Sunday, August 12, 2012

2012 Retail Marketing Expo

Once again we visited the Retail Marketing Expo put on by our local retail merchants' association. A quick and belated recap:

Hot topics:
Video for business
The one area where I saw more vendors than I have previously. And it's relevant to us, too - we're in a space to consider videos as part of our new branding effort, or as part of a grant. Prices were actually lower than I expected; I saw packages advertised for $1,500 - $2,000. Lots of money, but not too much to consider. 

Cheap or "ganged"' printing
I thought there were more printers here this year than last year, and they were advertising their discounts pretty heavily. I was surprised, though, about how little they were able to offer in the way of information (and not just networking). I was there to actually SHOP, and I had specific products in mind, and it was rare for someone to be able to tell me a price, or even to show me a paper sample. I would have liked an opportunity to get information that I can't get from a website - like the feel and weight of a paper.

Social media strategy
As a library, we really aren't in the market for this kind of service - and I guess they knew it! Even for the simpler types of services (that we might have been able to afford), there were not many ideas for how to apply the service to a nonprofit scenario. : ) To be fair, this was the Retail Marketing Expo - I think we need a Nonprofit Marketing Expo to really meet our needs.

Overall, I'm not sure I will want to go next year. There were some interesting things to see, but frankly the "making contacts" element of this event often seems wasted on me. I might want to for for an hour or so, but not to spend all day.

Friday, August 3, 2012


I've recently fallen in love with a museum blog. I'm finding that we have a lot of overlapping issues, both in terms of our business model (not "visitors=sales=money", but "visitors=stats=convincing people=money) and in terms of our goals and struggles - stay relevent, get people through the doors, engage younger people, get people interested in you and talking about you.

Here's a post I loved about interactivity:

and another post about how to create a successful interactive element:

I think these ideas have a lot of potential applicability in libraries, especially when working with teens. Because one of the major struggles of adolescence is finding and expressing your identity, teens tend to like being encouraged to express themselves. Temporary or permanent interactive displays would be a great way to get teens engaged with the library.