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Hitting their Targets

Peter Persic and Marcia Schneider

Peter Persic and Marcia Schneider



I started my Saturday with a good session called Targeted Marketing: Hitting the Bull’s Eye, which was sponsored by PLA. (Nod to earlier post on Alphabet Soup: this one stands for Public Library Assn.) I was glad to see a session on this important topic, although the info presented wasn’t so much about dividing people into target markets as it was case studies about how the two speakers reached certain groups they had already decided to promote to.

The large room was packed as Peter Persic, PR & Marketing Director from the Los Angeles PL, started his case study. He gave four basic steps for reaching a target market:

  1. 1. Identify your problem / situation
  2. 2. Identify your solution
  3. 3. Assemble a team
  4. 4. Develop a creative brief

I’d never heard of a “creative brief” before, but it was simply a name Persic used for a write-up of parts of a marketing plan – naming the goal & the audience, doing a SWOT analysis, designing your message, and deciding how to measure success.

In this case, the LAPL had replaced a number of old buildings with new ones, and the organization needed to let people know about all the new libraries had to offer. Luckily, a well-connected colleague was able to get PR giant Ogilvy to create a campaign pro-bono. After sharing all their info with Ogilvy, the firm decided to show off the new face of LAPL with a series of photos featuring the tagline, “This is your library.” Short and to the point, the words hover over photos of people and things that the public might not expect to see in a library, such as an espresso machine and a librarian with pink hair.

While Persic showed slides of these attention-getting posters, the actual campaign has not yet launched (they’re hoping to do it this autumn). He said that LAPL hadn’t yet worked out exactly how it planned to evaluate the campaign’s success, but polls and news monitoring were on the table.

The next presenter, Marcia Schneider, is Chief of Communications, Collections, and Adult Services for the San Francisco PL. In similar fashion to her co-presenter, she discussed a “branch library improvement program” that included 27 branches. I like the way she described the old buildings that SFPL replaced. Rather than just saying they were outdated or in poor condition, she said that (aside from just one that was completely new) the last time the organization had built a new branch was “the year we put a man on the moon.” That was a good example of how to use popular culture references to make a statement of need more powerful.

And while I was eager to hear more about how the library created a campaign to target its constituents, it turned out that SLPL also had the good fortune of using Ogilvy. In this case, the firm developed a new color scheme, brochures, and website.

While both of these projects were impressive, they didn’t deliver quite what I had thought they would in terms of explaining to the audience just how to successfully target specialized audiences. If only all libraries could manage to have professional firms figure it out for them! Sigh…

~Kathy Dempsey

Editor, Marketing Library Services newsletter

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