A Note From Chris
A warm welcome to the more than 400 new subscribers who signed up to receive Marketing Treasures last month. You join a growing community of marketing-oriented colleagues working in all types of libraries located around the world.
Our feature article written by Sue Henzel of CAVAL Collaborative Solutions in Australia, places us in the front row of the marketing presentations made at the recent Australian Government Librarian's conference.
Too many times I witness librarians missing opportunities to raise visibility and recognition for their services and products. This month I discuss a marketing strategy called cross promotion in the Promotion Gems column.
Time to stretch your creativity legs! A public librarian has asked for ideas on promoting services to local school teachers.
Look for our next issue September 21st when our lead article will offer insights into conducting focus groups.
Australian Government Librarians Tackle Marketing Head On
Sue Henczel attended and contributed to the recent AGLIN (Australian Government Library and Information Network) conference held in Australia. In this article she shares her notes and observations of the speakers and their marketing topics.
The Second Annual AGLIN Conference was held at the National Library of Australia in Canberra on 12-13 July 2005. The theme of the conference, The Innovative Information Professional attracted delegates from all Australian Government libraries and associated entities. The conference was divided into two streams -- innovation (day 1) and marketing (day 2).
Marketing is an issue that we all know is important, but due to our increasing "busy-ness" we find that it often gets pushed aside in favour of the more operational aspects of our work. I'm sure that many of the delegates would agree that the speakers gave us not only the practical tips and tricks we need to get started, but also the inspiration to do something with them. Besides the traditional marketing approaches to services and products, the papers focused on the marketing of ourselves as information professionals within our organisations.
James Robertson, a well known local intranet and content management expert, opened the day with an exploration of how we can use our skills to better manage and improve access to information on corporate intranets and websites. Acknowledging that we have the skills to contribute to intranet and web site teams is a critical first step towards promoting ourselves as experts within our organisations. James identified four areas where our skills can add significant value to organisation-wide information access initiatives.
1.) We are organisers. Our knowledge and skills enable us to create and apply metadata to exponentially growing and disparate collections of documents. Our organisational abilities helps others to locate and access information they have created.
2.) We connect people with information that is quality-controlled and customized for their use. As information brokers embedded in our organisations we are in the position to proclaim our value. Every time we perform our jobs we increase our visibility of what we can do and our value doing it.
3.) We are experts in identifying and bringing external information resources into the organisation. Selecting and evaluating the increasing range of vendor products and ensuring accessbility to those who need it is an important aspect of our information service. As information professionals we are responsible for external information being aligned with business needs and that access channels are aligned with appropriate business terminology. This was a very important point as most libraries have implemented the "one stop shop" approach, which many times doesn't align information resources with the needs of individuals and groups.
4.) We have the power to increase awareness of information's value as a commodity. We must educate our clients about the value relevant and accurate information adds to reports, policy decisions, strategies, and other organisational products. The increased use of desktop information (in most cases the Internet through Google) and the inability of many employees to evaluate the authority and accuracy of information sources poses a huge potential risk for government entities worldwide. This is an opportunity for information professionals to broadcast and demonstrate the value their critical skills add to the overall success of organisations.
Janet Smith and Emma Datson from the Australian Institute of Criminology presented a practical case study on how they reoriented their library service to focus on client needs, corporate information and push technology. Both Janet and Emma presented a light-hearted view of their challenges and achievements, as well as their failures, in their paper "Turning The Elephant Around." Their case study identified the need for information professionals to be clearly aware of how their skills and expertise support the business of their organisations, and to ensure that the employees and management are also aware of how they support and contribute to organisational processes. Selling our skills is not always easy, and in this case there were a number of false starts before success.
To underpin the changes, work was done on market segmentation and stakeholder analysis. In addition to changing the name of the library to "information service," changes were made to basic processes such as the creation of non-MARC bibliographic records to facilitate access and to avoid the necessity of creating duplicate records for database creation, aligning journal displays with current awareness services and push services providing electronic articles related to projects. They also made a considerable effort to spend more time with clients to better understand not only their needs but how they worked. As Janet said, "they learned to 'shut up and listen' rather than constantly bombarding people with information about products and services"-- an important lesson for all of us, I think.
"I Market, Therefore I Am," was presented by Garry Conroy-Cooper, Zenith Management Services Group. Garry discussed marketing terminology and focused on the application of the marketing mix. He spoke about the 4 Ps and the relationship of product, promotion, place and price to the ways we present ourselves, our skills and our expertise to clients, colleagues, and to potential employers.
Charu Sood and David Feighan presented "Developing and Marketing Library Services that Support Strategic Objectives," a case study that covered the diverse range of marketing activities recently undertaken by the Australia Taxation Office Library to promote not only their products and services but also staff expertise. They stressed the role of effective communication to promote "up" as well as "across" and "down" the organization, and emphasized the fact that if your managers are unaware of your skills and expertise your support mechanisms may be compromised. They elaborated the relationship between marketing activities, reputation amongst peers and management, and resource (budget) allocation, and pointed out that positive relationships are more likely to result in increasing client satisfaction. Charu and David also discussed the importance of going above and beyond the business plan to consistently exceed expectations. The business plan identifies what we intend to achieve and the opportunity to demonstrate that you have exceeded plans should not be overlooked.
One of the key themes for the day, whether intentional or not, focused on marketing ourselves -- developing a "package" that can be "promoted" and "priced" appropriately. When my paper entitled "Global Support and Networking for Information Professionals Through SLA" was programmed into the marketing stream I was a bit surprised, but I quickly realized that professional associations can impact our ability to market ourselves personally and how the profession is perceived by employers and our clients. Speakers from Day 1 who spoke on innovation, presented our profession as a rapidly changing landscape with a range of diversified roles emerging to meet the shifting expectations of management and clients. Consequently, we need to change how we think about ourselves, our careers and the roles we play within our organisations. This scenario was clearly supported by those who spoke about marketing on Day 2.
Prior to my presentation I conducted a quick survey of conference delegates. The results revealed that most belonged to one or more professional associations. In addition to the Australia Library and Information Association (ALIA), delegates were members of professional marketing, management, information technology, records management and sectoral (government, special, etc.) associations. These multi-dimensional memberships acknowledge that our profession and our roles are changing, establishing the need for diverse and imaginative personal and professional marketing strategies if we are to survive and thrive.
The presentations and papers from the 2005 AGLIN Conference will be available soon on the AGLIN website at http://www.nla.gov.au/aglin
About Sue Henzel
Sue is the Training and Consortia Manager at CAVAL Collaborative Solutions, a library consortium in Melbourne, Australia. She is past-President of the Australia and New Zealand Chapter of the Special Libraries Association. Sue can be reached at: email@example.com
What Are Bundles Of Satisfaction?
Libraries and information professionals pride themselves in their products -- reports, book collections, databases, web site, bibliographies, pathfinders, current awareness, email alerts, blogs, etc. But when was the last time you looked at your products and services from the perspective of your target market? A bundle of satisfaction is another way of defining the features of a product or service. It has long been recognized in marketing circles that customers buy bundles of satisfaction, not products.
Examples of bundling are everywhere. Hamburgers are bundled with a free drink and french fries. Theatre tickets are combined with parking vouchers or early dinner offers. Books are bundled with web sites and CDs. A bundle of satisfaction is created by combining a product with another or combining a product with a set of features to increase the product's utility and appeal. In both instances a new product is created based on the combination of satisfactions which work together to increase the perception of greater value. Sometimes bundles are temporary product offerings -- reflecting a season or a fad -- while other bundles a new combination of product features which target a particular set of customers.
You'll realize two benefits from examining products as satisfaction bundles. First, it will require you to step out of your librarian shoes while you to consider each product from the customer's point of view. You might find that some of the features you value as a librarian (because it saves you time, etc.) detract from a customer's satisfaction. Second, expressing a product or service as a set of satisfactions will enable you to recognize opportunities for new product combinations and/or the addition of new features which can target a new set of customers with a minimum level of effort from you.
Cross Promotion Opportunities
As marketing-oriented information professionals, our readers are always on the prowl for ideas to reach more people, more frequently without spending large sums of money. They seek opportunities for garnering visibility and recognition of the value they add to their organizations and communities. There's an approach commonly used in promotion strategies which can help librarians attain these and other goals. It's called cross promotion.
What is cross promotion? Very simply, it's telling people who are interested in one product, about another related product. Cross promotion can be pursued on two different fronts. First, you can partner with other organizations with products which reach groups of people you would like to target. The arrangement between library and the partner permits the library to communicate messages to the customers of the other organization, and vice versa. The second approach to cross promotion maximizes the promotion potential of the library's own products and services as message broadcast vehicles. In other words, when the library delivers a product it can be used to promote other library products.
Cross promotion can be a low cost approach to extending brand recognition, increasing product and service usage, or introducing new products. By opting to have a promotion partner, you can share the burden of reaching more people using less time and money. Your information service can expand the reach of messages and open up new customer markets. The key is selecting the right partner with the target market which exhibits the needs your information service or product can address. This means you should consider the customer profile of the partner to make sure it's compatible with your objectives. The target market you want to reach could have profile features such as:
1.) Special needs (time-driven, vision-impaired, new job)
2.) Values (vegetarian, senior caregiver, non-smoker)
3.) Lifestyle (frequent traveler, gourmet cook, sports enthusiast)
4.) Job (night worker, salesperson,teacher)
5.) Daytime activity (morning coffee, Saturday errands, meals)
6.) Time of year (holidays, summer vacations, local festivals)
7.) Time of life (graduation, birthday, retirement)
8.) Preoccupation (coupon clipper, procrastinator, dieter)
Approaching a potential cross promotion partner takes some preparation. Start by listing organizations or departments who share a common market based on the profile features you've targeted for your promotion. Next, outline several low-risk, quick-start promotions which won't require large amount of resources in which both the library and the partner can benefit. As a goodwill gesture, you might consider offering a promotion which is more beneficial to your partner than to you. Contact potential partners and outline your cross promotion proposal, being careful to keep an open-eye for ideas and enhancements you may not have thought about.
When a partner has agreed to pursue a cross promotion program with you, make sure both of you are very specific about what each will do and contribute. This includes, time, money, products or services, staff and other resources. You'll also want to identify how each of you will benefit. Sometimes a simple agreement is helpful to lay out responsibilities and timeframes. As the cross promotion runs, note results and capture data for later evaluation. After the promotion is over, be sure to thank everyone involved, including staff members, suppliers, and anyone who helped make the promotion a success.
Here are some ideas for cross promotions and partners. (Because all types of library environments are represented by our readers, we have tried to list ideas that can be adapted to all situations.)
> Swap ad and announcement space on web sites and Intranets. Notice we said "announcement space." Getting the library included as a "button" on the front page of someone else's portal or web site is not cross promotion. Ad space, announcement banners, message footers, and sidebar callout are examples of cross promotions on web sites, portals, and intranets.
> Arrange to have flyers, bookmarks, postcards or other printed materials inserted into your partner's packages. Possibilities include welcome folders from the Human Resources department or community groups, and bags at the grocery or company store. How about partnering with the company parking garage management or local parking lots?
> Give samples of your products to the partner to be included with their products delivered to customers. Samples can be executive report summaries, reading lists, internet search tips, event calendars, book jacket summaries, competitive intelligence highlights, or the recent top 3 intriguing questions your library has answered.
> Post signs at your partner's locations. This is akin to swapping ad space on web sites. And just like web site traffic, you'll want posters visible in high-foot traffic areas. Consider grocery store entrances, cafeterias and dining rooms, ATM machines in lobbies, office supply and photocopying services, coffee and soda machine vendor areas, fitness centers, and gas stations.
> Share inexpensive ads, announcements in event programs, or promotion materials. Years ago Chris partnered with an independent information professional in a cross promotion using a Quick Tipper business card as the message vehicle. One side of the card listed amounts for 15% tips and the other side listed 20% tips. Each partner promoted their services on a side of the card, and distributed the cards at events they attended or presented -- workshops, exhibits, speeches. More than 12 years later, Chris still has people requesting Quick Tipper cards or new ones to replace their old cards!
Other potential cross promotion partners for different types of libraries include:
Neighborhood sandwich shop
Local dry cleaners
Area auto repair shops
Local car washes
Florists and card shops
And if your information services serve a corporate environment, don't forget to consider the department responsible for the company plane or helicopter for a cross promotion which could reach executive level management.
If teaming with a partner on a cross promotion isn't feasible, then use your own library products to promote other information services.
> Use signs and table tents on bookshelves to promote databases and journals on similar topics
> Follow the Amazon example by including links to materials with similar topics on your online catalog page.
> Include notices of other library products or service when you prepare reports, presentations, summaries, or other materials. You can insert banners and announcements at the end or along the inside margins or on screen displays.
> Advertise links and brief descriptions to related library products and services in electronic alerts and updates,.
Cross promotion can be an effective promotion strategy when carefully planned and executed. A word of advice: Don't squander cross promotion opportunities with materials and announcements that won't achieve your promotion goal. Like any other promotion device, items and messages used in cross promotion should follow the AIDA model-- attract Attention, foster Interest, generate Desire, and facilitate Action. Be sure you broadcast a complete message so people can follow through with the action you want them to take.
Pearls of Wisdom
Use Your Brand Name When Answering The Phone
A short story from Chris...The other day I phoned a library in the midwest, and they answered "Main Library." Huh? First of all, had I accidently misdialed and reached the state library in Maine? Then I realized that they meant I had reached the central location of a library system, but what was the name? Besides identifying the party on the other end of the line, answering the phone with a greeting that includes the organization's name offers the opportunity to reinforce name recognition of your library, and image perceptions.
I recommend that you periodically phone your library and listen to what they say and how they say it. This is what your customers hear and it contributes to the perception and memories they retain about your library's services. Make sure what you hear matches the image you want to communicate. In the case of my phone call, it sure would have helped to hear an added greeting of "Good Morning, may I help you?" As it stands, I got the impression that this library is overworked and not very careful. If I had a question, I would think twice about asking it because I would be bothering a librarian. Instead I'd look it up on the Internet.
This is why communications and marketing isn't just for the marketing team or the PR Coordinator. Everyone in the organization should know about marketing plans and objectives, and be empowered to contribute -- even when they answer the phone.
Toolkit For Promoting "Love Your Library" License Plate
The New York State Library web site now offers a toolkit of materials to help libraries in the state promote the recently released "Love Your Library" license plate. The kit includes a color poster, fact sheet, and an order form available in printer-friendly format. Go to http://www.nysl.nysed.gov and select the "License Plate" button.
Creating A Library Sales Force...Word Of Mouth Marketing...Customer
The marketing presentations made during the June 24th PLA preconference program at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago are now available for downloading at: http://digbig.com/4egjd
Top 10 Slogans
TaglineGuru has released the results of a survey identifying the 100 most influential slogans and 30 most influential jingles introduced since the advent of broadcast television in 1948. "Got Milk?" was voted number one from among more that 300 submitted nominations. The slogan was created for the California Milk Processor Board in 1993.
The survey's goal was to determine which slogans demonstrated a timeless quality. A number of factors tend to influence how much a slogan becomes part of our collective consciousness including:
> Use of grammar (Nobody doesn't like Sara Lee)
> Rhythm (The quicker picker-upper)
> Rhyme (Don't get mad, get GLAD)
> Inflection (They're gr-r-r-eat!)
> Metaphor (This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs. Any questions?)
> Attitude (The few, the proud, the Marines)
> Ulterior meaning (Nothing comes between me and my Calvins)
> Positioning (The uncola)
Keep these factors in mind when you need to develop a slogan for a library promotion campaign. For the complete list of slogans and jingles, as well as honorable mentions and noteworthy efforts prior to 1948, visit http://www.taglineguru.com/survey05.html
Help This Marketeer
Ideas Needed for Promoting Library Services to School Teachers
Pat Woodworth of the Quincy Public Library in Quincy, Illinois writes, "Our library is trying to think of a promotion that would highlight the various services we offer for teachers in our town. We have thought about having a teachers-only open house type of event. What sort of "hook" would encourage them to come? What time of day, what day of the week and what time during the school year would work best? Or would some other type of promotion be more effective? Any and all suggestions are welcome."
Send your ideas and insights to MarketeerSOS@chrisolson.com. We'll forward them to Pat and publish them in the September issue of Marketing Treasures.
Here's an update on last month's "Help This Marketeer."
Amy Skolnik of the Exeter Public Library has received more than 40 library cards from readers around the world, including a whole collection from the Blue Hill Public Library in Maine which had a similar project a few years ago. Amy says her daily trip to the mail box is fun because every day brings new cards. It appears her 1st year anniversary will be quite a celebration, and Amy plans to post photos of the card display on the library web site (we'll tell you about it here in Marketing Treasures). There's still time to send your library's card to Amy by September 15: Amy Skolnik, Exeter Public Library, 773 Ten Rod Road, Exeter, RI 02822 USA
Need some help with a promotion program? Looking for advice? Like to know what others have done? Send your marketing challenge to "Help this Marketeer" at
August 30. Writing Customer Focused Email and Chat. Learn how to prepare e-mail responses that clearly answer customers questions and build customer loyalty. In Washington, DC. Sponsored by CAPCON. http://digbig.com/4dyhb
September 16. Branding for Success: Strategies for Information Organizations & Services. An intensive workshop about strategic branding. In Toronto. Presented by the University of Toronto Faculty of Information Studies, Professional Learning Centre. http://www.plc.fis.utoronto.ca/coursedescription.asp?courseid=184#
September 20. Marketing Idea Sharing For All Libraries. A lunchtime sharing session at the offices of the Greater Cincinnati Library Consortium (GCLC). In Cincinnati, Ohio.
September 22-23. Library Marketing that Works! A special 2-day workshop presented by Suzanne Walters at the Bettendorf Public Library in Bettendorf, Iowa. Sponsored by the Bibliographical Center for Research (BCR). http://www.bcr.org/training/workshops/LibraryMarketing.html
September 28. Determining & Communicating the Value of the Special Library. A workshop at The South Atlantic Regional Conference (SARC III). In Williamsburg Virginia. Conference also includes presentations on a variety of marketing and communications topics. http://www.sla.org/sarc3
September 29. The Creative Librarian: Unlocking the Innovative Organization. A full day institute on creativity and innovation. In Weston, Massachusetts. Sponsored by NELINET. http://www.nelinet.net/edserv/institutes/clib.htm
October 14. Branding for Success: Strategies for Information Organizations & Services. An intensive workshop about strategic branding. In Ottawa. Presented by the University of Toronto Faculty of Information Studies, Professional Learning Centre. http://www.plc.fis.utoronto.ca/coursedescription.asp?courseid=192
October 17 & 18. The ABCs and Ds of Marketing "E". Selling Books to Teens. These and other presentations on marketing topics at the NELA Annual Conference. In Worcester, Massachusetts. http://www.nelib.org/conference/attending/program-2005.htm
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 21 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 410-647-6708.Chris@chrisolson.com
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Volume 14 Number 8
Australian Government LibrariansTackle Marketing
What Are Bundles of Satisfaction?
Cross Promotion Opportunities
Answer the Phone
with Your Brand Name
License Plate Promotion Toolkit
Creating a Library Sales Force
Top 10 Slogans
Help this Marketeer: