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A great product sells itself, or does it? Marketing MyReading at the University of Huddersfield Kate McGuinn Northern Collaboration Learning Exchange: Strategic Marketing, January 23rd 2015 [email protected] Overview

Background to MyReading project Early marketing strategy Post-launch evaluation of marketing impact The plateau and how we beat it! The future

What we have learned? MyReading the background In 2008 Library received reading lists for only 40% of modules Many lists contained out of date or inaccurate information Manual processes for reading list management were laborious and outdated A systematic, automated approach was required

MyReading project groups launched Drivers for design of MyReading Improve the student experience: comprehensive availability of reading lists Better access to reading list items full text where possible Inform collection development Integrate reading list management with library acquisition processes

Make best use of resources and ensure value for money Overall project goal To ensure the provision of reading lists is a managed, positive experience for staff and students The decision to build it in house Commercial offerings didnt have the deep integration

into our other systems that we felt would be needed: Student Records Library Management System E-Resource products (Summon, 360 Link, etc) VLE Off-air TV recordings Integration with Blackboard MyReading went live in Blackboard at the start of the academic year 2011/2012

Reading list button on every module noticeboard Lists submitted before July 2011 were added to the software by temporary library staff Early marketing strategy from 2011 Academic consultation was felt to be vital to the success of the project Focus groups with academics Online survey for collection and analysis of comments Presentations to all School committees Email reminders to staff to send in lists

Training for academics Project blog to collect feedback Online voting system to prioritise developments Early marketing strategy from 2011 Launch activities to students: Huge posters screen printed onto windows of Central Services Building Leafleting around campus MyReading pens distributed

Articles in staff and student newsletters MyReading promoted in new student inductions and refresher sessions for returning students Evaluation of MyReading within and outside the University Great verbal feedback from staff 2011 MyReading team were finalists in the Outstanding Library Team category at the Times Higher Education Leadership & Management Awards 2012 Dave Pattern received an NAG Award for

Excellence for his work on MyReading 2013 MyReading was a runner up at the Guardian University Awards So we knew we had a good product, but the take up figures within the University told a different story Evaluation of launch Use of MyReading - Students & Staff 90

80 Percent using MyReading 80 70 60 55.5 46.53

50 40 30 30.96 20 10 0 0

2010-11 2011-12 Academic Year 2012-13 Students Staff Evaluation of launch

Usage figures were plateauing after an early sharp rise The project team realised that initial marketing of MyReading was not enough, that we would need to keep on pushing our messages to students and staff A dedicated marketing sub-group was launched Renewed marketing drive from 2013 Marketing effort launched again with new vigour in early 2013

Initially focused on raising student awareness Freebies each year in fresher goody bags New animation commissioned New posters and leaflets using same theme as animation Student focus groups in 2013 and 2014

Renewed marketing drive - Students In collaboration with Fifth Planet Productions, an animation was produced Same graphics used to produce posters and leaflets Poster campaign on backs of loo doors across campus

Leaflets Leaflets Renewed marketing drive - Staff Pro Vice-Chancellor for Teaching and Learning used email to contact those who had not yet populated their lists More effective was his announcement at the

2014 Teaching and Learning Conference of an award to the creators of the best reading lists from each of the 7 schools Each was awarded a bottle of wine from his own cellar! Renewed marketing drive - Staff Followed up with #myreading tweets Student focus groups

Held in spring 2013 and 2014 Have informed most of our marketing strategy since All library student helpers possibility of bias? A range of subjects covered Music Journalism, Computing, Childhood Studies, English Literature, Pharmacy, Photography, Psychology Used a pre-planned interview guide of open questions to guide discussion

Student focus groups barriers to students using MyReading Lack of consistency in location of reading lists Yes, all lecturers differ in the way they put their subject areas on UniLearn some lecturers put reading lists in learning resources, some put them under reading lists, some

put them in both places. Student focus groups barriers to students using MyReading My lecturers say its on UniLearn but you have to click through about a million different links to find it. You eventually find

it under a random heading, its horrible! Student focus groups barriers to students using MyReading Overwhelming length of some lists I think that unless you are the reincarnation of Hermione Granger you are not going to go through and read all those. Lots of students will come here from GCSEs and A levels where

they are taught to consume things in a very bite sized manner and this is just like have everything at once! Student focus groups barriers to students using MyReading Lecturers could promote reading lists more The only way they are going to [realise reading lists are a useful resource] is if lecturers say this is available, we expect you to

use these tools, but they just dont Student focus groups main findings Showed that some staff were only nominally buying into MyReading they had a list on the system (to avoid being harassed by Pro-Vice Chancellor) but failed to promote it and often maintained a separate paper list in their module handbooks which didnt match the one on MyReading! We realised that there was no point in focusing solely on

marketing to students as staff promotion of MyReading was a key part of this Failure of staff to promote MyReading had to be addressed as a priority Evaluation of marketing from 2012/13 Use of MyReading - Students & Staff 90 80

Percent using MyReading 80 83 71.77 70 60 55.5

46.53 50 40 30 Students Staff 30.96

20 10 0 0 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 Academic Year

2013-14 The future - students Carry on with maintenance level marketing to students Make full use of new animation, leaflets and posters

Refresh materials annually Continue to use freebies in fresher goody bags The future teaching staff Work through the findings of staff focus groups and incorporate into our strategy Colleagues who havent yet fully bought into MyReading are hesitant because they dont yet understand all the benefits Communication with staff by email, poster or leafleting has only limited effectiveness as these messages are easy to ignore

The best way of communicating with lecturers is face to face, at school away days or divisional meetings The line management process may also have a part to play for some staff Some aspects of MyReading are not intuitive and it could do with a face-lift! What have we learned? That a great product does not sell itself but you have to keep on promoting it again and again

That you cant assume that people will instantly understand the benefits of a new product, it will take time and hard work to reinforce messages That the job we had to do when promoting MyReading to students was different from the one we had to do with academics. Finally, in the words of Winston Churchill Keep

buggering on! Any questions?

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