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A Note From Chris

The words "slogan" and "tagline" are tossed around as if they are synonyms. We set the record straight in our lead article, Slogans & Taglines. There is A Difference!

At the Medical Library Association conference held in May, members of the Marketing Special Interest Group (SIG) got together and shared their marketing ideas, experiences and achievements. Elizabeth Smigielski, the SIG coordinator, provides us with a great summary brief which places us at the table with marketing-minded colleagues.

Look for our next issue July 20th, when we will be including coverage of the ALA Swap and Shop PR Make-over Event, and more.


Chris Olson

Slogans & Taglines. There is A Difference!
In this era of brand marketing, more and more people are taking notice of the sentences and phrases which frequently follow a logo or conclude a promotion message. Called taglines and slogans, the best of them sum up a thought or conjure up a brand image that is memorable, recognizable, and most importantly, delivers a message.

Although they are often confused for one another, taglines and slogans are not the same nor are they interchangeable. Slogans change with an organization’s advertising and promotion campaign whereas a tagline can remain virtually unchanged for years as it helps to position a brand in the marketplace. For example, the current American Library Association (ALA) phrase “@ your library” is the root slogan for great advertising campaigns. The phrase is not constructed to be a brand tagline. If you find the difference between a tagline and a slogan to be very slim, you’re not alone. Sometimes an advertising campaign slogan is so closely aligned to the concept behind the brand tagline that it is difficult to distinguish between them. Sometimes managers of new brands use a slogan to launch the brand, and then replace the slogan with a tagline to stablize and finetune brand perceptions. To pinpoint specific differences between a slogan and a tagline, consider the following definitions:

A slogan is a short, memorable advertising phrase, statement or guiding principle that helps create interest for a company or product. When used consistently across all promotion activities, a slogan can become an important element of identification in a person’s perception of the company or its products. Originating from the Scottish word for “war cry,” slogans have been an integral part of consumer advertising since the mid-1800s. Some examples include:

The World On Time – FedEX
Drivers Wanted – Volkswagen
It Pays To Discover – Discover Card
Let your fingers do the walking – Yellow Pages
Breakfast of Champions - Wheaties

On the other hand, a tagline captures the essense of a company or product brand. By using carefully chosen words and crafting succinct phrases, a tagline is able to convey the personality of a brand and its unique position in the marketplace. A good tagline also sums up brand benefits and assumes a broader view of the brand than any advertising or promotion campaign slogan. For instance, the Nike “Just Do It” tagline positions the company as more than selling sneakers. The tagline of Apple “Think Different” is larger than computers and captures the company’s attitude and philosophy. Continuing with the ALA example we noted earlier, their tagline is “The Voice of America’s Libraries.” Do you understand how that tagline is different from the promotion slogan “@ your Library”?

Your Information Service Tagline
Friday afternoon, after a long and exhausting week, is not the time to think about a tagline for your brand. First of all, you must thoroughly understand the essence of your brand and be able to express it. Libraries and information services are more than book loaners and question fielders. Each service is unique and each library business is influenced by its marketplace. Expressing the essense of a library brand requires serious thought, a vision, false starts, and a good thesaurus. Don’t be tempted to use your mission statement as a tagline. Mission statements make lousy taglines because they are intended to express how your organization sees itself. A tagline expresses how you want others to perceive you.

Using brainstorming techniques with creative and literate individuals is essential for developing a good tagline. Give yourself plenty of time, both for the actual brainstorming sessions and selecting the best tagline. You might start by expressing the vision of your information services, what you want people to say about your services, and your unique selling position. Think of your tagline as a verbal logo. What do you want it to say?

Promotion Campaign Slogans
We have focused on taglines so far, but don’t take that to mean that slogans are not important. Quite the opposite. Slogans are developed and used to help people take action on the product or service being offered. A slogan can be crafted any number of ways but it always communicates the advertising message of the promotion campaign. Slogans are memorable, short, and dynamic. Sometimes the slogan is a phrase. Recently slogans have started making dramatic impacts by using two or three words which communicate concepts, with each word followed by a period. Like taglines, composing a slogan requires patience, creativity and a good thesaurus.

Additional Considerations
As we said before, the best method for developing your own tagline or promotion slogan is to brainstorm. This works best with a small group of 5 or 6 energetic and creative individuals who are not afraid of suggesting seemingly crazy ideas. Every idea has merit, especially the ones which lead to different perspectives. We prefer to work in a well-lighted room with white boards on the walls, munchies on the table, and several thesauri and dictionaries in hand. People who enjoy completing crossword puzzles and word games should be included in your brainstorming group, along with folks who demonstrate an ability to “think outside the box.” Individuals who are detail-oriented and take everything literally may not make the best brainstormers for a slogan or tagline. Of course, inviting a creative consultant to lead and contribute to the brainstorming sessions can be the best approach, especially during the development of a tagline. An outsider will ask questions about points you take for granted, casting new light on familiar ground.

Ready to put on your thinking cap? Here are some resources to help you create your own tagline and promotion slogans:

The Phrase Thesaurus. This is a service we use to jumpstart our creative thinking. It costs about $50 for an annual subscription, but it saves us so much time that we recoup the cost quickly. This site is especially handy for developing promotion campaign slogans. Combine this resource with a good thesaurus and a pile of catch-phrase and idiom directories, and you’ll be all set. You can test-drive the thesaurus for free at:
is a tagline database service based in the UK. Their web site has articles about taglines and slogans. A section of the database announces promotion slogans recently launched, while another section will give you a list of memorable slogans created over the years.

Here is an article which provides one approach for developing a tagline.
5 Steps for Developing a Tag Line for Your Product, Business, or Website

Treasure Tips
What Is a Clickthrough Rate?
A Clickthrough Rate or CTR is used to describe the percentage of users who click on a link or advertisement displayed on a web site. For example, if two out of every 100 people clicked on a given ad, that ad would be said to have a 2% clickthrough rate, which incidentally is considered to be a very good rate.

While you may not be purchasing banner ads as part of your library promotion mix, you should be measuring and assessing the clickthrough rates from the promotion links embedded on your library web pages and e-mail newsletters. For instance, on your home page you might have a small ad promoting an upcoming event, or perhaps an announcement of a new information service. Embedded in the announcement is a link to a page that provides additional details. To determine the effectiveness of the ad, you should examine the Clickthrough Rate. A low rate is akin to a low response to a paper-based advertisement, and may require rewriting, redesigning, or repositioning the ad to improve its effectiveness. Other times it’s the stickiness -- the length of time people stay engaged on a web page or electronic medium -- which impacts the clickthrough rate of an ad. In other words, the longer a person looks at your library web page or reads your library newsletter, the more they see, which in turn raises the probability that they see your ad and will click on it to learn more.

One of the simplest ways to increase your clickthrough rate is to give your communications distinctive and engaging personalities. On web sites personality can be conveyed by the writing voice -- first person rather than passive tense. In a newsletter, a personal note from the editor (each issue of Marketing Treasures begins with one) lends a personality to the publication, building an engaging relationship between the reader and the publication.

Another technique for improving clickthrough rates is to use emotionally charged words in your promotion copy. The golden mantra of advertising applies -- AIDA -- Attention. Interest. Desire. Action. (see the April 05 issue of Marketing Treasures, Treasure Tips, for more about the Action component) Dynamic words and phrases in the headline of your ad copy will attract attention and generate a higher clickthrough rate by customers who want to learn more. For example, instead of using the tired library advertising line “The Library has so much to offer,” why not generate interest from prospective customers by playing to their need for finding answers and getting information. “Who knew? A Librarian -- That’s Who!” is a advertising headline that is sure to yield a higher clickthrough rate.

Most web site usage tracking packages provide the data to help you analyze clickthrough rates. If you don't have a statistical package tracking and building profiles of your web site visitors, here are a couple to consider.

Open Tracker is a tracking tool built for website analysis. It has an annual subscription fee, but you get a lot of features.

RetroStats is a free service which will track your website’s statistics around the clock and store the information on their servers, at their expense. You can check your stats from anywhere, at any time, using a web browser to login to your RetroStats account.

Web Trends is the tracking service we encounter the most. It is a very robust and comprehensive package that is especially valuable if you are managing a large web site or are responsible for your organization's intranet.

Promotion Gems
Put an RSS Feed into Your Promotion Mix
RSS feeds seem to be offered all over the Internet these days. Perhaps you have begun fielding reference questions about them or your staff has brought them up at marketing meetings. But while RSS is usually associated with blogs, RSS can play a role in your electronic promotion mix too.

Depending on who you ask, RSS stands for "Rich Site Summary," or "Really Simple Syndication." RSS is a lightweight XML format designed for pushing out headlines, information and other web content. Individuals who are interested in specific topics or issues sign-up to receive announcements about new content as it is published. An RSS automates the distribution or “syndicates” web site content to a receptive and targeted audience.

So how does RSS technology fit into your promotion program? Imagine automatically announcing to your customers the latest new arrivals in your journal collection. You can send out snippets about the new titles in your book collection, announce library events, extend special promotion offers -- anything you send out using electronic mail and more, can be sent using RSS.

The advantage of RSS over e-mail distributoin is twofold. First, people have to signup to receive the RSS. This means that they will be receptive to your messages and communications. Second, RSS announcements do not go through e-mail channels. Where an e-mail announcement may be filtered out, an RSS delivery gets through.

Want more ideas? How about providing an immediate way to track the library’s calendar of events (including any last minutes changes to them) or area happenings? For customers who like to conduct their own electronic research, consider starting an RSS feed featuring database search tips. If Google is popular, help people get the most from this and other search engines with a Google usage tips RSS feed. The possibilities are endless! Along the way you can tailor your promotion messages to specific target audiences, because only people with the same interest will sign-up to receive your RSS feeds.

For more information on RSS feeds and how libraries are using them, we suggest the following resources:

RSS and Webfeeds: A Field Guide for Librarians. A PowerPoint presentation by Teri Vogel, Science Librarian, San Diego (5/17/2005)

RSS4Lib: Innovative Ways Libraries use RSS by Ken Varnum.

Pearls of Wisdom
Library Marketing SIG Brief
The Medical Library Association held their annual conference in May at San Antonio, Texas. Among the conference events was the meeting of the association’s Marketing Special Interest Group (SIG). The purpose of the Marketing SIG is to foster the informal exchange of ideas and experiences among colleagues interested in marketing and promotion in health sciences libraries. Marketing Treasures is pleased to offer you a first-hand account of the SIG meeting with all its ideas and pointers, courtesy of Elizabeth Smigielski, the convener of the meeting. Elizabeth has written a generous Brief filled with pragmatic “Pearls” which we now share with you.

Eleven colleagues from academic and hospital health science library settings, including a military hospital library, sat down on May 16th to exchange marketing ideas, observations, and experiences. The thread that linked our discussion was “get the job done.” Since so many of us don’t know where to start with marketing, we shared tips on focusing and distributing marketing responsibilities, effective user assessment, tips and ideas, and evaluating the effectiveness of our activities.

A common problem for all of us is fitting marketing activities into our schedules. Marketing tends to slip as other priorities and demands supplant it. Some suggestions to ensure that marketing continuously happened were:

1.) Form marketing committees or pull other staff members in on projects. One person issues “challenges” to her co-workers, for example, by telling them they must invite five people to an event, or pushing them to come up with two ideas for a display. This divides the workload for her and draws on her colleagues’ resources.
2.) A solo librarian dedicates a certain percentage of her time each week to marketing and sticks to it.
3.) Include activities in a monthly report to your supervisor, thus keeping yourself on track and accountable.

If time is short, then efficiency is critical. Knowing your customers and what they want is the key to effective marketing. While thorough user assessment is ideal, many of us confessed to getting bogged down at the prospect of such a project. These suggestions may help get the wheels going:

1.) Find a customer you know and feel comfortable with, meet with him or her and ask “What do you spend most of your time doing?” “What would you like to spend most of your time doing?” Listen. Don’t barrage them with a list of services and handouts. By listening to one person you will get an idea of their needs and the needs of others like them.
2.) On the spot surveys. Survey everyone who comes in the library during a fixed period of time and ask them two to three quick questions, such as, what is your department, what did you come here for?
3.) Informal feedback from customers, i.e., conversation at the reference desk, responses to articles from newsletters.
4.) Focus groups. These require a considerable time investment, but are worthwhile. Hold them during lunch and include a letter for the participant’s file, especially in an academic institution. Assess results and share them throughout the library to keep the momentum going.
5.) As a heads-up, several people in the meeting spoke about poor results from web-based surveys and surveys mailed with paper newsletters.

Throughout the meeting, lots of great promotion ideas and the means for communicating with customers were shared around the table. The consensus was that humor is the best way to attract attention, but know your organizational culture. What might work for one library may not work for another with a stodgy administration. One library had enormous success with an April Fool’s Day newsletter that users still talk about years later; unfortunately, they were prohibited from continuing it. Another key is to repeat messages. It doesn’t hurt to send the same message in more than one medium or venue.

When it came to discussing the pros and cons of electronic -- and paper-based communications, the group was split. Pros for electronic: it’s free and easy. Negatives included some institutions restricting e-mail privileges; so know the rules before you send. The pluses for paper communications are: people have a tangible item that is less easily overlooked, it allows for lengthier communication, and it can broadcast the library brand. Some downsides to paper are: paper costs money, as does the printing and postage, and it requires design and production time.

There was considerable discussion regarding library newsletters. Some swear by them, despite the cost and time involved (upwards of 25 hours per newsletter). Electronic newsletters are gaining popularity, and anecdotal evidence suggests they are read. Others argue that they get lost in the e-mail abyss. Finally, some advocate dropping the newsletter in favor of one-time, targeted postcards which are simpler and cheaper to produce. The decision depends on your resources and the preferences of your target market. To be practical, a newsletter requires more than one person to produce. Editing and layout alone require substantial time commitments. If you don’t think you can do it, don’t start. There are plenty of other communications channels for broadcasting library messages, including:

1.) Communicate at key venues to optimize your time: faculty meetings, departmental meetings, commander’s report. Having a top administrator give you time emphasizes the importance of the library.
2.) Make an electronic or VHS video introducing the library.
3.) Post signs at busy locations, such as a café, elevator, bathroom stalls.
4.) Create a generic library services business or presentation card, with the library URL, phone number, and a list of services such as lit searches, house calls, classes, etc. Place the card on computer workstations and at service points
5.) Create a house calls coupon for new faculty and staff granting the holder one “free” consultation with a librarian
6.) Create a library news listerv. Send news bites, no more than an inch of text with an additional inch to plug a program or event.
7.) Send targeted news e-mails to specific groups, departments, etc
8.) Contact members of your organization who have contributed to information products such as MDConsult. Let them know your library subscribes to the product and ask them for suggestions on who else may be interested in using the product.
9.) Contact grant or award recipients congratulating them and directing them to products or services specific to their needs.
10.) Keep a candy jar at service points to attract people.
11.) Attend a library promotion workshop. Those by Pat Wagner of Pattern Research were mentioned by several people.

With all of these ideas there is a balance between time spent and benefits received -- otherwise known as the return on investment (ROI). Evaluating a library marketing program can be time-consuming, but it is necessary. Anecdotal evidence suggests that all the ideas discussed in the SIG meeting are worthwhile. Other evaluation experiences included one library which ran a feedback script on an online newsletter, but got few results. Another queried focus group participants and found an overwhelming demand for e-mail alerts and no paper. Whatever the evaluation method, be it anecdotal or structured, do something.

The meeting ended with our marketing batteries recharged. Our closing thought: Go forth and market!

About the author.
Elizabeth Smigielski is the Coordinator of Library Marketing at the Kornhauser Health Sciences Library at the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky. Besides coordinating the MLA Marketing SIG, she also administers the listserv, MRKTLIB. To subscribe to MRKTLIB, a listserv for those involved in marketing libraries, sign up at LISTSERV@LISTSERV.LOUISVILLE.EDU. Put the following into the message body: SUBSCRIBE MRKTLIB your name
If you are a member of the Medical Library Association and would like to join and participate in the Marketing SIG, contact Elizabeth Smigielski at

The Ogden Farmer’s Library Deals A Great Hand
Last month we told you about a trading card promotion showcasing essential services at University of Nebraska’s McGoogan Library of Medicine. Soon after we published the story, Ogden Farmer’s Library, the public library serving Ogden and Spencerport, New York, told us about their promotion involving cards -- playing cards.

Yup. 52 opportunities to deliver different library messages about products and services. That’s what a deck of playing cards offers a promotion campaign. And in the case of the Ogden Farmer’s Library, a deck of cards also generated revenues from advertisers. It was quite a neat promotion package. The card box and each card depicts a photograph of the library. On the face side of the card, space was set aside for advertising sold to local businesses and politicians. Cards with no advertising asked actual questions posed by recent users of the library’s reference services. The answers to the reference questions were posted on the library web site, thereby driving traffic to the site. The decks sold for $5 each with all proceeds going towards expanding the library book and DVD collections. Sales were brisk with the majority of the decks sold within the first two weeks of their availability! For more information about the promotion, contact Patty Uttaro, the Ogden Farmer’s Library Director. To check out the playing cards visit:

Public Relations & Publicity Awards Entry Deadline
July 22nd is the deadline for submitting entries to the Publicity & Public Relations Group (PPRG) PR & Publicity Awards. Additional information can be downloaded from:

Golden Opportunities
June 24. Creating a Library Sales Force: It's Easier Than You Think. Develop library staff into informed and persuasive advocates for their library system. A full day workshop in Chicago at the ALA Conference.

June 26. Swap & Shop: Best of Show– Hit the Right Note with Jazzy PR Materials. PR Makevers. All at the American Library Association annual conference in Chicago.

June 27. ALA poster sessions include: How-to Develop a Marketing Plan for an Academic Library; Library Displays as a Public Relations Tool; Using Library Displays as a Marketing Tool: In House, On the Road, and Online.

July 13. Marketing Stream presentations about web site marketing, being proactive, and developing marketing strategies. At the Australian Government Libraries Information Network (AGLIN) Annual Conference in Canberra, Australia.

July 18. Marketing, Schmarketing. Two law firm librarians from Washington DC share their creative marketing ideas during a presentation at the annual conference of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) in San Antonio.

July 19. Marketing Communications for the Academic Library Sector. This workshop addresses effective and efficient marketing communications for libraries and information services. Sponsored by CILIP in London.

August 5. Using Marketing to Enhance Library Performance. A presentation by Bill Sannwald in Vermillion, South Dakota. Contact: Steve Johnson at

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Ask Chris Olson to help you with branding & marketing endeavors!
Chris has an M.L.S. and experience managing library services. A graduate business degree and more than 20 years of working with information professionals and their library marketing endeavors makes Chris the perfect choice for helping with your next marketing project. Service reinventions, logo design, brainstorming sessions, web site development and design, and branding strategies are just a few of the projects Chris regularly works on. To discuss your project with Chris call
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June 2005
Volume 14 Number 6

In This Issue

Slogans & Taglines
What is a Clickthrough Rate?
RSS Feeds in the Promo Mix
Library Marketing SIG Brief
Ogden Farmer's Library Cards
PR & Publicity Awards Deadline
Golden Opportunities

Ogden Farmer's Library Playing Cards
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