Another great retweet from @sallyheroes via @janholmquist Expert Tips For Marketing Your Library which is an interview with Ned Potter (@theREALwikiman ). He recently wrote The Library Marketing Toolkit, a practical guide to library marketing and branding. The book and details and some resources are also available via his website
There are many tips and tricks within the interview and via the website, but just to touch on a couple of points of interest. One point that spoke to me in response to the question of what holds libraries back from marketing themselves better is that, unlike a food shop or shampoo company, a library has to overcome the complexity of something different to offer their users and potential users. And I think this is magnified by the fact that within the library we individually probably have variant opinions on what our users want, AND when we encounter our users we probably want to offer a range of services. It is not a clear process, it is not a clear message, and the ambiguity is a real problem for the marketer. Another aspect within University libraries & from what I have recently been reading in public libraries (see yesterday’s blog) is the changing role of library space. With variant uses and expectations of the space the marketing may appeal to some, but not to others. For example the patron that wants a quiet study space, versus a space for collaborative group interaction, or a coffee shop to work, have power meetings or just to relax.
In response to measuring the impact of their strategy once launched @theREALwikiman complements libraries in saying we are good at recording the numbers, but then not so good at teasing out what those numbers mean. A fair statement, but not unique to libraries. Statistics and numbers can often be used to just reinforce a direction we have taken. The context of those numbers and what they mean might well be another story which might be glean by some focus group interviewing, patron comments and interactions.
We want to be everything to everybody but it is just not possible.