Tuesday, July 29, 2014

To Market, To Market!

This summer I was able to return to a couple things that have been sadly neglected: my house and my physical condition. Both have suffered from being on the back burner for too long. The gym workouts will be the topic of another blog post, but in reacquainting myself with cleaning my house and the appropriate cleaning products (is there an expiration date for those?), I was quite surprised by an ad on the Swiffer pads. Now I'm not saying it's been awhile since I used them, but did you know that Mike Myers is coming out with a "Cat in the Hat Movie"? Don't have high hopes for that one.

This summer I also was able to take a workshop in our district entitled "Marketing Your Media Center". It's a topic I'm very interested in and hoped to come away with some practicial, doable things that would help me promote my library and show others how great it is and market the many things we have to offer. I was not disappointed. Our trainer, a master teacher and trainer, had done his homework for what we need as Media Specialists, and explained it all in ways that were easy for any of us to understand. While we want to think that our "customers"already know what we do, we can never assume that. Just because it's important to you, it might not be important to others until you tell them that. Tell them, tell them why they need to know it, and how it will help them. This isn't Algebra (when are we ever going to use this?), it's addition and subtraction! What we have to offer to their lives is enrichment and excitement! Not using what we have to offer will diminish their effectiveness and learning, whether a teacher, student, administrator, or  community member.

Friends, we can never express that we're tired of telling what we do. We can never stop promoting and marketing our services. Consider your Media Center a business that needs customers to stay afloat. And you're a business owner who wants to stay relevant and necessary. And employed! You  are already doing fabulous things, just let others know about it. As our trainer said, it's not necessarily a loud "Look at ME!" but more a "Fluffing the Pillow"... and who doesn't like that?

I was recently sitting with some women at a conference discussing children, hair, diets, etc. and I said that in a few years I wanted to go with the Judi Dench look. No one knew who she was. I was kind of  surprised; I thought these were  women who would know that gifted actress. We were all close to the same age, and I figured we all knew the same cultural figures. Apparently not! So I described the look...all the while thinking what else did I assume they knew in the course of our conversation? Folks,  don't assume! So it is when we describe things, programs, even books in our Media Centers. Don't use some lingo that is exclusive to the world of Media...especially in technology. Know your audience and do your marketing and promotion at that level.

In my district we'll be back to work August 11, although many of my media colleagues have gone in earlier. It's time to start thinking about our advertising campaigns. How are you going to market your library brand? What do people need to know that you do (yes, I know...everything!!!!). Do you have something new to market/show off/explain? Whatever it is, be enthusiastic, aggressive, persistent and consistent about it. Not just a one shot thing at a Faculty Orientation. Be that Energizer Bunny and keep going and going and going to get the word about about all your valuable offerings.

Hope you get off to great start, yet maintain the peace and relaxation you attained this summer to stay grounded!

Sandy Penvose