What is your marketing person doing in his or her office?
You might think we are waving our hands over a pile of papers, hoping it whips itself up into a thing called a “Marketing Plan.” Or, we might be printing a new “brand” out of our 3-D printer. Maybe we are watching a webinar that will help the library leverage its whitespace to synergize core competencies.
Whatever you think is going on in there, you probably don’t think to interrupt us and ask if we can assist in getting the word out about a program or service that you know patrons need — right?
What marketers are really doing – what we want to be doing – is helping you.
Marketing, like libraries and every profession, has its own jargon, frameworks, and culture. Marketers and librarians generally regard each other from our respective ivory towers of expertise and admire each others’ skills. Marketers look at metadata creation, database selection, and book repair as magical – the way you might view our ability to get a story in the local paper or the library’s logo printed on a pen.
But just as librarians distill their specialized knowledge into simple tasks to help a wide range of patrons, marketers are also here to use our knowledge to help you. In fact, our main “marketing” task is to help you do your job better.
At many libraries, your marketing professional may not have an advanced degree in librarianship. She or he may have been a journalist, or maybe an account executive with a PR firm. We come to libraries with the contacts, the context, and the tools to broadcast a message to a variety of audiences.
Give us a service or program that you would like to see better used. We can research the best outlet for this information and then create the words and product to fit that avenue. Let us find out what media your community consumes, how to get space in those formats, and how your audience needs to hear what you have to say. Let us connect you with patrons. From there, it’s up to you to dazzle them with your knowledge and professionalism.
Carol Morency manages marketing and public relations at the Mount Prospect Public Library.