At PLA this year, I had the great good fortune to share a cuppa in the hotel lobby with Alison Circle. She is the Director of Marketing & Strategic Planning at Columbus Metropolitan Library in Ohio and she blogs for Library Journal’s Bubble Room blog.
Her marketing experience is impressive as is her work at CML and with the new Lead the Change series. However, upon meeting her, what’s most impressive is her warmth, her enthusiasm, and her generosity. She agreed to virtually “sit” for the 658.8 interview this week:
1. Where did you get your library education? (And I’m not talking about where you went to library school!)
At Worthington (Ohio) Public Library as a kid growing up. That’s where I learned how and why to use a library. That fundamental education – that libraries provide access to the world – hasn’t changed. (I didn’t go to library school.)
2. Who has taught you the most about libraries and/or marketing?
There’s no one person who has taught me “the most” – instead, it has been a lifelong evolution. I did my first advertising campaign in 6th grade. I ran my own business, I learned from some of the greats (Target, for example), but everyone I’ve worked with has taught me something important. In my last job, we followed the mantra of the company founder, Jack Morton. He did a lot of event marketing. During those events he never watched what happened on the stage. He watched the audience. Also at that job we bid on the 20th Anniversary sales meeting for Home Depot. Usually agencies come to the pitch meeting with the “creative” or theme for the meeting and all the hooha that follows all worked out. Our director said –let’s not go in with anything. Let’s have our pitch be: “Let’s ask the attendees what they want and need to hear.” It was incredibly risky, but guess what? We won the business. The lesson learned is: it’s all about the audience.
3. What’s the best book about marketing you’ve ever read?
I’m not sure I’ve ever read one. I’m a student of the creative process. I read a lot of books about artists, musicians, writers, composers. What makes the creative process work? My favorite answer came from the composer John Adams. He said it is about synthesis and discipline…or the ability to take in information and experience, but the discipline to edit out all that is not relevant and necessary. That pretty much sums up marketing to me.
4. What’s the title of a marketing book that needs to be written?
Why Marketing Books Shouldn’t Be Written
5. What’s the best marketing campaign you’ve ever been a part of?
Whatever one I’m working on now. I’m always forward looking.
6. What marketing campaign do you wish you’d been a part of?
Got Milk. How crazy is that campaign? Simple, direct, enduring.