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Developing a Library Marketing Plan, Part 1. Creating the Plan. Mark E. Ibach Marketing & PR Coordinator South Central Library System. What is marketing?.
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Developing a LibraryMarketing Plan, Part 1 Creating the Plan Mark E. Ibach Marketing & PR Coordinator South Central Library System
What is marketing? If the circus is coming to town and you paint a sign saying "Circus coming to the fairgrounds on Sunday," that's advertising. If you put the sign on the back of an elephant and have him walk through town, that's promotion. If the elephant walks through the mayor's flower bed and it makes the morning paper, that's publicity. If you get the mayor to laugh about it, that's publicity. And if you planned the whole thing, that's marketing.—Anonymous. From Library Administrator's Digest, November 2005.
Developing a library marketing plan involves more than just agreeing upon a definition, or compiling a list of good ideas that wind up collecting dust on a shelf because you don’t have the time, money, or expertise to execute them.
Maintain perspective • The marketing plan is a tool that you control, so use it that way.
Before you begin • Make sure your library has mission and vision statements to guide your work. • Consider using patron surveys or focus groups at some point in the process. • You have limited resources and limited time, and you don’t want to waste either. • Remember that your plan will be a road map, and side trips often result in unexpected dividends.
Identify the goals of your marketing plan Are you interested in: • Marketing specific programs or services to patrons? • Marketing the library to the community? • Planting and supporting the notion of the library as an essential community resources among users and nonusers?
Reminders while planning… • Planning will become more critical as budgets become tighter. • We live in dynamic, evolving communities, and our goals must evolve to stay relevant. • Recognize that there is much competition for your patrons’ time and attention.
Initial planning steps • Create a list of core library services, and the community value of each. • Compile a list of your library’s strengths and weaknesses. • Create a list of why people use the library, and why they may not. • Compile a list of the services, activities or resources that compete for patron time and attention.
Initial planning steps (continued) • Compile a list of your existing marketing strategies, whether they support your overall marketing goals (and vision and mission statements), and the time and resources each requires.
Active planning • Identify the holes in your current efforts and develop ideas for new projects. • Don’t worry about whether you have the time, resources or expertise to accomplish particular items. Just identify items that further your goals.
What next? • Identify which staff members will carry out which projects. • When will projects be implemented (timeline)? • How much time will each take? • Who has what expertise? • How much budget will be required? • Don’t be afraid to be bold. Try some new things. Take some risks!
Reality check • It’s better to do a few things well than take on too much, so now it’s time to be realistic. • Begin by identifying what existing activities you can do without, and why. • Modify other existing activities to save time and money.
Remember yourmarketing goals • It’s important that you remain focused on the goals you identified in your marketing plan. • You’ll have to make difficult choices. Be ready to defend them to your staffs, your library board, and possibly your patrons. • Remember, what once was a novel program now may be trite.
Finalizing your plan • Evaluate your new proposals and determine those you can realistically implement.
Conclusion • There are no wrong answers. • You must do what is right for your community and consistent with your marketing plan goals. • I can help.
Conclusion www.scls.info/pr/presentations/05_07/ Mark E. Ibach (608) 246-5612 or firstname.lastname@example.org