18 No. 5 — Sep/Oct 2004
The 3rd Annual IFLA/3M International
Marketing Award: Best Practices
by Christie Koontz
The first award or incentive I ever received for outstanding performance
was an extra paycheck. The advertising agency where I worked had developed
the original Visa logo and was fighting for copyright. My job, as the young,
new hire, was to find the original artwork in the basement files. I did so
(an omen that I was headed for a great career in professional information seeking)
and was rewarded.
Most organizations award individuals or departments for good work. Increased
pay is always desirable from the employees' perspective, but incentives can
range from a free weekend at a Marriott hotel to Swiss watches, your own Mickey
Mouse phone, or plaques, certificates, and pins. National organizations often
award member organizations with a range of items, such as certificates or cash,
and present these at national conferences. Awards can be at the individual,
organizational, or even global level. Do these items provide incentive? The
answer from most is yes. In that tradition, I'll describe an international
award given for "best practices" marketing.
Award for 'Best Practices' Marketing
The Management and Marketing (M&M) Section of the International Federation
of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) and 3M Library Systems announced
the winners of the third IFLA/3M International Marketing Award. First, second,
and third prizes were presented at IFLA's Annual Conference in Buenos Aires,
Argentina, on August 27.
The award was developed in 2001 and is based on the John Cotton Dana Library
Public Relations Award (jointly sponsored by H.W. Wilson and the Library Administration & Management
Association). This award, first presented in 1946, honors outstanding library
public relations programs that support a specific project or activity or an
ongoing program (e.g., the promotion of the summer reading program, a yearlong
centennial celebration, or fundraising for a new college). The IFLA/3M award
honors the outstanding application and understanding of all four basic steps
in a marketing model: research, segmentation, marketing mix strategy, and evaluation.
For this third award, applications were available in the five official IFLA
languages (English, Spanish, French, Italian, and German) as well as Mandarin/Chinese
on the Web sites of both sponsors. The deadline was Nov. 30, 2003. All together
there were 52 applicants from five continents, sent in from 17 countries including
the Russian Federation, Australia, Spain, Nigeria, New Zealand, India, United
States, Canada, Ivory Coast, Philippines, Cuba, United Kingdom, Sweden, Romania,
Indonesia, Argentina, and Chile. Any library, agency, or association in the
world that promotes library service was eligible to enter the contest.
This year's applicants were judged on some of the following criteria:
Strategic approach to marketing indicated in the research
and planning stages of a submitted project
Creativity and innovation as demonstrated by the originality
of solutions to marketing and communications challenges
Potential for generating widespread public visibility and
support for libraries, irrespective of the kind or amount of resources employed
Commitment to ongoing marketing and public
The committee revised the criteria this year to facilitate increased understanding
of marketing and to encourage participation by a broader range of countries.
A glossary was provided so that all applicants were using the same definitions.
The committee reached a new goal: to recognize marketing efforts by developing
countries with fewer resources.
When marketing was first introduced to the library field in the late 1970s,
there was much confusion between marketing and publicity. (Publicity is only
one part of marketing.) It's taken almost 25 years to straighten out the difference
in meaning, but, as illustrated by the applicants for this award, we can see
that libraries have now embraced true, four-step marketing. The winning libraries
all marketed in a systematic way. By telling their own stories, the people
who applied for this IFLA/3M International Marketing Award provided insight
into the colorful, behind-the-scenes daily business of modern libraries.
Who Won This Year?
courtesy of 3M.
|Don Leslie (left), representing award sponsor
3M, presents first prize to Muhudien Mohammad, head librarian of Australian
Islamic College in Kewdale, WA, Australia.
First place was awarded to the school library of Australian Islamic College
(AIC), located in Kewdale, WA, Australia, for using library resources to
promote reading and computer literacy to 300 refugee children from Afghanistan,
and Somalia. The library's slogan is, "I Came, I Saw, I Read." The first-place
winner received airfare, lodging, and registration for the 2004 IFLA General
Conference and Council held this year in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and a cash
award of $1,000 (U.S.) to further the marketing efforts of the library.
Second place went to the Krasheninnikov Regional Research Library, Kamchatka,
Russia, for developing and offering an information and referral service and
outreach programs and services to the elderly, disabled, and others in this
region who are psychologically and socially vulnerable. The library's campaign
is called, "Remedy for the Soul."
Third place went to the West Africa Rice Development Association (WARDA)
Center in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, for its project to offer current information
to the agricultural researchers in the National Agricultural Research System
(NARS) in West Africa entitled "Current Contents at WARDA."
I will provide more detail in the following section, culled from the winner's
own words, as well as brief summaries of the second- and third-place winners.
First Place: "I Came, I Saw, I Read" Australian Islamic College (AIC),
Kewdale, WA, Australia
Submitted by Muhudien Mohammed, head librarian, email@example.com
courtesy of 3M.
|The 2004 first-prize winner thanks the crowd while the award
presenter looks on.
Overview of the Program: The program is designed to develop computer-based
reading and computer literacy as well as cultural amelioration for 300 refugee
childen who recently migrated to Australia from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia
and joined the school at the end of 2001. While the Accelerated Reader Program
is commercial, the motivational writing and research programs "Cyber Camp" and "Yes!
I Can Write!" were developed in the library to enable new students to develop
the skills of writing and research in literature-based programs and to explore
their new culture.
Objectives: The top three objectives, which are measureable and can
be evaluated, are:
1. Integrate children who came from war-torn countries with the mainstream
students through this program.
2. Introduce refugee children to Australian culture through reading and
3. Promote the library and its work and encourage the use of library and
information services by new immigrant students.
Mohammed also notes that most children have little or no computer skills;
almost all are first-time readers of English books; many of the children have
never been in a library in their whole lives; most never attended school with
the opposite sex; most have never had
foreigners (people who do not speak their native language) as teachers and
librarians; and many are traumitized and fear anything foreign. The challenge
was for the library to overcome these barriers to service.
Key to Excellent Marketing: The first tenet of marketing is to identify
customer wants and needs and then to meet those needs within the resources
and mission of the organization. The winning program is based upon information
gathered after the library provided services for Bosnian refugee children in
Step One: Research: Gathering customer research data to identify
what is wanted and needed is step one. In 1999, AIC had received complaints
from students and their families about poor library service. Based upon this,
librarians decided to survey 20 parents and children of the Bosnian group who
remained in Australia, as well as former migrant students, to get a better
idea of what the children and their famlies desired. The survey results indicated
that many students felt that the library was "one of the boring and idle places
of the school," and they (and their parents) did not understand the library's
role or what it had to offer. Many said the formal English as a second language
(ESL) classes helped students readbut not form the reading habit. Based
upon this information, and the knowledge of the children's limited experience
with foreign cultures, the librarians decided they would develop new programs
to overcome these obstacles for any future groups of refugees, help acculturate
the children, and facilitate a love of reading. So in 2001, when the 300 refugee
children came to the school, the library was ready.
Step Two: Segmentation: The librarians saw a need to identify and
prioritze customer groups to provide unique services with the funds available.
The primary target market was the 300 refugee children, and secondary markets
were identified as primary students from the mainstream classes and parents
of refugee children. This second step in the marketing process is market segmentationgathering
individuals with similar needs into groups.
Step Three: Marketing Mix Strategy 4Ps: The library staff members
then designed programs and services to meet the objectives set. By utilizing
the Accelerated Reader Program (ARP) from Rennaisance Learning, they offered
motivational writing and reading programs. AIC developed a Cyber Camp where
students could travel and explore a virtual forest and animals. A student could
also learn about plants and animals that live in the forests of Asia, Africa,
and Australia. The library also offered incentives such as "Best Writer of
the Month," "Book Worms of the Week," and ARP awards. These incentives all
had a sort of "price" from the user's point of view, i.e., the number of hours
required in the library or at home. Products were promoted on a weekly TV program
that the school broadcasts, posters and brochures, weekly reports aimed at
parents, school assemblies, display boards, and the School Library Friends
Step Four: Evaluation: The library then developed ways to measure
the success through evaluating reading test results, surveying teachers and
parents about individual child development, offering online suggestion boxes
for students, and monitoring whether budgetary requests were successful or
The results were positive. Awareness of the library by parents increased
70 percent, circulation to new students increased 85 percent, new students'
desire to use the computer for research increased 70 percent, and new students'
performance on literacy tests improved by 20 percent. Management recently increased
the library's budget, a sure sign of excellent marketing.
I received these remarks from Mr. Mohammed:
"When I started the program I had this big dream of changing children's lives
and making a difference in the lives of refugee children. I didn't realize
that the program would also cause me to share my family time (increased workload!)
and I did not realize that the books could become a flash point for cultural
misunderstandings and mistrust. For the last two years I met with angry parents
who accused me of allowing kids to read 'Harry Potter' or books that contain
a few words of profanity. I listened to the lectures of religious teachers
about the importance of censorship. Anyhow, the last two years were roller
coasters, at times I touched the sky with joy and happiness, and other times
I touched the bottom of the earth on desperation and anger. However, getting
IFLA's recognition was unexpected and beyond my imagination. Thank you again
for selecting me for this wonderful award."
As western countries and their professional librarians lament the digital
divide, this project helps us to realize that most of the world is dealing
with growing numbers of diverse and changing populations, with limited resources
or restrictive cultural norms. Congratulations to Muhudien Mohammed and AIC
for successfully overcoming barriers to service.
Second Place: "Remedy for the Soul" Krasheninnikov Regional Research
Library, Kamchatka, Russia
Submitted by Ivanova Bella Solomonova, director, firstname.lastname@example.org
Overview of the Program: The library has many years of experience
dealing with socially disadvantaged populations in the region and partnering
with local government and charitable organizations. In the past, in-home books
were delivered to the disabled and the elderly, and library services and activities
(such as computer training and special exhibits and programs to enhance leisure
time) were offered as well. The library's goal for this new program was to
develop an information and referral center for the socially disadvantaged.
The program would facilitate access to important social services and leisure-enhancing
information and would include a summary database of organizations and institutions
called "Ask and You Will Get Help." This was an impressive program that included
Third Place: "Current Contents at WARDA" West Africa Rice Development
Association Center in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Africa
Submitted by Thomas Adigun, librarian, email@example.com
Overview of the Program: The National Agricultural Research System
(NARS) of West Africa identified the growing need to provide current information
to agricultural researchers to "strengthen" their scientific research capabilities.
NARS acted by providing tables of contents of recently acquired journals, worldwide
access to agricultural literature particular to rice, and photocopies of articles
in the Current Contents Bulletin without charge to users. These needs
were identified at a WARDA meeting where NARS members spoke about their inability
to individually subscribe to current journals. WARDA also identified a "price" as
the cost of users' time to fill out request forms. Direct mail and conference
presentations are being used to disseminate the new services. This program
contained many components of a successful marketing plan, and it is a great
effort from a developing country in West Africa amidst civil war.
If you would like more details about any of the campaigns, please contact
Daisy McAdam, award chairman, at the University of Geneva, Switzerland at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Commitment to Marketing
Both sponsors share a strong commitment to increasing awareness about the
value of libraries. The M&M Section hopes to provide a continued forum
through this international award so that libraries in all countries can share
just how they are giving customers what they really want and need as well as
information that people can use to enhance the quality of their lives.
Applications will soon be available for the 2005 award at http://www.3M.com/library/events/IFLA_app.doc and through the IFLA Web site (http://www.ifla.org).
IFLA, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions,
is the global voice of the information profession. Founded in 1927, it now
has more than 1,700 members in 155 countries. We always welcome new members
to the M&M Section and encourage others to participate in our work, whether
or not they are able to attend the IFLA conferences. Much of the work is done
by e-mail and postal mail. You can find more information at http://www.ifla.org/VII/s34/somm.htm.
IFLA conferences are held in August or early September in a different city
each year. Delegates meet to exchange experiences, debate professional issues,
see the latest products, conduct business, and experience the culture of the
host country. In 2005 IFLA will meet in Oslo, Norway.
Best Practices at the Local Level
What awards and incentives is your library offering its staff for best practices
in customer-centered behaviors? Even if you can't give an extra paycheck, I
guarantee recognition will be appreciated and remembered for a lifetime. Even
today, every time I use my Visa card I say, "thanks!"
Christie Koontz, Ph.D., is a research associate and director of the GeoLib
Program at Florida State University in Tallahassee (http://www.geolib.org).
Koontz also teaches marketing at the School of Information Studies at Florida
State University and conducts marketing workshops for colleagues around the
globe. Her e-mail address is email@example.com.