library marketing for decision makers

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The presentation is focused on one segment of library marketing targeted at municipal elected officials, whom are reviewed as decision-makers
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
I have two fundamental propositions:
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
Efficient library marketing for elected officials requires personal contacts and planned actions by one's own initiative ->
Municipalities (local government) and the state are the core democratic structures in Finland
In the beginning of 2011, Finland consisted of 336 municipalities
The municipalities have local self-government and taxing power
The municipalities organise statutory basic services for the residents
Basic services are funded by municipal taxation, state subsidies and fees charged for these services
The Finnish local government management system is characterised by division into political and professional management
Municipal services are guided by political decision-making
Porin kaupunki, kirjasto / PK *
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
The municipal board is responsible for local government administration and financial management
It prepares matters to be decided by the council, executes the decisions and ensures their legality
The municipal manager, f.ex. Director of Libraries, works under the municipal board as the head of municipal administration, financial management and other functions
Porin kaupunki, kirjasto / PK *
Local government is responsible for running library and information services in accordance with the Finnish Library Act
In addition to the Library Act and Decree, (, the state guides operations with definitions of policy, information guidance, and discretionary financing
The state and municipalities are together responsible for the municipal public library funding
Library legislation and state funding have ensured the development of public libraries throughout Finland
Budget funding allocated for public libraries by municipalities varies greatly between different municipalities
Porin kaupunki, kirjasto / PK *
City of Pori has approx. 83,000 residents, little less than 300 elected officials and around 7,300 city employees
City of Pori is the 11th biggest municipality in Finland
Pori Public Library – Regional Library of Satakunta, a municipal public library, one of the 19 regional libraries in Finland
Pori Public Library has around 100 employees
Elected officials are the supreme assessors and decision-makers of library and information services in the municipality ->
The public library is dependent on the decisions made by them
In seek to ensure library´s performance the elected officials must be convinced of public library´s importance by ->
Showcasing the necessity and benefits of the public library institution
Creating a good reputation and impression
Creating and maintaining a positive image and intent
Dilemma of public libraries:
Decreasing resources, lower budgets, but there is a growing need for an open service for all
Development ideas versus resources – / maintenance versus development – balancing
Competition of resources with other important municipal services
Library marketing for municipal decision-makers fulfils basically two requirements:
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
The library has the need to acquire and ensure adequate and sufficient resources now and in the future
WHAT? (2)
In addition, there are constant requirements to justify the very existence of the public library
There are some excellent foundations for this
Because the contact between the public library and the elected officials is created automatically through municipal administration practices
Because the political parties usually express a positive attitude towards the library in their political programmes
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
An individual elected official may not be interested in library affairs at all
This demanding task of library marketing is created because of pluralism and differences of municipal elected officials
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?
The library management has the greatest responsibility
The library personnel has a significant role in marketing since they meet these elected officials in their work and leisure
The objective is to have municipal decision-makers promoting the library
Also the residents can act as spokesmen for the library when they have positive user experiences
It is important to acquire as many spokesmen for the library as possible, and also organised lobbying groups, such as Friends of Libraries
WOM marketing (Word of Mouth)
WHO? (2)
A clear, common message from all library employees is needed, a joint front to succeed in the library marketing
A strong will and enthusiasm
A clear objective and planning
Approachable justifications
In new projects, the final cost calculations are also needed
Library marketing has two general objectives:
To profile the public library as an actor and environment relating to knowledge and learning as well as to culture and cultural heritage
Constant justification of the social necessity of the library organised as a municipal basic service
Separate objectives should be derived from valid strategies:
Library strategy
Municipal strategy
Marketing needs to be planned, so that it is reasonable and includes compatible actions
Library marketing should be constant, no sudden, separate marketing actions
Adoption and acceptance of market-based thinking and operating method
in public libraries
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
Conscious building and strengthening of trust
Uniting with other branches of municipal administration, the parties will gain benefit from promoting each others’ interests, not from competition
Porin kaupunki, kirjasto / PK *
Systematic familiarisation with the target group
The library must analyse the decision-makers, their views and opinions as well as their knowledge of the library and information services
Constant monitoring of discussions held and information needed by elected officials and their background goups
Being up-to-date on what is the general opinion about public library matters ->
Offering immediate answers and further information
The most efficient marketing for elected officials is face-to-face marketing communication, verbal or written communication
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
When using social media, the fact that only a small number of decision-makers are active users needs to be considered
Porin kaupunki, kirjasto / PK *
The following points are essential for the content of library marketing:
A short and brisk message
A clear intent, transparency, focus on definition of content and selection of view
Appropriate, matter-of-fact basis, concrete and approachable justifications
Highlight the unique functions of public library
Everyday language, meaningful and ordinary wording, quickly adopted formulation, no professional jargon
No lying, distorted information or slandering of partners
Positive approach, no complaints or negative tone
Present matters and values that are important to municipal decision-makers and respond to their views and requests
There are some general justifications to meet these views, such as
A well-functioning public library is an attractive and maintaining factor for the municipality
The cost efficiency of library and information services, affordable service production, economy
High user rates of library and information services
Concrete examples and comparisons, such as what you receive with budget funding from the library compared with some other organization
Porin kaupunki, kirjasto / PK *
Also the public library is expected to show proof with regard to efficiency, cost efficiency and social influence of services
The justifications should include quantitative comparison data collected with different indicators and qualitative information based on user experiences and views
Statistics database of Finnish public libraries,, comparison data, key and reference indicators for a certain public library
Useful documents to be referred in library marketing:
Government programme, National library policies and Quality guidelines for public libraries (Ministry of Education and Culture),
Expert identity, respect based on professionalism
Expertise is formed on the basis of competence, diffusion of expertise
Careful preparation and background work, confident presentation
Good reputation, reliability and credibility, earned by one’s own active participation and honest communication
Solution-oriented, positive attitude and message
Speaking from one human to another
Porin kaupunki, kirjasto / PK *
The most important personal characteristics in a role of a marketer:
Perseverance and a realistic self-confidence
Ability to get along with different kinds of people and a willingness to treat everyone with same dignity
Ability to treat the receiver’s stand equally, emotional intelligence, incorrect attitude damages the library
Polite, but not too nice or pleasing -> associated with stupidity
Interaction, dialogue and situational sensitivity, flexible according to the target group needs
Abilities of argumentation
Listen, Review, Ask
Solid faith in one’s own cause and abilities
Utilisation of personal strengths
Try making an appeal to emotions
Sell your library and yourself to municipal decision makers

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