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Presentation by Jennifer Burke, President of IntelliCraft Research at the 2013 conference for the Association for Library and Communication Outreach Professionals, held in Philadelphia. Common marketing mistakes and how to avoid them. Good strategic planning, creating targeted personas, building measurable goals = keys to success.
Fair warning – I may say some things that seem controversial or go a bit against what we’re hearing in some other sessions. No disrespect! We’re all here because we have a similar passion – libraries and the information profession. Because I care so much about wanting libraries to succeed, to show people the truth that we in the LIS profession know –> how valuable, and often life-changing, libraries are! And because of changing times, continued economic pressure, competition we need marketing – effective, strategic marketing – more than ever.
I’m now an independent information consultant and IntelliCraft Research is my business, that I started when I left academiaIt’s a chance for me to meld my years of varied experience, marketing knowledge, my love of research and do some practical good.I focus on helping small businesses, like marketing and communications agencies get the marketing intelligence (reports, company profiles, industry scans, trends, etc) so they can get up to speed quickly for, a presentation, new client meeting, new business development and pitches.AND .. I’m also working on opportunities to help librarians and info pros become better, strategic-thinking marketers – via training, speeches, consultations and such.As Kathy Dempsey mentions in her book The Accidental Library marketer – I’m one of those rare individuals …
Tactics = the fun and flash and action.[I said strategy is the focus of my talk and workshop, and I also said Marketing isn’t tactics – so before we jump to strategy, let’s finish defining ‘marketing’ so we’re on the same page today]Here’s a lengthy, somewhat jargon-filled definition [from Allen Weiss, founder of Mprofs]: Marketing is: analysis of customers, competitors, the organization/company; combining that understanding into overall understanding of what segments exist; deciding on targeting your best (most valuable/most profitable) segments; positioning your products/services and doing what’s necessary to deliver on that positioning. Tactics = how to deliver consistently and coherently on your positioning and promise.
Research – pre + post ; and evaluation all through a marketing effort, campaignDon’t always have to do all original research – use the sources you have – ALA, SLA, OCLC, PLA and your specialized research associations often have great data & insights.What do you see going on in your library? - Do you get more visitors from certain departments or buildings? Do the engineers visit in person or only email requests?Which students study in the library most often? Which professors use course reserve most? ETC
CircutiousAlso probe/ask about interest beyond ALCOP conference for professional development / CE related to marketing – what have they done, what might they do
Ask how often they have updated their research or surveys (or define ‘recent’)? Prompting for #/data in last yearIf have a marketing plan – how frequently is it updated? Quarterly? Annually? How old is it?Related to # goals – how many have been measuring their marketing efforts?
As Librarians, information and research is your bread and butter! You already understand that people need all kinds of different information to make decisions. We spend our careers trying to bring people and the information they need for informed choices together. Whether that’s about healthcare decisions, a new literary genre, buying a car, starting a business, writing a legal brief, doing a term paper or finding out about new clinical trials for drugs. Librarians are already pros at information behavior – and THAT is a core part of marketing and marketing strategy. You all already know how to do research. You and your staff understand your communities, constituents and patrons better than anyone. Many (if not most or all) of you already have some data at hand about what’s going on in your libraries and with your programs. You & your staff are creative with your programming. So truly .. You’re already marketers, you’re marketing – whether your staff likes it or not. But ok, maybe we call it something else.What you need is just help avoiding the pitfalls – and knowing that the key to success is starting with, and following, a plan. Strategy.THAT’s what I hope to help you with.
Small businesses, bigger businesses and non-profits all tend to make mistakes.But these are the common themes or categories – and where our 10 fall. I’m not going to do a Letterman style Top 10 – because I want to make sure we cover the #1 and other top issues! I want to make sure there’s time for discussion and some group exercises – because this is supposed to be a workshop! And you don’t want to listen to me go into Professor Burke Lecture Mode for 70 minutes!
Kotler and other marketing experts argue that analysis and research come first – and they’re right. I’ll show that in a great picture later.But for today, we’re talking about strategy first – mainly to make sure we think strategy before tactics. I’ll do my best to see that research, objectives and more will be covered. Oh, and maybe some on tactics too!BUT .. If we don’t get everything covered in detail because we’re discussing and working on examples – don’t worry! I’m going to make the presentation and additional handouts available afterward, as well as more in-depth material on my website – or feel free to ask me later or email me!
"When leaders are unwilling, unable to make choices among competing values, parties, actions = you get bad strategy Good, coherent strategy will push resources (energy, attention, $$) towards some ends(objectives) and away from othersSome people will probably hate it, fight it b/c it means change and loss for them - but that’s often necessary. And trying to please everyone gets warm, fuzzy fluff - meaningless and inaction ableTemplate planning - popular in academia, school boards, govt, nonprofits - mission/vision/values often means no hurt feelings (also no choice, no strategy); Diagnosis::define & explain nature of problem/challenge; what aspects truly critical in situation Create Guiding policy : deal with challenge; the approach, overcome obstacles ( often build on strengths advantages, leverage)Develop Set of actions: how carry out policy; (resource allocation- time, people, power, procedures, things, $)Visions, sub objectives , timing, scope, all of that = support bits
Mistake of moving too fast – happens when no clear plan/strategy, or ill-defined goals – means ANY tactic seems ok and a ‘just do it’ mentality takes over. NO! You’ll begin to jump at any opportunity, any creative promotional idea, any potential partnership or event. Related is SOS – Shiny Object Syndrome – you get seduced by the latest, greatest, neatest,blingiest tactics, tools, gadgets, networks and tips being shared, alked up and over-hyped. You fear f you don’t get on board with the latest thinganother opportunity won’t come, or people will say you’re ‘behind the times’. Resist! [it’s tough – I speak from experience!]You cannot use all the tools at the same time. [Strategy -> decisions] What happens if you go to the grocery without a list? Hungry, before dinner and no list. You get a shopping cart full of cookies (CLICK PIC). Don’t get a cart full of cookies ! …. Your marketing is the same!
An objective needs more than just a mere chance at being accomplished, given existing conditions, resources & competencyHaving 1 clear objective per strategy makes it easier to set goals and to measure them. each strategy, campaign has 1 objectiveAn organization often has multiple Business Objectives – Financial, Staffing, Process related, Customer & service related, as well as Marketing MARKETING objectives = the broad vision of how to achieve something like increased market share, or more onsite visitsGranted – w/ nonprofits like libraries – the upper management, directors’ visions –and org mission – tend to drive most efforts, even targeting and message – but you still have to think about realistic, specific objectives – and then goals – and THEN the rest. Please don’t get caught w/ pie in the sky.
Do you recognize any of these?Does your library have any language like this? Another example - "Community involvement and partnering“ - not a strategy – more like a 'blue-sky objective‘ What do you think?Actual library examples – and many of these were actually labeled “goals” – are they goals? Objectives? Or Neither?
SMART -> Have magnitude and a target dateExample – Objective = increase market share -> Goal = move market share from 20% to 25% by FY 2014Work backwards – what will be different at end of your marketing actions? How will you see and measure difference?Will you have a closer, two-way relationship w/ best customers? [and how measure that?]Will customers be talking about your products (via X media channels)? [and how measure that?]
2 types of metrics: 1) Ongoing (analytics) – monitor and track activity over time; 2) Campaign-focused metrics – event/campaign measurement w/ clear beginning and ending ptswhat do you want your audience to DO with your content on each channel? Read? Reply? Share? Click? Purchase? Donate? Are you set up to measure your starting point, ongoing and end #s of campaign efforts?Common marketing ‘controls’ or things measured:Market Share - +/-, are you growing while market shrinks or grows;company sales as % of sales in your target marketCustomer retention – sometimes just not losing customers is a good goal! Besides you do your best w/ existing customers [ 80/20 rule] Don’t lose long term customers – > advocatesCustomer satisfaction - and/or a decrease in unhappy customersProduct quality – is it perceived high vs your competition? Higher than it was?Relative service quality vs competitionConversions – leads -> sales
So don’t waste time and resources talking to, going after the wrong peopleAKA have a target audience (yes, you may have more than 1 – but each gets own objectives, goals, strategy, execution plan) Historically, libraries have purchased materials, developed programs, built resources and more based on what in their professional opinion they THINK patrons wanted … or in some cases, SHOULD want. But that isn’t really the mindset of most libraries now, is it? Not every customer is right for every business/org/program -- and not every program or message is right for users & patrons. Keep THEIR interests, needs, and wants in mind
Target audiences: libraries have many targets and you can’t try to attract all of them at the same time, and especially not with the same message. You already know the basics of this! An academic library Has multiple target audiences -- you need a different message and content to speak to a full time tenured faculty member versus a harried adjunct who’s likely teaching at multiple colleges; a freshman versus a senior versus a graduate studentA public library has a different message for parents of toddlers versus parents of teenagers, senior citizens versus teenagers, funders and donors versus patronsYou already have different resources, sections, programming and maybe even architectural design – you need different objectives, goals, messages and tactics too.
Based on real data you have about your best/ideal customers:Then add in a best guess on their personal background or history plus their motivations and concerns
Use to build your website (or redesign) by adding pages and content to address specific persona concerns.Create engaging social media posts.Write better converting emails to subscribers, donors and volunteers.
Interview your current users and constituents, or those in the community that represent who you are trying to attract (or find available demo data)Find your Targets’ “pain points” – yes, library patrons have them too! This is where your current data, insights and experience really helps.THINK like your users!
Instead of the ‘me/we’ talk common still among lots of marketers – you have to talk to THEM – your customers, users – your target. It’s about them. They want to know what’s in it for them? How can libraries offer value in the lives of their users, in the way they go about their lives, the journeys they are on – how can the library help them get there? What outcomes can your resources, services, programs bring about in users’ lives?
Other potential examples- same settingIncrease awareness of library YA program among 12-18 yr olds in 2014[What does ‘awareness’ look like? How to measure it? What tactics are likely to increase awareness? Which tactics would likely NOT affect awareness?]What do we know about teens in this age group? [Why Freshmen – Juniors? B/c Seniors too busy prepping college admin and essays and ready to graduate – so focus on lower grades] More specific goals for a YA program - Increase teen attendance 25% at weekly gaming nights; Increase teen attendance at monthly YA Lit book club by 25% (or by 5 teens per Quarter)How will you craft the message? How many different messages? How frequently? Are there other tactics to use? The library website? The library’s blog? How will you measure success beyond circulation #s?
Even if you can’t plan the whole year in detail – sketch it out; know what themes, initiatives and goals you’re addressing each quarter. Fill in details at least 1 quarter in advance – bigger items, events, promotions need more lead time. Public Relations and media is ongoing – plan it out – journalists and media have a schedule –even for the ‘news’ – and you need to fit it.What looks spontaneous rarely is – it’s planned to look that way, far in advance! [exception – ‘newsjacking’ and some real-time social media use – BUT even that needs messages planned in advance for a ‘what if’ strategy & scenario]Your FB posts, Tweets, blog posts, your Pins, Instagram photos, the emails you send, the press releases you write – it ALL needs be scheduled. Maybe not down to the day or time – but what efforts go when, what messages to which media, which quarter, which month, which week – YES. Maybe you don’t have the copy written, or photo take, or graphic planned – that’s ok. But know you’ll be doing X, during September and Y in December – it will actually save you time in the long run. And keep you on strategy, on point.
Example – PR – press releases – these are easy to ‘mess up’ and not get in the intended response (or no response); public relations can be valuable tool for helping form or improve community opinions about a company or organization, can have people thinking favorably about you – but not action-oriented.You wouldn’t use Twitter, at night to promote certain events – and likely not at all for Senior Citizen events (though Seniors are online in huge #s –but not Twitter); maybe wouldn’t use print paper flyers for teensOther using a tactic for specific event promotion that is better suited for general brand/org awarenessWhen people in marketing say ‘promotion’ – they often mean Sales Promotion – or the promotion of a specific, timed event/contest; But Promotion also is one of classic 4 Ps – and means ALL tactics
Big issue for marketers of all stripes. And I’m not the only one calling out to Libraries to adopt this – core component of Ned Potter’s new book “Library Marketing Toolkit” – must talk benefits and not features. Many marketers still push features – think of most car manufactures and their ads – horsepower, how many folding seats, cup holders, MPG) instead of talking benefits (horsepower -> torque = your truck and the boat you’re towing don’t slide back down the steep boat ramp into the lake; better MPG means you save money on gas that you can spend on other things; or better MPG = less gas = smaller carbon footprint and you’re ‘greener’)People say they want to know features – but they buy/make decisions based on outcomes – what they get out using X product or Y service;Functional benefits you can find elsewhere – competition; alternative uses, services – not so w/ emotional
What specific, defined action do you want each of your target / target groups to take? At what time? For what effect?But Marketing is about Action – behavior change, opinion change, attitude change – DO SOMETHINGGet attendance up at story hourChange minds about using specialized databases vs. Google for researchCall a local politician about supporting library bonds or increased fundingGo to your library website to check out ebooks vs. buying themGet adults to volunteer at the library for reading to kidsGet freshman to come to a library seminar on plagirism, copyright and proper citations
Internet and social media give great new tools to marketers w/ small, limited or non-existent budgets – easier to get attention, reach broader audiences w/out paying for advertising. BUT … not truly “FREE” Biz/org can’t cause WoM about a customer’s experience – your brand/org is often incidental in the incident or experience.Marketing includes efficiencies of scale – but WoM is 1:1 – that doesn’t scalePeople may get the intended message wrong, may be like a long, bad game of ‘telephone’ by time WoM reaches the 3rd, 4th, 5th person removed from the actual experience. WoM IS still critical to a biz/org because people trust other people (yes, even strangers) more than ads and ‘marketing’. Help customer to shine, let them star in their story, don’t try to start instead – you can tag along and hopefully ride a positive wave of WoM, brand advocacyCustomers don’t really wait around for the next new website, blog, store, event or whatnot to come along (unless perhaps it’s an extension of a brand they already like/love).
Strategy First: Common mistakes in planning library marketing and outreach
Common mistakes in planning your library
marketing / outreach -- and how to avoid
Jennifer E. Burke
ALCOP 2013 Conference
Before we get started…
A little on my background and why
I‟m talking marketing with you
I‟m multilingual … I
Sales & Customer
Jennif er B urke, MS LIS
President, IntelliCraft Research
Marketing Is Not Tactics!
Tactics are the „shiny objects‟ of marketing.
Good, but practically useless without a plan.
That‟s the focus here today.
It begins and ends with research – situ now
& post efforts.
Target markets, target messages.
What products/services/programs are you
offering to fit each segment
Different media, tactics, channels for
What are you going to actually do and
Let‟s do our own research
How many had any courses or exposure to marketing in
How many have taken CE or similar courses in marketing?
[not counting ALCOP or attending other conferences]
Let‟s do our own research
How many have #-based goals for the library in your
Have you been measuring your outreach efforts?
How frequently do you update your plan?
Common Mistakes in
And hopefully how to avoid them!
Mistakes Fall in 4 Main Categories
There are plenty of mistakes in marketing …
and they aren‟t limited to libraries!
Are you saying the right things, to the right
Is everyone on board with your plans?
You have to have real #s to shoot for,
measure against – otherwise it‟s just a
I never said tactics don‟t matter! They just
A fuzzy strategy can be as bad as no
1. Not having a full strategy before
getting into tactics
2. No objectives
3. Not having measurable,
quantifiable goals, set upfront
4. Metrics are missing
5. No targeting, no personas
(AKA trying to do 1-size-fits-all)
6. Too much „me/we‟ talk, instead
of all about „them‟
7. Not having a schedule/calendar
8. „Wrong‟ tactics for wrong
9. Feature dumping
10.No calls to action
10 Common Marketing Mistakes
A strategy is like a blueprint – solid foundation to build on
Let‟s talk about „bad‟ vs. „good‟ strategy
Not making choices = bad strategy
Template, fill-in-the-blank mission/vision/values = bad
Good strategy = coherent action backed by argument,
with an underlying structure
Strategy comes first
Other strategy mishaps -
Mistake of moving too fast
“SOS” [Shiny Object Syndrome]
No strategic plan, like going to the grocery hungry, before
dinner and no list. You get a cart full of cookies! That‟s
Strategy comes first
What are you aiming for?
Broader than Goals
Milestones – how you will measure achieving mission/vision
Focus on 1 objective for each strategy + campaign
Increase profit margin, market share, customer satisfaction
Increase onsite visits, media coverage, attendance at events
#2 What are objectives?
“Enrich Educational experience and Intellectual Growth”
“Heighten the value and impact of the Libraries through digital
programs and services”
“Young children (5 + under) will have programs and services
designed so that they will enter school ready to read, write and listen”
“We will coordinate the information literacy efforts in the University
Library and work with the University community to incorporate
information literacy in the University curriculum”
Objectives/goals? What are these?
Those were labeled „goals‟, or worse, „action
steps‟ in real library documents.
They‟re not goals.
Might be objectives.
More likely a nice vision statement.
Goals can‟t be an afterthought
S M A R T
Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Reasonable, Time limited
Objective = increase market share
Goal = move market share from 20 -> 25% by FY 2014
#3 Need measureable goals
Did it work? Did you adjust?
2 types of metrics
Measurement tied to actions
#4 Measure for success
“The customer is always
But not necessarily right for
No 1-size-fits-all approach
Not designing the message to fit the target
Not picking the right media/channel/tactics for target
#5 Need a target audience
Targeting and Personas
An archetype – to flesh out a
A representation of your ideal
customer/patron, donor, volunteer
• Psychographics and behaviors
• Online activities and media
• Your best guess (or data if you have
it!) on their motivations +/or concerns
Targeting and Personas
What‟s a persona
Design and Messaging
Help you design messages, imagery
and services through the eyes of your
See their perspective and help
eliminate your own
Targeting and Personas
How do we create
Start with the data you DO have!
But get beyond demographics!
What motivates this person? What are
Why are they searching and sharing info?
What are her day-to-day worries and
What behaviors is she trying to change?
Targeting and Personas
Because knowing your target is a 25-44 year old
woman won‟t help much …
Maybe if you know she is a 30-36 yr old single mom,
with 2 kids under 10, at least some college education,
an income of <$45K, working in a customer
service/support staff position, living in an older
suburb, struggling to keep up financially, hardly any
time to herself, prefers reading fiction, and very
focused on getting her kids academic help and
Now THAT you can work with!
Customers need to see the value of what you offer in
Little value in talking about resources if users don‟t see &
believe in value of those resources to THEM
Where are their pain points?
Everyone has them! Yes, even library visitors and users.
#6 What‟s in it for me?
Let‟s work on some Cases
A brief example for a Public, Academic & Special
library situation – work on objectives, goals,
A CASE EXAMPLE
Target - Freshmen - Juniors
Objective - Increase teen pleasure
reading in school library in 2014
Goal - Increase fiction circulation 25%
Initiative - Monthly book club, student
advisory council picks books
Tactic(s) - In-school flyers, in-library
displays, Students create Tumblr acct for
books read + share related pics/posts
One-off promotions, events, initiatives = a mistake
Can‟t be 100% spontaneous in marketing
Every tactic, media effort, promotion needs to be on your
#7 Schedule or calendar = a must
Some tactics just work better for certain audiences
Some tactics are better for broad goals vs more specific
Don‟t confuse „promotion‟ with „marketing
No „feature dumping‟
Not about how many databases you have, # journals, or free wi-fi
No „kitchen sink‟ ads, flyers or promotional features
Benefits and outcomes
Emotional benefits are stronger drivers of action vs. functional benefits
What will free wi-fi and 25 specialized medical databases get the patron?
#9 Benefits, not features
Marketing is about driving action
An attitude, opinion or behavior change
Attendance up at story hour, more e-book checkouts by students,
increased donations, change opinions about special databases
The CTA isn‟t just about „sales‟
The CTA doesn‟t have to be „pushy‟
#10 The Call to Action is your friend
ALL marketing comes with
some kind of „cost‟
Time, energy, resources,
Word of Mouth
No such thing really as
Why? Because you can‟t
WoM is 1:1 – no efficiencies
of scale; and marketing is
about those efficiencies
But DO encourage WoM
and let customers be the
Build it + they will
You have to remind, inspire,
engage, nudge, prompt and
often incentivize to get
people to take action.
“Libraries are very good at doing things, it
feels good to do something … but thinking
your way through is hard work … and we’d
rather do than think.”
-- Terry Kendrick, „guru‟ of library strategic marketing
Prove you can THINK and DO!
Want more information?
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