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Marketing your library – Instalment 12


Wrapping up and signing off: if you believe they will come

This is my twelfth and final column for "Marketing your library" and I’ve had a blast sharing some of the things I’ve learned through trial and error. I hope you all have gleaned some practical and useful information from this year-long adventure. I know when I started trying my hand at library marketing, very little was in the library literature and what was in the business literature was too theoretical and commercially oriented to be of much use. We’ve talked about a lot of stuff from highlighting collections and services already in place to using an interview as a marketing tool, but there is one thing we haven’t talked about yet – passion.

Whether you call it fervour, ardour, zeal, commitment, love or passion, the folks that tend to make the best library marketers have an intense belief in what they are marketing: the library. The role of traditional marketing has always been to get the consumer to believe something whether or not the creators or marketers believe it themselves; it is what endorsements are all about. Like "Hey I’m famous and use this product and now I’m cured" or buying the same kind of shoes your favourite athlete wears. Ever notice how actors that play doctors on television also seem to get all those commercials advertising medicines? It’s all about getting you to believe that if you buy their product, good things will happen to you. For librarians, though, we start ahead of the game. We all, I hope, already believe in libraries and what they have to offer, so our passion is honest and genuine and we shouldn’t be afraid to let that enthusiasm and passion show to all of our users no matter who they are.

Plus, if you believe in what you are doing and are passionate about it, that enthusiasm will come through in everything you do whether you are speaking to four people or 400, making a flyer for your district or creating a television commercial, or hosting a group of four genealogists or a nationally known speaker. It doesn’t really matter to the passionate librarian how big the audience is just so they get to share their love of libraries with someone. People who believe in what they are doing beam and project energy. They attract others and generate consensus. They are the people that "light up rooms".

Here is my last bit of advice; forget everything you think you know about marketing. In just this 12 part column, everything has been redefined anyway. Check out the chart in this article: "You ARE a marketer. Deal with it" that shows the difference between "old school marketing" and "neo-marketing". Marketing, like everything else, is an evolving living field, and what worked yesterday may not work today. If you maintain your passion for your product, try new things and keep plugging away, you will have a successful marketing experience. The main thing is that you get started by waking up passionate about your job and libraries every day and then tell anyone who will listen how a librarian can change your life.

Be sure and check out "Creating passionate users" at http://headrush.typepad.com/. This is a fantastic blog that definitely gets you thinking.