by Catherine Bailey
As I’m in the middle of writing my first marketing plan for a library, it seemed perfect to write about my experience. I’ve previously written several marketing plans for shopping malls but this was my first time writing one for a library so I was interested to see how the experience would be different.
One of the first things I realized was that despite having worked under the previous marketing plan for my library, I rarely looked at it. I had diligently worked at and ticked off the marketing activities I had been assigned but I rarely looked at the strategy behind it. And I wondered why?
Like many people in the library world, marketing is just one part of my work. In my library world I have combined marketing with information desk work, adult programming and outreach. Call me double-booked, but I do not have the time or inclination to wade through a 15 page document on regular basis. And if the passionate marketing person isn’t taking the time to read it on regular basis then how can I expect my co-workers to? And then I wondered, especially for those of us who work in small libraries, how many marketing plans don’t get written, let alone read, because they seem too complicated and time consuming.
I reviewed my previous shopping mall marketing plans; none of them were longer than 4 pages. Planned marketing activities were limited to a one page spreadsheet with a cost/budget breakdown. The marketing plan I would read on a regular basis, only took a few minutes and would remind me if I was heading in the right direction, if I needed to adjust what I was doing or if something needed tweaking or changed in the next plan.
So how did I get on with the marketing plan? Well I got it down to 9 pages and that includes 2 cover pages. The main marketing plan and strategy is just 4 pages. So we’re getting there. The biggest thing I did was shift all the previous and proposed marketing actions and activities into a review and action plan at the back. This meant after a brief review/background I could dive quickly into the vision and strategy and stay focused on it.
The most important thing though is that your marketing plan has to work for you and your organization. If you’re not reading your marketing plan regularly then ask yourself why not? Don’t be afraid to make changes, knowing that you can continue to tailor your plan until it best reflects your library and your community. For Marketing Plan_Tips use this document as a resource to guide your work.
Start small and simple and build your plan as you grow confident with it.
Catherine Bailey works part-time as the Marketing and Adult Programming Coordinator at Helen Matthes Library in Effingham.