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Social Marketing: It Could Happen to You


This past month Yvonne Mery and Mary Evangeliste were given the opportunity to present at the 2007 Arizona Library Association Conference in Mesa, AZ. Originally we had applied for just a 50 minute break-out session, but to our surprise and delight were later asked to present it as a three-hour workshop. The workshop, Value-based Marketing: Integrating our Promotional Strategies with Our Mission & Ethics, turned out to be a huge success.

In three hours our goal was to have everyone in attendance have the beginnings of a killer marketing idea centered around the concept of social marketing. Social marketing uses well-proven commercial marketing techniques to promote the public good. As far back as 1953, G.D. Wiebe posed the question “Can brotherhood be sold as soap?” Since then, many non-profits have proven, yes, it can!! We showed how they can and have with some in-depth analyses of several successful social marketing campaigns including Click It or Ticket, Truth, and Back to Sleep. There are many elements that make up a successful social marketing campaign but the most important ones we discussed were:

  • choose a very narrow target audience,
  • create an action for your audience,
  • offer a reward that is based on the audience’s values
  •  seek out partnerships.

We must give our thanks to Katya Andresen and her invaluable book Robin Hood Marketing for giving us so many strategies to work with.

We will be giving a recap of this presentation for the Pima County Public Library on December 7th. We will also be offering a similar presentation at the California Research and Academic Libraries annual conference in April. And of course, we are always available to come to your library and teach you how to a plan a simple yet effective marketing plan.