Saturday, October 30, 2010

Internet Librarian 2010 #intlib10 pre-conference: Promoting Effective use of E-resources using E-tools by Barbie E. Keiser

This was my first year at Internet Librarian. I will post my feelings about my first conference, speaking as part of a panel at the conference, and failure. For now, these are my notes for Promoting the Effective Use of E-Resources by using E-Tools. We are getting heavily into our usage stats for our digital products and determining whether this database or resources needs to be cut, or needs more promotion. This session answered both sides of that question.

The Program/Michael Porter Approach to Marketing
I really enjoyed this program since it promotes marketing to a specific group of people rather than a spread out approach, shotgun style. Find and identify the specific target group, develop service and promotion around it, and then measure the full impact of the program.

It begins with the assessment process. The thinking behind this presentation takes a business-like approach to rolling out a new service. 

Establish an information need, estimate size of market, identify competition, can you meet the need now? 

She brought up Michael Porter's Five Forces that affect the marketplace: New Entrants into the market, suppliers, buyers, substitutes, and Industry Competitors. I found this approach very refreshing. 

When I simplify this question, I would wonder if I should bother with a library database when Google will do. Some researchers will even pay to get the information that is already available through the library because they don't know about it. Genealogy research comes to mind, people can Google their ancestry, pay for a subscription at or use the library resources that provides all that and more. The introduction of the competition in this was fascinating and really changed the way I am thinking about marketing e-resources.

Need to identify your user base, who are they, what drives them, what forces them, what are the barriers, what are all the critical factors?

Porter's four P's: product, Place, Price, Promotion. There was a great emphasis on Porter's works, should pick it up. If product is not new, how do you repackage as if it is? People have short attention spans, need to re-introduce and re-package current services.

Heavy emphasis was placed on focus groups, asking them what they expect of your service, what products and services are currently available, do people even know about it, are you aware what others offer.

(As a side note of strategically marketing services, lots of comments from librarians on how they needed a certain database, but project was scrapped to get eBooks. I wonder if that is a director overreacting to a trend or librarians unaware of their market?)

Pull marketing ideas from what we are doing now
Libraries need to find new ways to promote services, examples given were product of the month, giveaway of products, get and giveaway freebies. Think of marketing like a sales promotion, tie everything into that. Lower the barrier to access for a limited period of time to encourage usage, same as a sale. One of the participants mentioned that libraries do this during their Summer Reading Programs. Another thought is asking why are you promoting it? Yes get new users, higher stats, what's the goal. What does this promotion say about me?

Need to use these skills to push a message, but can also allow message to be pulled, what users define us as, and also participatory, engaged patrons. There are different methods to accomplish any one of the three.

Next part covered social networks available. Overall, this segment was a rehash of social networking sites and which one works best for each type of marketing and promotion. This segment was a bit more advanced and I think it would take a good amount of critical analysis to get this part right. Broadcast media equals lower engagement; Networks/Blogs equals higher engagement. Push messaging versus dialogue, this segways into a general approach of library branding and service delivery. When is it a good time to use a blog, wiki, newsletter, tutorial, podcast, Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, giveaways, RSS feeds and more? 

Libraries should develop a marketing campaign design worksheet. Needs and benefits, messages, platforms, vehicles, frequency and strategy, partners and personal dates, measures and more all affect that message. A parting thought, people don't friend libraries, people friend people, we may need to change approach in library marketing to further embed ourselves. Not a library, but a librarian is a more human approach. Funny that most libraries that have social networks have maybe one or two people work on them, and also have their own account. Why not use personal accounts to push?