A Public Library in Pittsburgh, USA : Case Study

1. Executive Summary

Northland Public Library holds the annual Three Rivers Story Telling Festival, which has introduced national and international storytellers to Western Pennsylvania for the past six years.  The seventh annual festival will be held in August, 2007.
This seventh annual festival has to be promoted to a wide range of audiences and hence should be accomplished through a marketing plan which comprises of strategies for marketing the festival to the entire Allegheny County.
A marketing plan has been devised to increase the number of attendees coming for the festival from the Allegheny County. The primary target would be the schools of the Allegheny County as the children are the major influence in bringing their family. The various modes of communications are identified and their effectiveness is also analyzed to communicate to the target audience.
A budget is suggested for each of these modes of communication and effectively tabulated the findings for each of the effectiveness for each of these modes of communication. The marketing plan also contains Market analysis, SWOT analysis, Marketing Strategy, Financials for the marketing plan for the Three Rivers Story Telling Festival.

2. Market Analysis

2.1 Demographics

The main target audience would be
1.      Children in the family
2.      Teens
3.      Young Adults
The children in the family are the major target since when we target them they will drive the entire family to attend the festival.

2.2 SWOT Analysis of the Three Rivers Story Telling Festival

  • The accumulated members are the biggest strength
  • The story tellers who come to the festival
  • The previous year attendees.
  • International story teller from Ireland
  • Recognition as the top 20 storytelling festival in the country -Community is familiar with the organization
  • Credits under Act 48 for the teachers
  • Lack of a marketing plan with proper milestones and time checks
  • Location – remote from the downtown
  • The communication to the previous year attendees (since the mailing list has not been integrated to outlook)
  • Increase in the number of sponsors
  • Increase in the popularity of the storytelling festival in the nearby counties
  • Increase in the number of people surfing the internet
  • Increase in the number of people in Allegheny County who value the cultural tradition of storytelling
  • Weather Disruption on the days of the festival
  • Economy and gas prices (Since this plays a key role in the number of attendees).

2.3 Keys to success

The keys to success of the Three Rivers Story Telling Festival will be
  1. Expanding into new areas within Allegheny County by partnership through schools and junior colleges
  2. Leveraging the growth offered by the increasing interest in storytelling festival through the promotion of activities before August 2007
  3. Introducing a few new attractive features in the festival
  4. Marketing through the effective channels of communications
  5. Marketing through the hot-spots
2.4 Critical Issues
Four things have been identified as critical to the story Telling Festival:
  1. Issue of space due to an overwhelming response of the people in the Allegheny County
  2. Transportation is a major issue as the location for the festival is a bit far flung from the Pittsburgh Downtown
  3. Lack of exposure to the story telling events for the people in the Allegheny County needs to be addressed

3.0  Marketing Strategy:

The marketing strategy should be applied to different classes of people differently. Here are the classifications of different sets of people we are going to target:
·         Children in schools
·         Teachers in schools
·         Members of the Library
·         Teens hang out places
·         Book houses
Children in Schools:
The main target for the festival is going to be children and teens in schools. This can be done by letting the schoolchildren expose to a certain degree of storytelling demonstration. So starting from June, at least three schools have to be targeted every week. The following activities may be carried out:
  1. Poster design competition for the storytelling festival for children and the winners will be getting the tickets for their family. This will create a great awareness among the children about the storytelling festival.
  2. Targeting each school every week and presenting them with what is story telling is all about. This would contain a short demo of what the storytelling festival is all about and the entertainment they obtain from the festival
  3. Hiring local upcoming story tellers who can do a mini show to the school people so that the kids can get a real feel of what storytelling festival is and easily be attracted to the festival.
  4. The flyers which we create for the children should have lot of designs and it should try transforming the kids who see that, to a different world.
  5. The demo should have the local story teller whom we have hired dressed up in attire which is appropriate to the story. This will have a greater impact on the kids as for example if the story teller is going to tell a story about Harry Potter then he should be dressed like Harry Potter and it will generate great interests among the kids.
Teachers in the School:
Teachers have to be targeted in a different way as they have different interests.
Their mode of communication should focus on Act48 and how they can benefit from this festival.
The Panera bread and the McDonalds should be targeted for the teens as they are the hot teen hang out spots.
Members of the Library:
The next target is going to be the members of the library. The following activities may help to ensure that the members take an active interest in story telling:
  1. Conduct a special session for the members to promote the storytelling festival
  2. Display banners and flyers inside the library of Northland to promote the festival
  3. Send emails updating them with the various events of the festival.
  4. We can send mails with the biographies of the story tellers and what type of stories they tell each week starting from 6 weeks before the festival.
  5. They should be enabled to book tickets through mail.
General Strategies:
To attract the common pool of audience, the following activities can be carried out during the festival:
  1. Special Hot Dog Day in which the audience can get hot dogs for free on one day of the festival
  2. Putting the flyers in the Drama Clubs and Theatres. The flyers can be posted in the CMU drama clubs as the people who come to dramas will definitely be inclined towards storytelling and they will be interested in this event.
  3. Dinner with the international story teller for the best story teller – both teens and children.
  4. Swapping Corner – both teens and child in which any person interested in narrating a story can swap place with the previous story teller on the dais – also a child or a teen.
Teens and Families:
1. Buddy Referral Program in which the referral gets a ticket at half the price
2. Family Program in which the total cost of the tickets for more than four persons is equal to the price of two adults
3. Special Price for the children of the schools having tie-ups with the Northland Public Library at half the price of the adults.
4.0 Financials:
The estimated budget for each of the spending is discussed below.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is the most viable option for the advertisements in the newspapers for the number of the readers it covers and its growing popularity. The promotion has to be done on the last week before the festival – the previous Sunday and the Wednesday before the start of the festival as a reminder to the people who can plan their week ahead in the Sunday. If we consider that there are six lines each for the advertisement then the total cost of advertisement is (10.6 + 16.2)*6 =  USD 161 nearly.
Radio :
The best way to communicate to the people is the public radio. The private radio KQV AM 1410 has a growing popularity. Other public radios as WQED FM 89.3; WDUQ FM 90.5 which has no charge for the airing is also very popular among the Allegheny County. The library needs to donate some part to the public radios for airing their advertisement throughout the morning for the last two weeks of the festival, and for some of the weekdays for the last month of July-August. For a 30-second commercial, the rate for the month of December in 2006 is going to be USD 50 in KQV AM 1410 for airing in Thursday the second last week. For two such prescribed airing on the last two Thursdays of the week in the morning, the cost is USD 100. For donations to the public radios, the cost associated through donations can be USD 51 each. The cost of making a commercial is going to be nearly USD 50.
The best way to communicate is at least twice in the morning in the public TV, WQED TV 13 for the last month.  The library may want to give a donation of USD 101 after the broadcasting of the message. The making of the commercial will be USD 100.
The matrix for the modes of communication and their budget is
Estimated Budget
USD 161
KQV AM 1410
USD 101
WQED FM 89.3
USD 51*
WDUQ FM 90.5
USD 51*
USD 101*
USD 465
* is through donations
The other expenditures are listed below.
We can get 7500 flyers by ordering them online through a web-site.

Hot Dog Day :
A special hot dog day can be conducted during the festival. For minimum attendees of 500 people, there are 100 people who might turn up for the Hot Dog Event, and then the total no. of hot dogs needs to be 210 with a conservat6ive cost of 70 cents.
 With this, we guess that the number of attendees would increase.

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