Marketing Masters

Six Questions with Ned Potter

For this installment of the 658.8 Interview, I went across the pond and reached out to Ned Potter.  Ned is the author of The Marketing Toolkit and he writes about library marketing at his blog of the same name.  His book is chock full of case studies and his site contains even more.  I hope I get to meet Ned at a conference one day and chat between sessions!


1. Where did you get your library education? (And I’m not talking about where you went to library school, if you did go to library school!)           Honestly, I got much of it online. Pretty much every day I’ll ask Twitter a question and apply the answers in my job. There’s so many great blogs out there – you can learn so much these days, without having to go anywhere or pay anything.

That said, events and conferences – particularly the little chats with people BETWEEN sessions rather than the presentations themselves – have been really important to me and my development. And there’s no substitute for just doing a job to really learn how it all works. 

2. Who has taught you the most about libraries and/or marketing?

That’s a tough question. Marketing wise, Terry Kendrick has taught me a lot. I’ve been very aware of Stephen Abrams shaping my thinking, and filling in a lot of gaps for me about how marketing works in the Special Libraries environment. In terms of libraries in general Bobbi Newman has been a big influence on me, as has Andy Priestner in the UK.

3. What’s the best book about marketing you’ve ever read?

Aside from reading my own a billion times to proof read it, I must admit I’ve only read two in full! So I’ll call it a draw – Terry Kendrick’s Strategic Marketing Plans that Really Work, and Nancy Dowd et al’s Bite-Sized Marketing.


4. What’s the title of a marketing book that needs to be written?

That’s a great question. I can think of a million. What about ‘Actually most people DON’T need authoritative information, Google is fine 99% of the time – so what else are you going to get them in through the doors?’ Or ‘Stop marketing to people who already like your library anyway’  Or maybe ‘Stop worrying about upsetting a tiny minority, and start trying to inspire the people that matter’. Sorry, I know that all sounds slightly cynical and cross! But I think these are important issues, we do need to confront this stuff head on. I’d love to read a library marketing book written by a non-librarian.

5. What’s the best marketing campaign you’ve ever been a part of?

Over the summer I managed our Marketing Intern, who was a film-maker – together we made about 20 films to market the library at the University of York (UK). You can see the results at It was completely absorbing (and exhausting – the day we shot the Virtual Tour I felt like my 9-5 had lasted about 24hrs!) and the results have been great. Marketing with video is something we all need to be doing now, and I think we’ve done it well at York.

6. What marketing campaign do you wish you’d been a part of?

Library-wise, it’s hard to see past Troy Public Library in Michigan – their brilliant book burning campaign on YouTube. So brave, ultimately so effective, and so atypical! Fantastic stuff. It’s not just well-executed, and attention-grabbing, and modern – it changed people’s behaviour. That’s what we should be trying to achieve.

Cheers, Ned!

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