Monday, August 23, 2010

Marketing and Public Relations -- 5

New Rules for Communications Chapter 3

Integrated Marketing

Recently I attended an on line conference on marketing and public relations. The presenters, from the marketing department of University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, have ideas that complement Scott’s new rules. The presenters talked about how one develops content that delivers a consistent institutional picture. The process to obtain by in is a test of institutional cooperation. When building a system, one needs buy-in from many departments who do not even recognize the need to co-operate. The need to share information and produce the procedures to keep that information current is part of the process of creating a public image. You don’t want the public to perceive your organization as sloppy. David Scott does not mention this human process. The human side is media and content blind.

Since there are parallel directions to start, I can’t say to do one step first. One needs to define both the publics and define the goals of marketing in the same time frame. For the institution and the individual library there are multiple publics – 1) Employees; 2) Students; 3) Parents; 4) Businesses; 5) Community; 6) Non-readers; 7) Readers; 8) Holders of the purse strings; and others. One needs to market to your employees as well as those outside the organization. This period of goal definition will form the basis for the content development and is not an advertising campaign.

Convincing stakeholders to buy into integrated marketing is not easy. Everyone will want to voice their opinion and promote their own agenda. However, not everyone will tell you their opinion in a timely manner. You have to convince them, agreeing on goals and managing change, will help their departments and the institution as a whole. When employees are kept informed and empowered they are more likely to do a better job and feel good about their work. The goal of integrated marketing is to build positive relationship with all customers and stakeholders. It stresses the understanding of individual and group needs motivators, attitudes and behaviors.

Branding is the making a common face to the public. Branding may include such things as logos, colors, headers, and shapes on all materials published on paper and web pages. For example University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh uses a yellow line with a wave as part of their logo. They also have a consistent logo with their institution name. Below is the logo they put on all of their web pages.

Some of the goals of a library marketing program include: 1) Increasing awareness of the library’s resources and services; 2) Creating instructional materials to help people use the library and information sources; 3) Acquire new readers and library users; 4) Enhance customer service; and 5) Improving the public image of literacy, the library and librarians. When you establish the exact goals, everything you produce should address one or more of the goals. If not, the goals are not written well enough or the “thing” is not worth doing. If your employees are confused as to the goals, the outside audience will be even more confused. Preparing goals is about thinking and applying communications rules and procedures. Goals need a measurement benchmark to know if you are on the right path toward success. Success may mean modest increases, but these should be significant. The goals must be based on a vision or mission.

To establish the mission and its goals for the institution several forces must be aligned including the lines of communication, content, education for continuous change, shifting of culture to facilitate working toward the goals, and establishing an integrated, consistent brand. The goals must be creditable, reasonable, and establishable. Infrastructure that includes the technologies, training, and procedures must work to make sure the right resources are in place. This may mean realignment of the tasks of people and departments. Monitoring and assessment need to be part of the creative and daily working processes.

Senior leadership support is essential to success of a project. The senior leadership must see a return on the investment. They will help establish the unity and credibility throughout the organization. Transparency of actions means each party keeps the other informed. There are no deals made “behind closed doors.” To win people over, develop a few goals the can be meet so that to everyone it looks like you are on the road to success. Focus on the long term, but make sure early “wins” are well publicized.

Not everyone will participate, but at least they should not oppose your long term goals. Balance communication and participation as well as active and passive help. After thinking of the goals, figure out the deliverables. For a return on the investment, one needs to give something back. The deliverables may be measured in numbers or the images created. For example deliverables may include: a consistent web site, self service for renewing books, self service for library orientation materials, and new ways to communicate such as Facebook and. Twitter.

Change is slow because the inertia to keep the status quo is strong. Some people are skeptical of changes because they don’t image the changes will help them. Some people are skeptical because change is too hard to master. Some people are so willing to change; they ignore the goals and waste time getting something new only for the sake of something new. Manage change with a phased adoption. That means try ideas before making mandatory changes. Ask for feedback from your staff and your publics. Be proactive – don’t wait until something is broken before fixing it. Anticipate challenges and create solutions before they have a negative effect. Build a team with the skills to succeed. Promote the idea of shared success – when one person succeeds, the intuition succeeds.

Get many kinds of feedback such as informal comments, focused questions, and surveys. Listening and analyzing the feedback is important for continuous improvement. Great ideas are discovered after lots of hard work. The goal is to improve the library so that the way people who work there and the publics perceive the improvement.

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