Each year we try to entice students to visit the library in a number of ways; we start with incoming Freshman during orientations. We are a regular participant in LUCO - Loyola University Chicago Orientation - which takes place several times each summer starting in May and ending in August. Our Freshman classes have been increasing every year for the past decade, so there are typically several sessions of orientations to accommodate the roughly 3,000 new students (first years and transfers).
Whether or not you know what a meme is, it’s likely you come in contact with them almost daily through the Internet. However, the term was first used long before the information superhighway came barreling into our lives, coined by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in 1976,. Dawkins used the term in his book, The Selfish Gene, to describe bits of culture that are transmitted from person to person. At that time Dawkins was referring to things like catch phrases, fashion, and even behavior, anything, as Dawkins noted, “that goes viral.”
As a librarian and educator, my mission is to connect people with resources and opportunities. I am inclusive in my definition of resources and opportunities, but I didn’t anticipate creating a Center for Games and Learning.
One way I approach my job is to meet campus stakeholders and learn their interests. In January 2014, I had a conversation with Mark Hayse, the director of my university’s honors program, who is passionate about games and learning. At the time, I played games and to some extent I was familiar with the literature on gamification but had never considered making games a part of my job. Mark’s passion was catching and I took the opportunity to connect. He and I decided to collaborate on writing a Sparks! Ignition Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to create a library-based Center for Games and Learning.
Our PR committee at the library has several responsibilities. In addition to managing our social media, we are in charge of publicizing all library events. The committee is rarely (if ever) responsible for planning our own events. We work with the Speaker Series committee, Learning Commons committee, and others to make sure their events get the publicity they deserve. However, a few times a year the PR committee offers "good will" programs (not focused on education or learning) to engage students and increase general campus happiness. The committee gets our Dean to mix and mingle with the students twice a year at an event known affectionately as "Donuts with the Dean."
I think every librarian has mixed experiences with e-resource vendors. Luckily, I have a few in my corner that go above and beyond the call of duty to make sure that our students are getting the most out of their products. Recently I had a meeting with my Mintel rep to learn about new products, and a very involved Marketing professor came along to the meeting to give her two-cents about what our students need. During our meeting we learned that our Academic rep was able to arrange an analyst visit to campus.
Today I was chatting with one of my all time favorite library marketing professionals, Kathy Dempsey. We were discussing our mutual pet peeves, and the use of marketing terminology came up. Years ago, Kathy wrote a great blog post with a quick summary of some marketing terms. Check it out for a quick reminder of when to use which verb: http://themwordblog.blogspot.com/2008/03/what-marketing-really-means.html
Contemporary database marketing strategies (not e-resources, but a customer database) allow for-profit enterprises to capture what is known as the Customer Journey. Each time a sales person connects with a customer, it is documented. Even before they are officially a client, that experience is captured in the database. Each email that gets sent to the client is documented, with a record of "opened" or "unopened" - and documentation about any action that was taken after the email was opened. Any purchase is tracked, so marketers can analyze time between purchases, average dollar amounts, and in-store vs. online sales. This helps marketers craft custom solutions to purchase problems by analyzing the habits of the individuals, and then creating custom flash sales, coupons, or in-store events designed to attract a very specific customer. Many of these strategies were discussed at the Experian Marketing Forward Tour.
One of my round-table discussions at the Experian Marketing Forward Tour was about Solving the Marketing Measurement Mystery. My for-profit colleagues had very different experiences and issues than I have in my library, but conceptually the issues should be addressed in the same manner. While librarians are not typically measuring their marketing channels in terms of cost, we do dedicate staff time, strategy, and other resources to the cause.
Roger Ares, VP of Analytics for Hyatt Hotels Corporation, gave an excellent talk on his role at Hyatt and what customer analytics means for his job and his corporation at the Experian Marketing Forward Tour. While a lot of what he had to say would never apply to libraries (we are not recruiting customers for over-night stays, I'd hope!) his opinions on the use of data was fascinating, and several of his comments were just general good advice.
I think librarians, for years, have been fighting against many stereotypes. One stereotype that we have been actively working to overcome is that research has to be difficult, or that Google is superior to libraries because of the convenience.
However, librarians aren't always successful in combating this misconception. We have adopted all of the right tools (videos, social media, blogs, etc) but the execution can sometimes be flawed. Another lesson from the Experian Marketing Forward Tour is the idea of creating "snackable" content.
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