Library Marketing for Decision Makers


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To (too?) Public: library Marketing and Public Relations in Public Libraries Today. Presentation by Katre Riisalu, President of the Estonian Librarians Association

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Library Marketing for Decision Makers

  1. 1. LIBRARY MARKETING FOR DECISION-MAKERS Tallinn 4 May 2011 Paula Kauppila
  2. 2. CONTENT <ul><li>The presentation is focused on one segment of library marketing targeted at municipal elected officials, whom are reviewed as decision-makers </li></ul><ul><li>I concentrate on the characteristics and contents of successful library marketing, and not on the means, channels or methods that vary in accordance with the municipality, situation and objective in question </li></ul><ul><li>Library marketing is determined in broad terms: all communications and actions that are targeted to promote public library affairs in the municipality </li></ul>
  3. 3. FUNDAMENTAL PROPOSITIONS <ul><li>I have two fundamental propositions: </li></ul><ul><li>Library marketing should be especially targeted at municipal elected officials because they make the decisions relating to the functional preconditions and resources allocation of public libraries. Also management of a library institution is far easier, when the library and elected officials have a good working relationship with each other </li></ul><ul><li>Efficient library marketing for elected officials requires personal contacts and planned actions by one's own initiative -> </li></ul><ul><li>Networking is the most valuable action you can do for your library </li></ul>
  4. 4. TARGET GROUP <ul><li>Municipalities (local government) and the state are the core democratic structures in Finland </li></ul><ul><li>In the beginning of 2011, Finland consisted of 336 municipalities </li></ul><ul><li>The municipalities have local self-government and taxing power </li></ul><ul><li>The municipalities organise statutory basic services for the residents </li></ul><ul><li>The public library is one of the statutory municipal basic services </li></ul>
  5. 5. TARGET GROUP (2) <ul><li>Basic services are funded by municipal taxation, state subsidies and fees charged for these services </li></ul><ul><li>The Finnish local government management system is characterised by division into political and professional management </li></ul><ul><li>Municipal services are guided by political decision-making </li></ul>
  6. 6. TARGET GROUP (3) <ul><li>The municipality’s supreme decision-making body is the municipal council, the members of which are elected every four years in general and equal municipal elections </li></ul><ul><li>The council elects the members of the municipal executive board, the task of which is to prepare council decisions and execute them </li></ul><ul><li>The council also elects boards to lead the production of public services in the municipality. The number and nature of these boards varies from one municipality to another </li></ul>
  7. 7. TARGET GROUP (4) <ul><li>The municipal board is responsible for local government administration and financial management </li></ul><ul><li>It prepares matters to be decided by the council, executes the decisions and ensures their legality </li></ul><ul><li>The municipal manager, f.ex. Director of Libraries, works under the municipal board as the head of municipal administration, financial management and other functions </li></ul>
  8. 8. TARGET GROUP (5) <ul><li>Local government is responsible for running library and information services in accordance with the Finnish Library Act </li></ul><ul><li>In addition to the Library Act and Decree, (, the state guides operations with definitions of policy, information guidance, and discretionary financing </li></ul><ul><li>The municipality is responsible for ensuring that the services are in compliance with valid legislation </li></ul>
  9. 9. TARGET GROUP (6) <ul><li>The state and municipalities are together responsible for the municipal public library funding </li></ul><ul><li>Library legislation and state funding have ensured the development of public libraries throughout Finland </li></ul><ul><li>Budget funding allocated for public libraries by municipalities varies greatly between different municipalities </li></ul>
  10. 10. TARGET GROUP (7) <ul><li>The elected officials participating in the board that handles library matters are in key position to defend the libraries and enable high-quality services </li></ul><ul><li>Elected officials, i.e. political representatives are a group of ordinary people that represent all municipal residents in accordance with democratic principles </li></ul>
  11. 11. MY FRAMEWORK / CITY OF PORI <ul><li>City of Pori has approx. 83,000 residents, little less than 300 elected officials and around 7,300 city employees </li></ul><ul><li>City of Pori is the 11th biggest municipality in Finland </li></ul><ul><li>Pori Public Library – Regional Library of Satakunta, a municipal public library, one of the 19 regional libraries in Finland </li></ul><ul><li>Pori Public Library has around 100 employees </li></ul><ul><li>Library matters are handled by the Board of Culture of Pori, handling all affairs concerning municipal cultural services </li></ul>
  12. 12. WHY? <ul><li>Elected officials are the supreme assessors and decision-makers of library and information services in the municipality -> </li></ul><ul><li>The public library is dependent on the decisions made by them </li></ul><ul><li>In seek to ensure library´s performance the elected officials must be convinced of public library´s importance by -> </li></ul><ul><li>Showcasing the necessity and benefits of the public library institution </li></ul><ul><li>Creating a good reputation and impression </li></ul><ul><li>Creating and maintaining a positive image and intent </li></ul>
  13. 13. WHY? (2) <ul><li>Dilemma of public libraries: </li></ul><ul><li>Decreasing resources, lower budgets, but there is a growing need for an open service for all </li></ul><ul><li>Development ideas versus resources – / maintenance versus development – balancing </li></ul><ul><li>Competition of resources with other important municipal services </li></ul>
  14. 14. WHAT? <ul><li>Library marketing for municipal decision-makers fulfils basically two requirements: </li></ul><ul><li>The decision-makers have the right and need to know what are the general operative and financial outlines as well as long-term objectives and goals of the library </li></ul><ul><li>The library has the need to acquire and ensure adequate and sufficient resources now and in the future </li></ul><ul><li>It is about selling goals and ideas relating to library affairs, and communicating with the elected officials and their background groups </li></ul>
  15. 15. WHAT? (2) <ul><li>In addition, there are constant requirements to justify the very existence of the public library </li></ul><ul><li>Library marketing also covers the promotion, advocacy and lobbying of library and information services </li></ul><ul><li>Library marketing is constant and systematic work, the objective is to create an effective cooperation and common language between the library and decision-makers, the professional and political management </li></ul>
  16. 16. WHAT? (3) <ul><li>There are some excellent foundations for this </li></ul><ul><li>Because the contact between the public library and the elected officials is created automatically through municipal administration practices </li></ul><ul><li>Because the political parties usually express a positive attitude towards the library in their political programmes </li></ul><ul><li>Because the public library has a good image, brand, and there is positive general atmosphere and attitude towards the library </li></ul>
  17. 17. WHAT? (4) <ul><li>But… </li></ul><ul><li>On an individual level, the elected official represents his or her own interests and the interests of his or her constituents rather than the common interests of the party in question </li></ul><ul><li>An individual elected official may not be interested in library affairs at all </li></ul><ul><li>He or she might even have a negative attitude; funds directed to the library might be better used elsewhere, such as in health care </li></ul>
  18. 18. CHALLENGE <ul><li>This demanding task of library marketing is created because of pluralism and differences of municipal elected officials </li></ul><ul><li>How does the public library assure the miscellaneous group of elected officials, or at least most of them, of the significance of library and information services? </li></ul><ul><li>This challenge needs to be overcome because the main task of the library management is to continuously take actions to ensure high-quality efficient performance and to acquire resources for library and information services </li></ul>
  19. 19. WHO? <ul><li>The library management has the greatest responsibility </li></ul><ul><li>The library personnel has a significant role in marketing since they meet these elected officials in their work and leisure </li></ul><ul><li>The objective is to have municipal decision-makers promoting the library </li></ul><ul><li>Also the residents can act as spokesmen for the library when they have positive user experiences </li></ul><ul><li>It is important to acquire as many spokesmen for the library as possible, and also organised lobbying groups, such as Friends of Libraries </li></ul><ul><li>WOM marketing (Word of Mouth) </li></ul>
  20. 20. WHO? (2) <ul><li>A clear, common message from all library employees is needed, a joint front to succeed in the library marketing </li></ul><ul><li>Any development plans must first be informed and discussed with library personnel, so that the message delivered to municipal elected officials is favourable and uniform </li></ul><ul><li>The library’s offering and product i.e. the library services, client orientation, library systems and facilities as well as the personnel well-being must function well, so that the marketing is successful in relation to its goals </li></ul>
  21. 21. HOW? OBJECTIVE AND PLAN <ul><li>Effective and efficient library marketing requires the following: </li></ul><ul><li>A strong will and enthusiasm </li></ul><ul><li>A clear objective and planning </li></ul><ul><li>Approachable justifications </li></ul><ul><li>Reporting of expected concrete benefits and results </li></ul><ul><li>In new projects, the final cost calculations are also needed </li></ul><ul><li>The skills of both leadership and management are needed in library marketing </li></ul>
  22. 22. HOW? OBJECTIVE AND PLAN (2) <ul><li>Library marketing has two general objectives: </li></ul><ul><li>To profile the public library as an actor and environment relating to knowledge and learning as well as to culture and cultural heritage </li></ul><ul><li>Constant justification of the social necessity of the library organised as a municipal basic service </li></ul><ul><li>Separate objectives should be derived from valid strategies: </li></ul><ul><li>Library strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Municipal strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Regional library strategy </li></ul><ul><li>National library strategy </li></ul><ul><li>-> Ready approved and persistent goals </li></ul>
  23. 23. HOW? OBJECTIVE AND PLAN (3) <ul><li>Marketing needs to be planned, so that it is reasonable and includes compatible actions </li></ul><ul><li>Library marketing should be constant, no sudden, separate marketing actions </li></ul><ul><li>Adoption and acceptance of market-based thinking and operating method </li></ul><ul><li>in public libraries </li></ul><ul><li>Active, strong networking and building of relationships, also on an individual level, in every possible direction and grade </li></ul>
  24. 24. HOW? OBJECTIVE AND PLAN (4) <ul><li>In addition to practices relating to preparation of matters to be decided by the board and council, more information and communication needs to be provided and showed initiative by creating opportunities for discussions, both formal and informal </li></ul><ul><li>Conscious building and strengthening of trust </li></ul><ul><li>Uniting with other branches of municipal administration, the parties will gain benefit from promoting each others’ interests, not from competition </li></ul>
  25. 25. HOW? OBJECTIVE AND PLAN (5) <ul><li>Systematic familiarisation with the target group </li></ul><ul><li>The library must analyse the decision-makers, their views and opinions as well as their knowledge of the library and information services </li></ul><ul><li>Constant monitoring of discussions held and information needed by elected officials and their background goups </li></ul><ul><li>Being up-to-date on what is the general opinion about public library matters -> </li></ul><ul><li>Offering immediate answers and further information </li></ul>
  26. 26. HOW? OBJECTIVE AND PLAN (6) <ul><li>The most efficient marketing for elected officials is face-to-face marketing communication, verbal or written communication </li></ul><ul><li>When marketing through media, the matters should first be introduced to the decision-makers in order to be perceived as a reliable and attentive actor </li></ul><ul><li>When using social media, the fact that only a small number of decision-makers are active users needs to be considered </li></ul><ul><li>In municipalities of different sizes, library marketing is also different and should be implemented differently </li></ul>
  27. 27. HOW? CONTENT AND JUSTIFICATIONS <ul><li>The following points are essential for the content of library marketing: </li></ul><ul><li>A short and brisk message </li></ul><ul><li>A clear intent, transparency, focus on definition of content and selection of view </li></ul><ul><li>Appropriate, matter-of-fact basis, concrete and approachable justifications </li></ul><ul><li>Highlight the unique functions of public library </li></ul><ul><li>Everyday language, meaningful and ordinary wording, quickly adopted formulation, no professional jargon </li></ul><ul><li>No lying, distorted information or slandering of partners </li></ul><ul><li>Positive approach, no complaints or negative tone </li></ul>
  28. 28. HOW? CONTENT AND JUSTIFICATIONS (2) <ul><li>Present matters and values that are important to municipal decision-makers and respond to their views and requests </li></ul><ul><li>There are some general justifications to meet these views, such as </li></ul><ul><li>A well-functioning public library is an attractive and maintaining factor for the municipality </li></ul><ul><li>The cost efficiency of library and information services, affordable service production, economy </li></ul><ul><li>High user rates of library and information services </li></ul><ul><li>Concrete examples and comparisons, such as what you receive with budget funding from the library compared with some other organization </li></ul>
  29. 29. HOW? CONTENT AND JUSTIFICATIONS (3) <ul><li>Also the public library is expected to show proof with regard to efficiency, cost efficiency and social influence of services </li></ul><ul><li>The justifications should include quantitative comparison data collected with different indicators and qualitative information based on user experiences and views </li></ul><ul><li>Statistics database of Finnish public libraries,, comparison data, key and reference indicators for a certain public library </li></ul><ul><li>Useful documents to be referred in library marketing: </li></ul><ul><li>Government programme, National library policies and Quality guidelines for public libraries (Ministry of Education and Culture), </li></ul>
  30. 30. HOW? INDIVIDUAL IDENTITY <ul><li>Expert identity, respect based on professionalism </li></ul><ul><li>Expertise is formed on the basis of competence, diffusion of expertise </li></ul><ul><li>Careful preparation and background work, confident presentation </li></ul><ul><li>Good reputation, reliability and credibility, earned by one’s own active participation and honest communication </li></ul><ul><li>Solution-oriented, positive attitude and message </li></ul><ul><li>Speaking from one human to another </li></ul>
  31. 31. HOW? INDIVIDUAL IDENTITY (2) <ul><li>The most important personal characteristics in a role of a marketer: </li></ul><ul><li>Perseverance and a realistic self-confidence </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to get along with different kinds of people and a willingness to treat everyone with same dignity </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to treat the receiver’s stand equally, emotional intelligence, incorrect attitude damages the library </li></ul><ul><li>Polite, but not too nice or pleasing -> associated with stupidity </li></ul><ul><li>Interaction, dialogue and situational sensitivity, flexible according to the target group needs </li></ul><ul><li>Abilities of argumentation </li></ul><ul><li>Listen, Review, Ask </li></ul>
  32. 32. HOW? INDIVIDUAL IDENTITY (3) <ul><li>Be unique and distinct -> </li></ul><ul><li>Create your own personal brand for marketing </li></ul><ul><li>Solid faith in one’s own cause and abilities </li></ul><ul><li>Utilisation of personal strengths </li></ul><ul><li>Own style, personification of message </li></ul><ul><li>Try making an appeal to emotions </li></ul><ul><li>Sell your library and yourself to municipal decision makers </li></ul>