You guys, marketing is not something that comes naturally to me. It really doesn’t. We have an OverDrive subscription as part of a consortium purchase that has been very underused because, um, people didn’t know about it, which is probably my fault. It could also be underused for a few other reasons. For instance:
- This isn’t a campus of fiction readers.
- Kindles, iPads, and other portable reading devices (including smartphones) are fairly rare here.
It’s my job to try and figure out if the service is useful to us, so basically, I need to figure out if people will actually use it if they know about it. That means I need a strategy.
I read Marketing Today’s Academic Library: A Bold New Approach to Communicating with Students by Brian Mathews not long after I started working. I found his no-nonsense approach to students to be very refreshing and directly in line with my own experience working with students. I appreciated his tell-it-like-it-is approach to libraries in general, too. No BS here, thank you very much, just solid well-reasoned strategy with fully actionable suggestions.
So when it came time to formulate a marketing strategy, I pulled the book down from my shelf and thumbed through the post-it flags I’d left in there from last time. For this particular project, I found Chapter 8 Promotional Building Blocks to be the most helpful. I already had ideas of where I wanted to spread my message, and this chapter helped me identify a few more. From there it was just a matter of sitting down with a piece of paper and deciding how to roll out the message in an organic way.
Once I got into it and thought about it systematically, it wasn’t nearly as intimidating to design a marketing strategy as I thought it would be. A solid list, a time table, some strategic reminders in Outlook, and the handy marketing and outreach materials from OverDrive and I’m in business.
In other news, I’m thinking about adding a “recommended reading” tab on the blog. I really try to keep a professional book going at all times and spend a bit of time each week chipping away at it. A lot of times, the books aren’t all that great, or a kind of obvious. Usually when I read a great one I blog about it. They are all tagged “recommended reading” but it might be useful to have them all listed somewhere. What do you think?