Marketing training on the web for public library staff
>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
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
- Local support: Do you have volunteers or a local Friends groups?
- Collections, special collections: How well do your resources serve the needs of the
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.
Open source marketing involves the user. Are new technologies your strength or weakness!
What's Marketing Got to Do with It? Marketing trends present librarians with promising opportunities. "Open source" marketing involves customers. Ideas for using blogs, RSS, podcasts, wikis, messaging, etc. for interactive marketing. Jill Stover Oct 25, 2006. At WebJunction.
Minimize weaknesses, market your strengths! chart from a Washington-
Centerville Public Library (WCPL) brochure used in a successful levy campaign.
Centerville Public Library, Massillon Public Library
and Euclid Public Library understand the competition
for time to spend at the library.
Demographics and statistics
for Education Statistics (NCES) initiated a formal library statistics program in 1989
that now includes surveys for all types of libraries. They also have a Compare Public Libraries section to find public libraries that compare to yours and a Public Library Locator to
locate a Public Library and find descriptive information.
Print planning form
Print a sample form for your audit.