It’s that time of year: everyone is making predictions about the big trends in marketing for 2013. There are many: Internet advertising will continue to increase, campaigns will become more integrated, data will drive more marketing strategies, to name a few.
All well and good, but many of these trends seem more applicable to big brands, which have big budgets and larger marketing teams. What about public libraries? Are there any trends that may impact our advocacy and marketing efforts? In fact, I believe there are. Here are three trends that public library directors can use to their advantage.
- A focus on brand experience. Big brands are launching marketing campaigns that aim to build “an experience.” What does this mean exactly? It’s how customers feel, act and respond to a brand, and this is driven by a variety of factors: packaging, the design of the store, even the way employees treat customers. Apple has done this exceedingly well, for example.
Public libraries have a unique opportunity to create a brand experience for their visitors and advocates. Simple tactics can be very effective. For example, having staff ask wandering patrons if they need help finding something specific can shape your brand into the “library where everyone is soooo helpful.”
Another successful tactic for creating the brand experience is storytelling. Share stories of what’s happening at your library to explain why it’s so valuable: the small business that got off the ground, the job seeker who found work, and more.
- Mobile marketing. Sales of tablets and smartphones continue to increase, and so is the number of marketing campaigns designed to reach buyers on the go. New technologies, such as augmented reality, let nearby smartphone users discover new places and take advantage of deals.
Public libraries can take advantage of simpler, less costly mobile innovations. The QR code can make it exceedingly easy for potential library visitors to register for events, save location and contact details, sign up for newsletters and more.
- Content is king. Content marketing or brand journalism is an emerging field, and one that holds promise to be a disruptive marketing force. Brands are recognizing the importance of content for driving visitors to their website, so they are creating and curating more and more content that is relevant to their brand.
Public libraries have endless opportunities to use this tactic as a way to engage with patrons, build brand awareness in their communities, and empower advocates. Start with your target audiences and develop content based on their interests. For example, to attract entrepreneurs, create a blog about how to start a new business. One possible blog post might include tips for conducting market research.
If you’re already using these tactics today, you’re far ahead of the trend! Tell us in the comments below what you’re doing. We’d love to hear about it!