You may remember a while ago when I encouraged you to share your observations on marketing and libraries by completing an online survey. The questions were mostly open-ended, so I don’t have much hardcore data to share with you. Instead I thought I’d take the next couple of blog posts to share with you what you shared with me. We had 20 people complete the survey.
The first question is perhaps the most thought-provoking: Briefly explain challenges you’ve experienced internally and externally.
Some of your answers:
"My biggest challenge is buy-in from library staff. They were used to making their own marketing materials and each branch acted independently. There has been much resistance to implementing publication guidelines, standards and templates because the staff feels we are taking away their creativity. The word "marketing" also seems to offend some library staff, as if "marketing" has no place in libraries. I am working harder in marketing my department as a resource to internal staff than I am in marketing the library to the public."
"Externally, the diminishing print market and fewer local reporters to cover the library. Internally, getting all the different departments to work towards a consistent brand/image/message."
"Balancing system branding needs and resources with branch needs and feelings of ownership over displays. Lack of buy-in from branch staff over the importance of brand consistency. Public not understanding today’s libraries. Branch staff invested in getting publicity for programs, but not for other services and materials."
"I am being pulled in many directions and feel I can’t truly sit down and deconstruct everything to create my marketing plan."
"Traditional mindset that marketing is pushy and uses deception to lure people into something. As such, the push back had been an attitude that there is no need for such type activity by the library because it is a free public institution and because people already recognize that they need their library."
"Our biggest problem is communication among our branches, and coordinating who will communicate our message out to the community."
"Gaining consistency of message and visual "look" throughout the organization, as well as "buy-in" from skeptical staff."
"The biggest challenges are internal — getting involved early enough in projects to put together an effective marketing program for particular products. Usually I get brought it after a program/concept has been introduced and is not gaining the attention the Librarians had hoped for. At this point, undoing some of the decisions is difficult (such as name the product). My goal is to get the Librarians to understand that when they consider the cost of the product, they should include funds for promotion."
"The biggest challenge that I have faced is that my library does not really understand the role of marketing. Most librarians think marketing is just publicity — printing flyers and sending out media requests for their programs. They don’t care about the larger picture or how we can improve to reach new customers."
"Making sure we appeal to all audiences. Making sure our internal audiences understand the value of marketing. We need to do the best job we can on keeping up with current technology."
See a theme here? What amazes me is that respondents couldn’t see the answers from previous survey takers. The consistency of language and issues is unmistakable. I’d love to hear your take on this. Plus, four years into adding the marketing discipline at a library, I feel that my library has traveled an extensive journey and has made great progress in understanding the value of marketing. I have many ideas of how to solve this conflict, but I’ll share that in a future post.