Exploration: A Powerful Targeting Tool

Learning about a target group you wish to interest in your library is a critical step in the targeting process.
Here's how to get started...

Become a Detective: Some opportunities to scout them out...

  • Look at websites, brochures, magazines, newsletters and advertising of places or companies that the target group uses.
  • Visit stores where the target group shops and notice the selection of items and how they are promoted.
  • Contact trade associations and sign up for newsletters. Look them over to see current issues and advertisements.
  • Visit events that attract members of the target group and observe/interact. What items are being promoted? What topics are being discussed?

See How They're Being Served: Things to Consider

  • During your investigative work, take notice of how the target group is being catered to by stores, magazines, websites etc.
    o What language are they using? Can you mimic some of it? Consider using a term or phrase specific to the group you are targeting in conversation or in marketing materials created for them. This suggests you know a little about "their world."
    o What features or opportunities are they promoting? Can you library "sell" them this too?
    o What need or interest are they appealing to that your library might tap into?

Kickstart the Conversation: Good Questions for Discovering New Service Opportunities

  • What are some activities taking place within your organization (industry, club, field) etc.?
  • What are some challenges for your organization (industry, club, field etc.) and how might the library help?
  • What are important dates or seasons for your industry?
    (When certain exams are given, new people are hired, big projects are due, certain programs begin (ex - boating season for boaters) etc.)
  • Do you have events that the library might help promote?
  • What are top priorities or objectives for your (club, industry, business etc.)
  • Are there materials that the library might purchase on behalf of your organization (industry, club, field etc.)?
  • Are there programs/events you might be interested in holding at the library?
  • Do you have a newsletter or email list we might join?
  • What things do most people not know about your organization (industry, club, field etc.)?

Get Their Attention: Communicate Strategically with Your Target Audience

  • Trade Publications, magazines, newsletters or journals the target group reads.
  • Newsletters or websites created by the target group
  • Email signatures. Include a short phrase which describes your library's service in a context of interest to the group.
  • Direct mailings to the target group. (Letter, postcard, bookmark created specifically for the group.)
  • Fliers and signage at places the target group frequents. (Ex. stores and restaurants)
  • Restaurant placemats at restaurants the target group visits.


This toolkit was created on behalf of the 2007-2008 Building Your Base (BYB) project. BYB is funded by Federal Library Services and
Technology Act funds, awarded to the New York State Library by the Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services.


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