearls of Wisdom.

Well, now that you have some ideas in hand, you might want to get some ALA gear to help you spruce up your library or information center. Posters, bookmarks, window clings, cardholders and all sorts of other merchandise are for sale at: And, don’t forget National Library Workers’ Day on Tuesday, April 12th with this year's theme "Libraries Work Because We Do."

Treasure Tips
What is Market Segmentation?
Market segmentation is the process by which library users are grouped into smaller subgroups of customers. It’s a good idea to do this because offering the same marketing mix to vastly different customers doesn’t work. After all, your clients and their information needs aren’t all the same and should not be treated as they are. Whenever possible, you’ll want to customize or tailor your library marketing mix for specific target markets within your client base. Market segmentation is the key to understanding the different audiences within that base and what their specific information needs and research interests are.

A market segment should be:

- - Measurable and identifiable
- - Accessible by communication and distribution channels
- - Different in its response to the marketing mix
- - Durable (not changing too quickly)
- - Large enough to be profitable or to show a return on investment

Just like when slicing a pie, market segments can be sliced up in different portions. For instance, you wouldn’t segment your customer market the same way you’d divide the business, industrial or lifestyles they come from.

There are four primary bases on which to segment a customer market. They include:

1. Geographic segmentation: a community library would base this on regional variables such as climate, population density and growth rate. A company information center would want to look at groups within the corporation and which organizations are growing.

2. Demographic segmentation: demographics can include age, gender, ethnicity, religion, education, occupation, income and family status. Depending on the type of library you’re marketing, demographics can also include company groups, titles and job responsibilities.

3. Psychological segmentation: values, lifestyle, personality and attitudes are some of the variables in this segmentation. A great way for a community library to measure this would be to look at grass roots organizations regularly meeting in the building.

4. Behavioral segmentation:
this is usage rate and patterns. This can be determined by examining which library services are most heavily used and which aren’t, the types of research conducted in your center and what the outcome of the library’s assistance in that research has been.

Many of the customer market segmentation bases can also be applied to business segmentation but the different nature of business markets makes it often necessary to segment on the following bases as well:

> Customer type: based on factors such as size of the community or company the library serves. In a corporate library, you could determine these factors by looking at the company groups or organizations that are frequent users of company information services.

> Buyer behavior: based on factors such as loyalty to the library, usage patterns of the information services and frequency of patronage.

Thinking about your library as a business can help you utilize what business marketers have already gleaned from market segmentation. Market segmentation can help you:

- - Better match customer needs: As already stated, no two customers are the same; hence, their needs differ. Because of this, it only makes sense to create separate offerings for each segment.

- - Better opportunities for growth: Market segmentation can build sales or in the case of libraries, recurring usage by encouraging loyal customers to regularly depend on the services you have to offer.

- - Retain more customers:
By targeting customers with products that appeal to their particular information needs, a library can retain customers who might switch to other information products such as the Internet or information brokers.

- - Target marketing communications: If your target market is too broad, you risk missing key customers. Segmenting markets can help insure the right marketing message to the relevant customer.

The next time you create a promotional flyer or develop a product, consider your target audience and their market segment characteristics to ensure you're not making the proverbial left-handed wiget for right-handed customers.

Promotion Gems
A Grand Slam Promo!
Librarians can hit one out of the park for their library by joining the major leagues. Step up to the plate and take advantage of this year’s baseball promotion program created by the American Library Association and Major League Baseball: Join the Major Leagues @ Your Library Program.

Centered around an online baseball trivia contest, the program encourages participants to find their answers by using the resources at their local public library. The idea is to help library customers build their information literacy skills. If boning up on your trivia of the All-American game isn’t incentive enough for you, how does going to the World Series sound? One lucky grand prizewinner will win a trip to a designated game.

Supported by ALSC, PLA, REFORMA, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum, the first 100 libraries to register with the program will receive a free Jackie Robinson poster from ALA Graphics and a Join the Major Leagues @ your library t-shirt (one per library).

If a trivia contest and information literacy don’t fit in your organizational culture, consider adapting the baseball theme to your promotion campaign coming up this summer. Baseball offers plenty of metaphors and phrases which can serve to broadcast value messages. If your environment demands a more subdued visibility campaign, consider spotlighting a subject area of your library that can be tied to baseball, for instance, medical libraries and sports medicine. Or if you’re planning a survey, tie it to your baseball promotion campaign by having a drawing for those who complete the survey for a pair of baseball game tickets or an autographed player photo. How about your “team” line-up or profiling a staff member as “who’s at bat” or “who’s covering first base”. If you adopt the baseball theme and bring on a new staff member, think about highlighting their skills and knowledge just like teams do when they “sign” a new player.

The best part of the baseball theme is that it “has legs” and can run for several months—from spring training to the World Series. It gives you enough time to integrate the theme across all your customer brand touch points, including web sites and pages, packaging, and presentations. And don’t overlook the baseball awards which can be tied to great information service… Golden Glove Award, being inducted into the Hall of Fame, or being recognized as the game’s Most Valuable Player.

We could go on and on, but now it’s your turn. To download the free promotion program materials for Join the Major Leagues @ Your Library program, including bookmarks, posters and a toolkit full of programming ideas and sample press materials, visit:

Pearls of Wisdom
Digital Libraries Network Promotion Materials
The National Electronic Library for Health (NHS) have created a number of items designed to promote and maintain the profile of digital libraries in the UK. Medical librarians and info pros working in health-related information services looking for ideas may want to take a virtual stroll over to The site includes a production-on-demand concept which allows you to make-up and personalize your own posters, leaflets, certificates, and signs using pre-designed templates with production instructions. While librarians outside of the NHS network might not want materials with the NHS logo on them, we think this site should spark ideas for regional networks, library consortiums, and groups of information professionals looking to boost their visibility with low cost materials created through an economies-of-scale production effort.

The Library
Looking for inspiration? We caught this colorful and fun library promotion video on a web site based in the UK. Even thought it’s been around since December 2003, we think it deserves a mention. Make sure your sound is turned on!

Law Librarians Candid Camera
"A Day in the Life of the Law Library Community" photo contest is being sponsored by the Public Relations Committee of the American Association of Law Libraries. During National Library Week AALL members (only) are invited to participate in a nationwide photo contest that will document law librarians working, meeting, teaching, and doing all that law librarians accomplish in a given work week.

Libraries Matter
The Alliance Library System of Illinois has launched an awareness campaign that will look great with your wardrobe. The Libraries Matter bracelet acts as a simple reminder of something that is too often forgotten, the importance of libraries in our communities. All proceeds from selling the bracelets will go to participating libraries.

Currently available in 16 states, bracelets can be purchased individually or in larger quantities. The intent of the bracelets is two-fold: not only do they give those wearing them bragging rights about their commitment to support libraries, but the bracelets will also drive potential financial backers to the Libraries Matter website. Once there, supporters can pick from a list of worthy library projects in need of funding. The goal is to focus attention on library causes and let donors have the opportunity to select those near and dear to their hearts.

To find out how your library can participate or view the list of library projects in need of donors, visit: Out-of-state orders for bracelets received by April 1 will be filled in time for National Library Week.

Library Literary Festivals Can Be the Ultimate Connection
“Literary festivals offer a unique proposition to libraries…” observes Beth Dempsey in her article “Literary Festivals, Library Style” in the February 15, 2005 issue of Library Journal. More and more libraries are hosting literary festivals as they seek additional funding sources and generate visibility opportunities. This article not only provides a nice overview of festivals and considerations for running an event, but it also leads to a list of festivals being compiled by Rebecca Miller. Read the article at Review the list of festivals at

John Cotton Dana Library PR Awards
Congratulations to the winners of the 2005 John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award! You can review the winning entries at the John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award booth in the exhibit area during the 2005 ALA Annual Conference, June 23-29, in Chicago or attend the "Best of Show/Swap and Shop" program on June 25.

Golden Opportunities
April 4-5. Library Marketing That Works! Two-day workshop on the basic tools and tactics needed to conduct a successful marketing campaign for your library. Led by Suzanne Walters for BCR (Bibliographical Center for Research)

April 8-9. Birds, Banners, and Branding: Marketing the UTSA Library Instruction Program; Developing a Winning Marketing Campaign Through Collaboration; Connecting People With the Library: The Effective Academic Library Newsletter. A few of the marketing topic poster sessions at the Association of College and Research Libraries conference.

April 13-15. Visibility for Libraries: Communicating Our Vision. Joint conference of Kentucky Special Libraries Section and the Kentucky Chapter of the Special Libraries Association. Featured speakers: Judith Siess, Information Bridges International, speaking on The Visible Librarian: Marketing and Advocacy, and Bruce Crocco, OCLC, who will share how libraries are marketing their services.

May 19. Proving Your Worth: Professional Business, Marketing, and Political Tools.
Medical Library Association Conference workshop #101. Learn to use business, marketing and political skills to convey the value of information services.

June 4. Branding 101: What it Takes to Build a Library Brand. Learn the basic strategies for creating and managing a library brand (half-day workshop)
June 5. Planning Library Promotion Campaigns.
Step through the process of planning a campaign and apply your new knowledge on a promotion planning team. (half-day workshop)
June 6. Communicating with Clients: Innovations and Inspiration. (presentation)
led by Chris Olson at the Special Libraries Association conference in Toronto.

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(c) 1987-2005 Christine A. Olson
Chris Olson & Associates : 857 Twin Harbor Drive : Arnold : Maryland 21012 USA

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Chris Olson & Associates helps information professionals with their marketing and communications activities. Projects range from service make-overs and brand development, to product portfolio management and web site marketing strategies, to promotion campaigns and logo identity systems. Clients around the world benefit from the insights and more than 20 years experience Chris brings to projects. Marketing team coach, management partner, product developer, brand advocate, web site designer—these are just a few of the consulting assignments Chris undertakes with high-powered energy and unlimited ideas. Chris Olson stands ready to be your personal marketing advisor.

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