Summon: Posters

Its been a few weeks since we went live with Summon, which is now available to our students from the university portal and our library home page.

We mentioned Summon in as many communication channels that we thought appropriate including twitter, the university facebook site, inductions etc. We have also distributed posters across campus and the libraries – so the word is well and truly out.

Feedback has been generally positive and we are seeing healthy usage.

We look forward to reviewing and developing the service over the next year – have no fear plenty more Summon blog posts yet to come.


Summon: the word is out

Summon is due to be launched at the beginning of September, earlier this week we spotted the first announcement by the university’s marketing department in a regular staff newsletter called Did you know?

Summon : Marketing

After having a quick read through if the 7P’s of marketing I decided to focus on product & promotion.

With the product I wanted to think about how Summon would be of value to our key users, students & academic staff. In a recent library users group meeting, I asked colleagues to complete the following sentences, ‘As a student/staff summon will be of value because….’  fold over their response & pass to the next person,

Once completed I read out what people had written which led to a useful discussion on how we describe & promote summon.

Examples include ‘Summon will be of value because’ –

  • useful starting point
  • provides serendipity & a wider range of sources at their fingertips
  • a quick way to keep up to date with subject interests
  • It can help students do original research

With regards to promotion I created a table listing various communication routes, ie library website, newsletter, plasma screens etc. I then asked the group to consider from the point of view of either a student, academic staff, researcher or library staff whether the communication route was appropriate, to describe a scenario in how they might encounter this route and consider the tone of language.

I found this useful in  focusing on routes which we could make best use of. I am also hoping once I collate this information it will provide a good starting point for a marketing plan.

I enjoyed the focus of these activities as opposed to a general discussion on marketing and I am more mindful of concentrating on the value summon can provide rather than highlighting some of its limitations. It is clear from the experience of others that summon did not require much marketing as the product speaks for itself & we hope we have a similar experience too.

Marketing Training

Birmingham City University, Library & Learning Resources poster

Birmingham City University, Library & Learning Resources poster

I attended a marketing training day run by Terry Kendrick for the library staff invovled in the strategic and campus marketing groups.

Being new to marketing I found it an helpful overview and an opportunity to see that many of the marketing campaigns done within Library & Learning Resources already follow much of the guidance.

The day had a full agenda looking at marketing in academic libraries, marketing to those we dont see, new technologies and quick wins on a small budget.

Some of the key issues I took away with me were

  • ‘can’t make a strong enough message broad enough’, we have to use multiple methods and messages to appeal to different users, there is no single answer
  • libraries need to promote their human side, it should be about the people as they are the ones adding value to the service
  • people are only interested in what they need, so targeted marketing is key
  • the messages should be about ‘what the library service can do for you’, for example it will save time, get better grades etc ratherthen about new purchases etc
  • testomonials and stories to help sell services
  • marketing is about a dialogue with customers

I think it important that marketing is part of our everyday work and not an afterthought. I also believe to continue developing, supporting and
maintaining services we need to make sure that they are being used and therefore need to engage in the full life cycle of the service.

It was an interesting day and provided a good opportunity to remind myself that the library is only a part of  the students university experience and therefore we have to be clever/sophisticated about how we broadcast our services to get maximum benefit.