Un-marketing E-resources: Moving from Hard-Selling to Relationship-Building

Doralyn Rossmann

Montana State University

@doralyn on Twitter, doralyn@montana.edu

Kirsten Ostergaard


  • Serve 
  • Evaluate 
  • Provide 
  • Communicate 
  • Continue


The Role of Libraries

Traditional Marketing

  • Commercial

  • Selling

  • Impersonal

  • Disingenuous

  • Annoying

  • Ignorable

Source: Forbes.com, "Inside the Millennial Mind" 4/16/14

Un-marketing concept

  • Reframes the conversation
  • Shifts from promotion to connection
  • Happens with every interaction
  • Listens, converses
  • Recognizes communication types & places
  • Engages with community
  • Includes word-of-mouth
  • Is natural, authentic, personal, life-long
  • Informs marketing


Positive User Experience

  • User: Samantha
    • Attends root beer floats at freshman orientation
    • Stops by booth at Catapalooza
    • Regularly studies & buys coffee
    • Attends Paws to De-Stress
    • Has librarian visit her Poli Sci class
    • Actively Tweets

Negative User Experience

  • User: Jill
    • Incurs overdue fines with 1st checkout
    • No library presence at orientation
    • Is ignored by staff at service point
    • Submits question on FB with no response
    • Has laptop stolen
    • Cannot find plugs for phone charger
    • Experiences poor wifi connections

Social Media, Users, & E-resources

Social Media Move

  • Pre-2012: Montana State on auto-pilot
  • Pushing information
  • No listening, conversation
  • 2012: shift to building community, i.e. un-marketing


  • Develop a plan
  • Follow your community members
  • Listen, interact, engage
  • Have a personality
  • Provide the unexpected

Maximizing e-resources for sharability

How does your URL Look?





Branding, marketing is more informed

Other Un-Marketing Opportunities

  • Social media conversations
  • In-library events
  • Events outside the library
  • Liaison channels
  • Peer helpers
  • Partnering with other groups
  • On other people's turf

Assessing efforts and resulting

e-resource use

Google Analytics

Other Considerations

  • LibGuide Statistics
  • Uptick following other interactions?
  • Follow-up with users
  • College & Research Libraries News study on Facebook Ads (Sept 2014) 

Benefits of Un-marketing for the User & the Library

  • Community building
  • Aligning library with user values
  • Connecting users & resources - ROI
  • Information literacy & education

Thank you!

Doralyn Rossmann

Montana State University

@doralyn on Twitter, doralyn@montana.edu

Kirsten Ostergaard


Un-Marketing E-resources

By Doralyn Rossmann

Un-Marketing E-resources

Electronic Resources & Libraries Conference, 2015

  • 1,206