Marketing Wrap-Up from ALA 2018: Best (and Worst) Vendor Exhibits and Librarian Marketing Experts

Arranged by what came to mind first....

1. Grammarly

Just SHOWING UP WITH SOMETHING COOL AND COMING TO ALA FOR THE FIRST TIME demonstrates a company's respect for ALA and its members, and provides a new technology to evaluate. (Note that Google and Nintendo have stopped coming to ALA.) Grammarly hooks on to Word or tags along as you go about your business on the Web -- cleaning your messes. Grammarly has broken the Microsoft Word monopoly on spell check. "Clippy" is weeping wherever it is.

Grammarly made their marketing lead, Greg Carpets, available to me for an hour-long discussion about the technology behind the product -- which has to do with neural networks and machine learning. They are employing folks who are both linguists and programmers, so wow. Grammarly learns, in aggregate, about English style, context, and so on based on its many users.

According to their blog, Grammarly is PRO SERIAL COMMA. Grammarly has a lot of funding and is going to be around for a while…

An Interview with Mark Aaron Polger, Co-editor of Marketing Libraries Journal

Why did you become a librarian and what do you like about the career of librarianship?
I became a librarian in 2000. I love playing detective and teaching people how to “find stuff” and critically evaluate what is high quality and what is junky.

Assuming Information Literacy (InfoLit) was your first stab at librarianship how did the marketing issue become important to you?
Marketing information literacy takes time. It requires buy-in which can take years. It is much more than creating a brochure and flyers. I would target specific departments and attend meetings and discuss the benefits that InfoLit would have on their department and their students and the courses they are taking. I think selecting a target group to promote InfoLit to is the first step. Asking questions to learn about their needs and then developing information literacy lessons to address their needs should be the next step. Constantly tweaking your infolit lessons and classes to address your target market’s need…

Marketing Libraries by Creating User Personas--Bringing Prospective Library Users into Space & Time

I am excited to be in the Proquest database and even more so to be honored with publication by ALA's Reference and User Services Association. The editors of Reference and User Services Quarterly say:

When Spenser Thompson said he’d like to devote this issue’s marketing column to “personas,” I have to be honest—I had no idea what he meant. But his description of “watching the movie” to see how different people use and perceive the library is really intriguing. Much like sportscasters “roll the tape,” to get a better look at a play, librarians can also watch the movie to design better marketing experiences.
Read the Article >>

Library Marketing Bibliography: Looking beyond Library Literature

Librarians are good at marketing, which is clear from a mere glance at the ACRL Library Marketing and Outreach page on Facebook. The new Library Marketing Journal that is accepting submissions now and promises to be a hard-core addition to what librarians can learn from each other.
In addition, the ALA’s Libraries Transform Campaign is a comprehensive set of tools for library marketing. The ALA put a lot of money and effort into this campaign and it shows. If you want to see how to do things the right way at the campaign level, pull this material apart. (You can also find out how to participate in the campaign by making social media videos, press releases, and using their graphics.)

There are several non-librarian-authored sources that can help you figure out how to market your library’s services.  Here is a bibliography of sources have influenced my thinking over the years.

The Copywriter’s Bible

Learn about the history of advertising and how to write prose that dazzles and convinces.


What Libraries Can Learn from the Best Companies


These are the main points of a presentation I gave at the Library Marketing Communications Conference 2016 called "What Libraries Can Learn from the Best Companies and Ad Agencies".

The best companies focus on the community not operations, products, or services.They harmonize marketing and customer-facing staff.They have passionate, market-focused leaders.They know that good marketing = good business.They know marketing is ears not just a tongue.They love their audience or are their audience.They hire great people, not LinkedIn profiles.
I got some good feedback on my presentation and a few questions about personas that I will be addressing in future blog posts. Creating personas is a great process because it helps you to design better services and more precise messages. You can then take your personas and create dramas for them. How will your library fit into the drama of their lives?

Pokemon Go for Libraries: Resources


Never missing out on a chance for fun or a new technology, librarians are already exchanging ideas on how to bring Pokemon Go players to their libraries. Libraries have done amazing things with hot apps. For example, Burlingame Public Library was written up in the New York Times for their #bookface social media posts. But that is so 20 minutes ago! It's "Go" time.

1) Library Aware, a digital marketing platform provided by EBSCO, sent out an announcement today about free materials to get Pokemon Go going. I am not sure if it is open to non-customers but you may want to write to the email on that landing page and see it any EBSCO customer can take advantage.

2) A librarian, Erin Washington at Spartanburg Methodist College, was already working on a digital scavenger hunt that she is going to rename LibraryGo.

Since all the "kids these days" are meandering around doing PokémonGo, I thought I'd design a game called LibraryGo. I had already been working o…

Communicating with Library Technology Vendors: 10 Tips for Trade Shows


Did you get on the exhibits floor and check out the latest technology demos? What kind of interaction did you have with your tech vendor? Was it productive or satisfying?  Did they hear what you had to say and did you understand what they were pitching? If not, you may want to consider these tips next time. If you are a member of a tech committee, a department head, or a director identify yourself right away. They will listen harder if they think you are a decision maker.If you are part of the staff, let them know that what you are asking for is relevant to the overall goals at your library (i.e. service). Asking for a tiny feature enhancement probably won’t have any impact, and there are other forums for that.Find out if you are talking to sales or not. Salespeople are trained to give demos of the product so don’t shy away from them.Find out if there are any product managers, coders, CEOs on the floor if you have detailed information you need or just to pick their brains.Rath…