Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Power of Word-of-Mouth Marketing

There is a short article in the November 2009 issue of American Libraries that talks about Word of Mouth Marketing. In Chinook Arch's last needs assessment it was clear that a priority for many member libraries is marketing themselves. And it became clear that this is an area where our libraries are asking for support. As such we have offered a series of training around this theme and are trying to provide support resources whenever possible. One thing that I have learned about successful marketing and advocacy campaigns is that they involve people. Lots of people. Marketing and advocacy only works by establishing relationships with others in your community. To be constantly talking about what the library offers (in a consistent and focused manner) and to get others talking. That's what this article is all about. Chinook Arch has developed some marketing materials (to be distributed by Fall) which we hope will assist libraries in establishing these connections in the community. In the meantime, here are a few key points from the article:

  • Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) is not just word of mouth. The Marketing part of it includes developing a consistent message and a plan for getting it out there.
  • WOMM makes sense for libraries for 3 reasons:
    1. We can afford it - it's free
    2. We have a potential 'sales force' of millions - including patrons, staff, trustees, Friends, etc
    3. ".. it absolutely is the most powerful form of communication"
  • "Why WOMM?
    1. It's real and immediate - real, live people telling other people in real time.
    2. It's personal - not a pitch. The person knows you and is trying to be helpful.
    3. It's honest. There's no commission, no connection. You're more likely to believe.
    4. It's catching. People love to share a good idea or experience and other people love to listen. (The only thing people like to share more than a good experience is a bad experience.)
    5. It's customer-driven. The customer determines when she/he will talk/listen. It is not imposed."

You can read the full article via the Wilson Web database: For login information, consult your library manager manual.

(Source: Barber, Peggy and Wallace, Linda, "The Power of Word-of-Mouth Marketing", American Libraries, November 2009, p.36)

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