Ideas for Low-Cost Marketing

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The American Marketing Association recently published a great article, “Libraries Demonstrate How Data Can Supercharge Low-budget Marketing.” Library Marketing was one of my favorite courses, but it is not a part of the core curriculum of most ALA accredited schools. I think that this should change and that an entire course, or a large part of a core class, should be devoted to marketing. Librarians are taking on more dynamic roles and as this article points out, much of the data that is helpful for marketing, is freely available if you know where to look. Census data, for example, can help librarians learn about its users. This data can be used to create a community profile, in marketing speak this process includes environmental scanning, or locating trends, threats, themes that might impact an organization.  This article points out several libraries that have been successful with their marketing campaigns by taking advantage of “open-source resources” and Analytics on Demand (AOD), a data tool offered by Gale/Cengage Learning.

The image above was on a billboard in Arkansas to promote the public library and while most people can identify and find humor in these quotes, the beauty of targeted marketing is that it should promote a service based on specific user needs. A great example in this article is the Sacramento Public Library (SPL) advertising their tech classes and e-books by emailing tech-savvy “or early adopters.” In this way, the library is not inundating all of its users with emails about things they might not care about, rather they are emailing those most receptive based on the subject and SPL’s knowledge of their patrons. I know it’s easier said than done, but I am endlessly fascinated by creative ways that information professionals have found to promote library services and this article highlights some great examples.

Happy Reading !


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