Library Marketing for Public Libraries from the Ohio Library Foundation
Marketing training on the web for public library staff

Module PlanningPLANNING


Who plans?

Process Steps


>Strengths & Weaknesses

Market Research







Module Overview overview

Module Product product

Module Promotion promotion

Module Internet internet

Module Ohio ohio



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Supervisor Tips


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Strengths & Weaknesses

Get a realistic picture of library capabilities


In marketing, SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Know yourself. Know the competition. Begin with self-analysis, look for what you can do best, find out what challenges you will face. For successful marketing, it's critical to get a realistic picture of library capabilities. An analysis of strengths and weaknesses can suggest directions in meeting the library's mission or improving library usage and performance.

Examine strengths and weaknesses in the following areas:

  • Staffing: Do you have the number of professionals and paraprofessionals you need to provide great service? Are volunteers available?
  • Staff skills: Is there enough coverage for technical and public service needs? Does everyone have the necessary technology skills?
  • Motivation: Is everyone dedicated to carrying out the library mission and thrilled with change, or are there a few jaundiced types who will need a little extra coaxing?
  • Budget: Too much money, right?
  • Facilities: Old building, new technology, not enough space, facilities needed in other locations?
  • Local support: Do you have volunteers or a local Friends groups?
  • Collections, special collections: How well do your resources serve the needs of the community?

The 4 Ps

The marketing audit also determines the "marketing mix" -- the "4 Ps" of product, price, place, and promotion.

  • Products - evaluate all library services, programs, events, collections, etc. that are available, e.g. interlibrary loan or reference. Assess the features, benefits, and value of these products to customers. (Module 3)
  • Price of Service - determine direct and indirect costs to produce and deliver the product, actual fees if any, or value to a tax-payer. (Module 3)
  • Place - what is the method of delivery and distribution of the products and services? (Module 3)
  • Promotion - what methods are available to you for promoting your products? (Module 4)

Effective marketing strategies must be based on a realistic assessment of internal capabilities and an analysis of what the library has to offer: the library marketing mix (products, price, place, and promotion).


In your plan, describe your library's strengths and weaknesses.

  • Describe them in terms of the service or user group you have chosen. For example, if you have targeted Spanish-speaking users and there is no one on your staff who speaks Spanish, that is a weakness to be considered in your planning.
  • Describe strengths and weaknesses for staffing, staff skills, motivation, budget, facilities, local support, collections. Be brief - this is only a drill! Use the audit form.
  • If you do not have access to a library marketing plan, look at sample library marketing plans from Module 2 or Sample Marketing Plans from NSLS and Members. You may also look at online plans for several types of business available on a commercial site. Choose one or two of the non-profit plans to scan. These plans are more complex than the plan you will be working on in this module, but will give you an idea of the way that marketing audits, market research, and the whole planning process are reflected in the final marketing plan.


Market Research


What's new in library marketing?

Open source marketing involves the user. Are new technologies your strength or weakness!

Explore other sites on the Web for additional information.

Self-analysis required!

Demographics and statistics

Print planning form