New Marketing Trends

Marketing Ideas for Non-Profits and Libraries

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

Friday, February 26, 2010

Andy Sernovitz @ AMA: Be awesome

The American Marketing Association hosted a free online conference yesterday that was rejuvenating for sure! With all the new tools and variety of places to reach our audiences, we sometimes forget why we are trying to have conversations in the first place. Andy Servnovitz kicked off the conference bringing us back to the place we need to start from – the heart. His metaphor for marketing was the love process from first love to commitment. His message was not new but well received- if people love you, love your product, are excited about it, they will tell the world. And that kind of advertising will grow your organization.

The one big question to ask is:


If you had left the conference after that moment you would have had the wisdom you needed to turn around your marketing efforts for your library.

Lately I’ve been having lots of discussions with people looking to improve their outcomes- increase event participation, improve circulation, expand a teen group, etc. Usually the conversation begin with the person telling me what they are doing and asks how they can get the word out to the public. And that’s where the problem begins.

Marketing does not begin when you need to design a flyer or send a press release. It begins with a philosophy that treats customers’ opinions and needs with respect. And continues with a commitment to actively seek and listen to those opinions. Web 2.0 only provides the tools, without a philosophy that supports that kind of collaboration those tools are useless.

If you haven’t been building that collaboration, don’t be discouraged; let yourself be inspired to take the first step. Andy’s talk inspired me. Here in NJ we're running a huge public awareness campaign that features some really big name athletes and authors and incredible prizes. We’d been working the campaign around getting people to talk about the champions and cool prizes and doing really well with it. But as I listened to Andy it dawned on me that we need to go back to our fans and ask them what should be next in order to keep it growing. What would be awesome enough for them to tell their friends? Fortunately our marketing fundamentals are in place and we have a network to communicate with them, so implementing this next step will be relatively easy. The amazing thing about inspiration is that it gets you talking about things again too - WILL YOU BECOME A NJ LIBRARY CHAMPION FAN? :-)

Getting back to Andy’s talk... He spoke about the “chocolate problem” as it related to WOM Marketing and I couldn’t help but think how it applied to libraries. He explained how everybody knows and loves chocolate so it’s really hard to get anyone excited about it enough to share with friends. “Hey dude, have you tried chocolate?” So if you are yummy chocolate, you need find fresh reasons for people to talk about you. That could be as easy as adding new services or products or a fun new video. The key is to rejuvenate the people who love to getting talking about you again.

He talked about how even boring products have been able to get some great WOM going. Skittles has over 600.000 fans on Facebook; Duct Tape took on the sponsorship for the Duct Tape prom outfits that has 120 schools involved and has created incredible press for them; and Heinz ran a $57,000 video contest that netted 10 million views and had people talking about ketchup. We know many libraries are constantly getting past the chocolate problem by doing neat things like creating drive-up windows, offering live collections and running community wide film festivals.

(Would love to hear more ideas that you are all doing!)

For those of you not familiar with the basics of WOMM, I talk about it in my book and Andy outlined them in his talk as well.

Five steps of WOM Marketing

1. Find the talkers
2. Give people a reason to talk
3. Provide the tools to spread the message
4. Take part in the Conversation
5. Track and measure


1. Just ask!
2. Email is best WOM because you can forward to everyone you know.(I'll add that mobile marketing is great for this too.)
3. Give people something to share- physical item, case study, research
4. Let people share any way they want – anytime- let them do it the way they want
5. Remember to take part in the conversation

It was a full day of programs and I'll be writing more about them in the coming days. This was an incredible conference and the idea that the American Marketing Association offered it free to non-members has certainly made me a talker for them! –Nancy


Joe Morgan said...

That's interesting. I really like the "chocolate problem." I found that many campaigns best tap into the WOM spirit by immediately asking for feedback. I recently launched a digital collection and then sent out a email, not announcing it, but asking for feedback. Before long I was walking down the halls and I'd hear people mention this "online reprints thing" that they like to other people.

Nancy Dowd said...

That's great. I love that idea of asking for feedback rather than making an announcement. I'll have to use that one too! -Nancy

Megan said...

I thought Andy's presentation was one of the strongest of the day. So many applications for the library world.

Nancy Dowd said...

I thought so too.