Notes and reflective thoughts from the Ned Potter course on Marketing that I attended earlier this week:
First, answer these questions. And answer them well. Why are we marketing our library service(s)? What is the aim?
Why do we want people to use us/ services, and engage with us?
My answer would be: We want NHS and university staff/students to use our services because we want to improve the usage of our physical resources (books, PCs, the space for studying and working in) and our staff resources (enquiries, literature searches, 1-1 training sessions or group sessions, our document supply services). Sometimes, it is true, we are under-employed. It is now the Summer. People have fled our campus. People are thinking about things other than literature searches, research projects, systematic reviews. It is therefore a time for us to get on with the work that we do have on (I refer to other colleagues!), and for me to think about our marketing plan and what we can do, when, and to target which user groups (and why). I need to be busier at work. Usually, the moment I think that, I start to receive requests for help from readers. But this time, we will have our new-look library to promote and increase awareness, and we need to improve our general usage statistics, to demonstrate our impact on stakeholders and generally keep busy. We can help people. We love helping people! We often help people. We can do more, bearing in mind that a softly softly approach is often best as we are quite easily overwhelmed with work (apart from at this time of year, on the whole).
Why do I use the library services that I do? Because my local library has the stuff that I want to read, watch or listen to. Books, DVDs, CDs. I still like to use these physical objects and borrow them from a library. I also like my local library service because the staff are friendly, a variety of people from the community can be found in the building, where it is a nice temperature, clean, safe, quiet. I get that 'sense of community' when I go there. Mind you, I only go there when I need something. I will go there next week when I need to return library books, for example!
Ned talked about the marketing cycle: from thinking about our GOALS (why market??) -> researching who to target ->segment our market (NHS nurses/consultants/ FY1s, University staff, students etc) -> objectives of the marketing campaign for the different segments -> promotional activities (we're good at these, allegedly: leaflets, pens, posters, emails, word of mouth, events!, etc) -> measure the impact (statistics! Qualitative feedback! Surveys!) -> Evaluate the project/ results so far. Has it been worth it? has it had an impact? Reflect!! -> Modify the marketing campaign -> do it all over again.
Just like the reflection cycle: Plan -> Do -> Review.
So I'm planning what I can do in August/ early September, once our refurbishment is finished. I need to tell the world (aka our campus and the hospital over the road) that we're still here! We're open! We're better than ever! We can help them! We can help them in the following ways...!! etc.
I've created a table with a few target groups, our objectives, how our service can benefit them (i.e. the sales pitch - we can help you with X...), what the key messages are (We really CAN help you with X!), how to get the message out, and the plan of action, before considering how to measure the rate of success with each plan of action. Plan -> Do -> Review.
We aren't doing too badly at promoting our stuff and our staff/ services.
We basically want people to think: I need help! I know, I'll go to the library, and get in contact with staff who will be friendly and quick to respond to my needs.
A few other points:
- I've deleted my Twitter account (again), as I wasn't tweeting, can't figure out what it's useful for, and can follow the conferences that I might need to know about by just searching for #hlg2012 (or equivalent). Twitter annoys me. Sorry. It's just not for me.
- Don't ask library users for feedback if we can't change anything, eg. can't physically move our library to the hospital over the road (but can offer an outreach service, whereby I'll come to you with laptop, library materials, a smile and enthusiasm to be available to answer questions and do training-on-the-hoof!)
- People get survey fatigue. Do short monthly surveys, and say in the subject line "3 questions on ejournals" etc.
- Prioritise any feedback: easy to do, high impact, versus hard to do, low impact, ergo don't do it.
- Tell people very soon after the survey ends about findings and what you can do in response! Actually, this is something that I learnt at the UHMLG conference in York, in June...
- Use those Library Champions, aka the readers whom I have helped recently who really like our service and are willing to tell their colleagues about us.