Library Marketing for Public Libraries from the Ohio Library Foundation
Marketing training on the web for public library staff

Module PlanningPLANNING


Who plans?

Process Steps


Strengths & Weaknesses

Market Research







Module Overview overview

Module Product product

Module Promotion promotion

Module Internet internet

Module Ohio ohio



Site Index



Supervisor Tips


Contact OLC

Evaluating the Plan

Is it working?

Were the goals of your market plan met?

What worked and what did not work in your marketing plan? What might be done differently? What might be repeated?

Evaluation should be an ongoing part of the marketing plan process, conducted regularly, and used to adjust, revise, or completely restructure the marketing plan. Evaluations may be formal measurement systems that track performance and point toward needed adjustments to reach goals and objectives or less structured methods of feedback, including word of mouth.

If you set realistic goals with measurable outcomes, it will be easy to assess how well your plan is working. However, it is more difficult to assess whether the plan itself was the most effective choice of goals and strategies to meet the needs of your community.

The operation was successful but the patient died...

It's possible that the plan was successful -- but was the wrong plan! Did you correctly interpret your research and select the right goals? Sometimes budgetary restraints, resistance to change, or sheer cowardice determine the goals we set! Marketing isn't an easy process or a quick fix. It's possible to be blinded by the light of a successful piece of promotion (seeing an increase in users, noticing more visits to the Web site, great usage statistics) but still have failed to target a user group that truly needs library services or to provide a needed new service because it's too difficult to find the staff or the money.

Start back at the beginning. Know your library. Know your mission. Know your users. Do the research. Use the research. Make the best plan. Evaluate your plan. If necessary, adjust the "best plan" to the "best that's possible plan," but continue to evaluate, listen to your users, and continue one of the oldest library traditions -- changing to meet user needs.

Setting measurable goals and including specific methods of evaluation in your plan will make it easier to determine if your goals have been met.


What was the last major change your library made in services? Talk to your supervisor or other staff member to answer these questions:

  • Were the changes based on research into user needs?
  • Were they successful, i.e. was the goal accomplished?
  • How was success measured?

For your marketing plan, you were to write one specific goal.

  • How will you measure the goal? For example, if your goal is to bring in more retirees to an event, you might state the total number of users of the service or expected attendees at a program, and the percentage of those who will be retirees. You would need to state how you will find out who the users/attendees are, e.g. pass out an evaluation form at an event that asks users' occupations and includes "retired" as a category.
  • If you do not have access to a library marketing plan, look at sample library marketing plans from Module 2 or Sample Marketing Plans from NSLS and Members. You may also look at online plans for several types of business available on a commercial site. Choose one or two of the non-profit plans to scan. These plans are more complex than the plan you will be working on in this module, but will give you an idea of the way that marketing audits, market research, and the whole planning process are reflected in the final marketing plan. Evaluation may be in sections called "controls."




Explore other sites on the Web for additional information.

Learn more about evaluating web site marketing (Module 5).

Survey example

Methods of evaluation