New Marketing Trends

Marketing Ideas for Non-Profits and Libraries

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

Monday, April 23, 2007

Free Comic Book Day almost here

Here at the New Jersey State Library we are moving into high gear for the launch of the Super Librarian Comic Book on Free Comic Book Day (May 5th). And the word is already leaking... I just got an email from Robert Kimmons who owns a comic shop in Chicago called Brainstorm Movies, Comics and Gaming. One of his customers is a librarian who is dying for a copy of the comic! We'll be sending it off in exchange for a picture of the two of them with the comic. Is there anything like the excitement before a launch of a campaign?

For anyone who doesn't know the history of this project...This campaign is an extension of the initial marketing campaign where we launched Super Librarian a few years ago. We created a TV commercial, posters, etc.... That campaign was met with polar reviews from our librarians. Many loved it, they thought it was creative, exciting and quite innovative... but others felt it was the wrong choice to represent librarians. How many of you have ever found yourself in that situation?

We knew the concept was on target and had already decided go ahead with a comic book ... great idea... educational tool... incredibly neat idea to have a comic book... did I say incredibly neat idea?... but the big question was how to win back buy-in from those libraries that had resisted the initial campaign.

After rethinking our strategies it made sense to change the target audience from the general population to the tweens and teens. We had run a contest having teens write a backstory and from there two very talented librarians (David Lisa and Manny Rosca- Miracle)stepped forward to write the comic itself.The comic was drawn by a professional graphic designer. Appealing to the YA librarians just made sense. The next big step was finding a way to launch. Partnering with Diamond Comics for their Free Comic Book Day gave us a national event to join AND gave our libraries an added incentive to join up. Sure enough the new strategies worked... we have over 200 libraries signed up. Those libraries close to a comic book store are partnering with them and will hopefully create some great synergies. Those that don't have a comic book store nearby will be getting free comics from Diamond. Everyone gets the Super Librarian comics.

That's the thing about marketing. Even if you have the best product, unless you are appealing to a target audience that wants that product, chances are it won't work. But not all good ideas have to be thrown away. We just have to rethink the process taking in all the information. Of course, sometimes ideas do get tossed out at least put on the back burner.... that's part of the process too. The key is to be open to all the input you get, not take it personally but look at it in terms of what worked and what needs to be changed.

There you have it philosophies the week before the big day. I'll let you know how it goes! Take a look at the website... just click on the Super Librarian. oh BTW- a male librarians super hero is introduced!


Anonymous said...

I wish we could get something similar off the ground over here in the UK.

The comics community have tried, but local councils are more interested in closing down libraries or replacing the books with youth-orientated media centres (OK, just a row of computers, but how can you justify blowing your budget on something so mundane?)

I have been involved in the US free comicbook day though, and found it not only rewarding in its self, but also a great way to branch out to a new audience.

Good luck and I hope it pans out very well for you.

Nancy Dowd said...

That must be soooo frustrating! Thanks for the good wishes. Next year you'll have to visit the States :-)

David said...

Kudos to Nancy and the State Library for their innovation and desire to produce a cross-promotional opportunity for libraries and comic shops in New Jersey! As co-author of the Super Librarian comic book, I'd also like to say how much fun I had with the project and everyone involved at the State Library. Thanks go out to co-author Manny Rosca, Nancy Dowd, SL "super"-artist Wes Richards and Cheryl O'Connor.

Nancy Dowd said...

Oh and in case anyone wants to meet our authors in person 11:30- 1:30 Tues or Wed.... just visit our booth at NJLA for a free- personalized autographed copy of your favorite comic book!