New Marketing Trends

Marketing Ideas for Non-Profits and Libraries

The M Word helps librarians learn about marketing trends and ideas.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Library Marketing should start at the birth of an idea

meeting room, originally uploaded by obLiterated.

Photo: The Suspended Meeting Room at Brisbane City Council Library

Marketing your library should never start when the program or service is already developed. Marketing needs to be an integral part of the development of everything you do. Nowhere is that demonstrated better than in the recently released video by the Shanachies on their Australian Tour. Jaap van de Geer posted the HD film of their visit to the Brisbane City Council Library and it is well worth your while to watch it. You will be inspired. Here are some of the things you’ll hear about:

The message is clear that this library believes it’s role is to provide opportunities for lifelong learning and recognizes that not all learning comes from books. But what is relevant for those looking to market libraries is that the following sections are all created with a "marketing eye" by responding to the needs of their customers.

1. They have a “Fast Section” where people can get fast service.

· Fast information

· Fast book returns

· Fast checkout

· Staff only work at small service points to keep staff roving service they have gotten rid of the “fortress” service desk

2. There is a newsroom with big screens playing sports, news and finance information. I love that it opens earlier than other sections of the library so people can have a cup of coffee without having to open the rest of library. Not only would our customers love that kind of service, can you imagine the positive press you’d get for such a cost-saving idea?

3. The “Noise Floor” not only provides a place to make noise there is a sound and vision section where acoustic concerts take place. On Sunday mornings musician conduct workshops and then give an afternoon concert. They even rent out the room for performers so they can give concerts.

4. The Developer’s Lounge provides a meeting space for the people who are building the city. The library supports them with a place to meet with free wi-fi and access to news and they have contact with library’s customers.

5. For the children’s section the library commissioned a well-known Australian children’s author to tell the story of the city, Home. The library owns the artwork and used it in the library to create an environment where children are “in the book”.

6. The most incredible spot in the entire library is the Sports section where a huge screen runs sports shows. Here is where you really understand what a library that is committed to providing information in the formats that is relevant to its customers looks like. They have seen an increased usage of young men 18- 35 . And why not? There are screens with sports and lifestyle shows, gaming stations, computers with Internet connections and graphic novels. Everything men love, in the library.

What struck me was that the library didn’t have to advertise this section at all- usage increased simply by word of mouth. Marketing starts by finding out what our customers need and want; knowing the way they want to to receive information and then giving them products that fulfill those needs. Brisbane gets that. They don't ask their customers to adapt to them, they are adapting to their customers. They have created spaces that are relevant to people’s lives and provide content in the medium they prefer and in turn their customers are spreading the word for them. They recognize that each generation has it’s own preferred medium to gather information and they provide content accordingly.

The interview provides much more about this amazing library. Watch all of Jaap’s videos on Vimeo.

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