Never having worked in a library, this task is a little difficult as I can’t draw on any kind of personal exposure to such a policy/strategy. However, I think that all marketing strategies have the same goal: to increase an organisations’ customer base. So how can marketing ideas be used in libraries to develop a marketing strategy?

Public Libraries Australia provides an example marketing strategy which I found really helpful, along with Brown’s (2009) piece “Developing an Effective Social Media Marketing Strategy“. After reading these, if I were to create a marketing strategy for a library I would do the following (or at least try!):

  • I would look at the library’s mission statement and objectives and consider how these can be incorporated into the plan.
  • I would look at the current library user base and compare that with demographic data to see if the library has any gaps in its reach.
  • Once the target market(s) has been selected I would then investigate where those people are.
  • Upon locating the target market, the sites that will be utilised can be investigated.
  • To decide which sites to use and which services will be promoted will require discussions with library staff and the target group.
  • I would also try to make use of free sites to start with as this will counter possible budget constraints.
  • Initially the time required to implement the strategy will be more than will be required to keep it going. Potentially a few hours a day will become a few hours a week. However, taking note of Brown’s suggestion, time requirements will be something that will be fully considered and monitored.
  • Finally, the plan will be written down. The advantage to writing down the plan is the transparency, accountability and direction a written document provides.

All in all, marketing is essential to ensure that potential customers know that you exist and that you can give them something they need. Libraries can no longer rely on their historical position as the holders of information. Libraries need to cut through the noise of the internet to maintain their place as hubs of knowledge, learning and community.

REFERENCES

Brown, AL. (2009). Developing an Effective Social Media Marketing Strategy, in Salt Lake City Social Media Examiner (30 July), Retrieved from http://www.examiner.com/article/developing-an-effective-social-media-marketing-strategy

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