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Measuring Impact and the Service Review

Marketing for Libraries: Part 15: Service Review from Annette Lamb on Vimeo.

Once a marketing campaign is complete, it's important to measure it's impact and plan for the future. Conducting a service review involves examining all aspect of the marketing process and making changes based on evidence.

In this section, we'll explore ways of measuring impact and conducting a service review.

Key Questions

Each of the following questions will be addressed on this page. For quick access, click on the question of interest.

How will you know if marketing efforts have been effective?

Once the marketing campaign is concluded, it's important to determine whether it has been effective.

"Current information science literature says that library services need to be marketed to users. While the literature has a lot of advice on how to develop a marketing plan, there have been few reports on the actual implementation of a marketing campaign and the resulting impact on academic library services.." - MacDonald, vanDuinkerken & Stephens (2008)

bridgeRead It's All in the Marketing: The Impact of a Virtual Reference Marketing Campaign at Texas A&M University by MacDonald, vanDuinkerken & Stephens (2008) in Reference & User Services Quarterly.

Fisher and Pride (2006, 92) suggest the following questions to keep evaluation as painless as possible:

Many of the same approaches that are used for market research can be applied to campaign evaluation.

Example: Use website statistics to find out how many people viewed your YouTube video. If you've only got 10 views on your video, then very few people saw it. Why were there so few views? Brainstorm all the possible reasons, ask library customers, and think about your audience. Then, develop a strategy to address this problem.

The Maine State Library provides a marketing checklist for libraries to examine their marketing programs. They recommend examining three areas: response-based, transaction-based, and survey-based.

Response-based. Some campaigns include a call to action. This is a way to judge whether people are acting on the message. It's possible to count hits on a website or the number of coupons traded in for merchandise.

Transaction-based. Tracing changes in circulation, attendance at an event, or changes in study room can connect the marketing efforts to changes in behavior.

Example: Many libraries are offering Maker Space workshops using online resources like MakeyMakey to generate project ideas. Keep track of the number of people using the spaces, attending the workshops, and number of "kits" used or items produced at the maker stations.

Survey-based. Ask users where they learned about a product or service.

Counting can provide useful data. Consider some of the following areas:

Many marketing campaigns are using social technologies and mobile applications. It's important to think about ways to track how these tools are being used.

Handley and Chapman (2011, 26-27) suggest that you measure specific types of content such as

Another approach is to conduct audits of particular aspects of the marketing program. For instance, Amy Stempler and Mark Polger (2013) recommend a library signage audit.

bridgeRead Stempler, Amy F. & Polger, Mark Aaron (2013). Do you see the signs? Evaluating language, branding, and design in a library signage audit. Public Services Quarterly, 9, 121-135.
Apply some of the ideas in this article to examining the signage in a library.

How do we ensure quality customer service?

clipmanObservation is one approach that can be used to examine customer service. Hernon and Altman (1996, 122) recommends observing several groups of people interacting with staff. Topics can be rated from excellent to improvement needed in the following categories:

In-person observations can be made, but recorded observations are also effective.

Example: Set up a video camera recording activity at key service points in the library, record high track areas to check for building maintenance issues, and record activities at other points in the library.

Physical checklists are an effective way to evaluate the physical environments that are connected to customer service. Hernon and Altman (1996, 123-124) suggest some of the following topics:

How can the marketing cycle be maintained and momentum continued?

At the end of the marketing cycle, it's necessary to reflect on the process and immediately jump into the next round. Ask yourself:

woman think

bridgeGo to Worksheet 1: Strategic Planning Self-Grade Card by Fisher and Pride (2006).

Adapt this worksheet for your project.


Doucett, Elisabeth (2008). Creating Your Library Brand: Communicating Your Relevance and Value to Your Patrons. ALA Editions. 75-80.

Dowd, Nancy, Evangeliste, Mary, & Silberman, Jonathan (2010). Bite-Sized Marketing: Realistic Solutions for the Over-worked Librarian. ALA Editions.

Fisher, Patricia & Pride, Marseille M. (2006). Blueprint for Your Library Marketing Plan: A Guide to Help You Survive and Thrive, ALA Editions.

Handley, Ann & Chapman, C.C. (2010). Content Rules. Wiley.

Hernon, Peter & Altman, Ellen (1996). Service Quality in Academic Libraries. Greenwood Publishing.

Lovelock, Christopher & Wirtz, Jochen (2010). Service Marketing. 7th edition. Prentice Hall.

MacDonald, Karen I., vanDuinkerken, Wyoma, & Stephens, Jane (2008). It's all in the marketing: the impact of a virtual reference. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 47(4), 375-385.

Mathews, Brian (2009). Putting it all together. Marketing Today's Academic Library. ALA Editions, 142-158.

Mathews, Brian (2009). Measuring the impact. Marketing Today's Academic Library. ALA Editions, 132-141.

Matthews, Joseph (2002). Communicating the value of a special library. The Bottom Line: Determining and Communicating the Value of the Special Library. Libraries Unlimited, 143-147.

Washburn, Bruce. (January/February, 2011). Library mobile applications: What counts as success?" Information Outlook, 15,1 (January/February).

Woodward, Jeannette (2009). Creating the Customer-Driven Academic Library. ALA Editions, 172-188.

Weingand, Darlene (1999). Evaluation – two approaches. Marketing/Planning Library and Information Services. Libraries Unlimited, 145-156.


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