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OML @ PITT Spring 2011 Strategic Marketing Plan Amy M. Yonick MLIS Candidate, University of Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences President, SLAPSG-Special Libraries Association Pittsburgh Student Group

Oml@pitt strategic marketing plan

Oct 20, 2014



Strategic marketing plan on "Operation Medical Libraries" by Amy Yonick, University of Pittsburgh (2011).
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Spring 2011 Strategic Marketing Plan

Amy M. Yonick

MLIS Candidate, University of Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences

President, SLAPSG-Special Libraries Association Pittsburgh Student Group

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OML @ Pitt

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OML @ Pitt S T R A T E G I C M A R K E T I N G P L A N

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY1 Special Libraries Association Pittsburgh Student Group (SLAPSG) is a student run organization that is free to join. Special Libraries include law, medical, museum, and music libraries. Some examples of famous special libraries include Major League Baseball, as well as Cirque du Soleil. SLAPSG provides networking and informational opportunities for students by planning library tours and arranging meetings between professional librarians and students to discuss internship opportunities and hot topics in the field, like competitive intelligence. We also arrange meetings in conjunction with the SLA Pittsburgh Chapter (the professional chapter).

Operation Medical Libraries (OML), a grass roots effort formerly known as UCLA Medical Alumni Association Books without Borders, was conceived and created in April 2007 by Valerie Walker, Director of the UCLA Medical Alumni Association (MAA) in response to the lack of current medical materials for Iraqi physicians and medical students brought to their attention by United States troops. Subsequently, the program’s mission expanded to include developing countries.

Mission Statement It is the goal of the Special Libraries Association to facilitate and encourage participation in the Special Libraries Association, acquaint members with goals, objectives, and resources of the Special Libraries Association, encourage professional contacts within the field of librarianship, provide members of the student chapter with official representation to the Special Libraries Association and other relevant organizations, actively promote involvement in professional activities beyond the classroom, provide a local forum for the exchange of ideas and information about trends, issues, and opportunities in the profession, develop skills and relationships that will enable students to have a creative impact on the profession, and increase awareness of national issues in library and information science.

The mission of Operation Medical Libraries is to collect and distribute current medical textbooks and journals to war-torn countries through a partnership with American medical schools, hospitals, and physicians and the United States military.

Vision Statement SLAPSG will be a consistently active student organization that provides a variety of programming and projects to serve the professional development of its members as well as the needs of the community, both within the iSchool and in the Pittsburgh region. 1 Operation Medical Libraries’ description, mission statement and vision statement taken from its website:

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SLAPSG’s vision is to be actively involved in each of these areas:

£ Professional development

£ Community outreach

£ Diversity and inclusion

The vision of Operation Medical Libraries is to foster the creation of permanent medical libraries and support the expansion of existing collections in conflict regions where healthcare education and the practice of medicine are suffering. OML will significantly enhance the initial and continuing medical education of healthcare professionals in communities crippled by the lack of materials, with which to teach, learn and provide healthcare of all kinds. Through its support of everyday healthcare and academic medicine, OML will impact the long-term health and welfare of people and ultimately support the development of essential services and human rights in regions torn by conflict.

Executive summary The goal of OML @ Pitt is to establish, through SLAPSG, the University of Pittsburgh as an official participating institution for Operation Medical Libraries. The purpose of OML is to help U.S. troops distribute much needed medical literature within the developing country of Afghanistan. The literature will come from local donors who will be contacted by LIS students who are members of SLAPSG. The project will begin during the Spring 2011 semester and continue through the summer of 2011. If successful, the project will continue into future semesters if incoming students are willing to continue working on it (since most students graduate in the summer). The project will be initially supported by SLAPSG funds and supplemented with fundraising initiatives. The total cost is dependent on the number of donations received, which is hard to estimate, but the budget is set at $550, with $250 coming from SLAPSG. OML @ Pitt will use resources available at the University of Pittsburgh to market this project at a local level.

OML @ Pitt will be headed by 2011 SLAPSG President Amy Yonick. The faculty advisor to this project is Ellen Detlefsen. We will ask SLAPSG members, as well as students in the two health sciences library courses, to participate in the project. The volunteers will be asked to contact potential volunteers, pick-up and sort books, establish a fundraising program and help with shipping the items. The contact at OML is Valerie Walker, head of Operation Medical Libraries. The main contact for OML @ Pitt is Amy Yonick.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCAN We determined that since OML’s closest participating institution was West Virginia University, OML @ Pitt would be tapping into a source of medical literature that had been untouched. In fact, it was surprising that something like this hadn’t been done in Pittsburgh already since the city has a large and prestigious medical community.

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The University of Pittsburgh has a school of medicine, as well as other health sciences and life sciences schools and programs such as nursing, dental medicine, public health, pharmacy, rehabilitation, etc. We created a list of all the student groups and organizations relative to health and life sciences and created a list of over 150 organizations at the University of Pittsburgh. In addition, there are several faculty members in these disciplines as well.

The University of Pittsburgh is closely affiliated with UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center), which the region’s largest employer with almost 50,000 employees, and ranks as the no. 2 employer in Pennsylvania. UPMC operates 20 academic, community, and specialty hospitals and 400 outpatient sites, employs more than 2,700 physicians, and offers an array of rehabilitation, retirement, and long-term care facilities2.

The city of Pittsburgh is home to other colleges and universities that have nursing and allied health programs as well. These include Carnegie Mellon University, Duquesne University, Carlow University, Chatham University, Robert Morris University. There are also several schools in Western Pennsylvania.

Considering all of these schools, organizations and people, there are thousands of potential sources for book donations.

SWOT Analysis



£ Surrounded by vast and varied medical community.

£ Project fits into coursework for some LIS students.

£ Several LIS students have personal connections to medical community.

£ LIS students are looking to add projects to their resumes.


£ The students working on this project are not compensated for their time and have other duties, such as classes, coursework, jobs and internships.

£ We have to pay for shipping costs (50 cents to $1 per pound).

£ The better of a job we do, the more expensive it will be.

£ It will require us to lay the framework for a major outreach project that will hopefully be sustainable.


£ Bring recognition to the iSchool.

£ Can make use of university publications and possibly Pittsburgh press to promote project.

£ Positively impact the health of a struggling nation.

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1. Promote OML @ Pitt to the community .

1.1. By February of 2011, create a list of potential donors.

1.2. By March of 2011, make contact with potential donors.

1.3. By May of 2011, submit press release to iSchool’s Director of External Relations.

2. Lay groundwork and document processes in order to make OML @ Pitt sustainable outreach project.

2.1. By December of 2010, make contact with Valerie Walker, head of Operation Medical Libraries.

2.2. By January of 2011, create OML @ Pitt FAQ sheet and promotional flyer.

2.3. By January of 2011, recruit SLAPSG members and other iSchool students to be involved with OML @ Pitt.

2.4. By February of 2011, create a running document to record processes, contacts and other important information essential to OML @ Pitt operations.

2.5. By May 2011, send out first shipment of books to Afghanistan.

2.6. Between April 2011 and August 2011, continue receiving donations and sending books to Afghanistan.

2.7. By August 2011, find successor to head of OML @ Pitt.

£ Everyone involved in the project—from the donors to the SLAPSG members—will be helping the US military and a developing nation.


£ Sluggish economy could impact ability to raise funds for shipping.

£ Most SLAPSG members will be graduating in August 2011; how can this continue?

£ Students who are potential donors might choose to sell their books back instead of donating them.

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Product While the main purpose of Operation Medical Libraries is to send much needed resources to US troops in Afghanistan, OML @ Pitt has a lot to offer to the local community.

iSchool students will reach out to students and faculty in health sciences disciplines by contacting them via email and promoting OML @ Pitt at some of their events; our goal is to make them aware of our project and ask them to collaborate with us. An interdisciplinary project can also create awareness of the iSchool (as well as library and information sciences in general) in the university community, as well as the region.

Price This project will cost just as much in time as it will in money. The students that express as interest in this project will be asked which area they are most interested in being involved with:

£ Book pick-up (will pick up books from potential donors)

£ Sorting (will go through donated books to make sure they match criteria for shipping i.e. copyright date is from at least the year 2000, no journals or board exam review books; will keep track of number of books in a google doc and will weigh books as they come in)

£ Marketing and Outreach (includes contacting potential book donors and student groups for collaboration)

£ Fundraising (will establish and implement ways to raise funds)

£ Packing/Shipping (will pack books according to OML and USPS/Customs instructions and coordinate with University Mailing Services)

Since this project is based on volunteer work, the students can put in as little or as much into the project they want. Students can be involved in more than one area.

After we contact potential book donors, we will either need to pick up the books if the amount and weight are feasible; if the donation is large, we will have the University of Pittsburgh’s Central Receiving Department pick up the books and deliver them to the Information Sciences Building; they charge a flat rate of $16.50 per delivery.

The price of this outreach project is dependent on how many donations we receive, thus affecting how many deliveries Central Receiving will have to make and how much we might have to ship. In addition, shipping has to go through customs which requires very specific methods for packing. For example, boxes cannot indicate from markings on the box that there are liquid bottles in it. Also, shipments weighing less than 30 pounds are preferred so we need to find smaller boxes. Therefore, we will have to

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be very particular about the types of boxes we use to ship books. We will try to cut costs by using recycled boxes. The boxes will collected informally—we will ask for boxes throughout the Information Sciences Building and possibly other University of Pittsburgh departments if needed, as well as from friends and family members of the group. We will also reuse the boxes that our donation comes in if they fit the criteria. We hope to avoid purchasing boxes by doing this.

We will need to purchase two to three rolls of shipping tape and shipping labels. This should cost no more than a total of $20.

As we receive books, we will weigh them in the staff mailing room on the 5th floor of the Information Sciences Building thanks to permission from the Student Services team. We will keep track of each book’s weight so we can estimate shipping costs and stay within budget. It will cost between 50 cents and $1 per pound to ship the books to Afghanistan.

It will also cost an investment in time. Students will have to make flyers to distribute that promote the project. The head of the project and the faculty advisor will have to type an FAQ sheet, as well as templates, both for email and letter, to send to potential donors and heads of students organizations in health sciences schools. The head of the project will also have to make a list of potential student organizations that might be interested in this project as well as contact information. The head of the project, faculty adviser and fundraising team will communicate and write a template to send to potential funding sources.

The pick-up team will have to make time to pick-up books and this will have to be coordinated with the availability of the donor. The sorting team will also have to spend time sorting through, weighing and keeping track of the books; this can be done at their leisure.

The marketing and outreach team will use the templates to send information about our project to the contacts on the list. The list will be on a Google doc spreadsheet so that students can sign up to contact an organization; this will stop us from contacting the same organization twice.

The fundraising team will brainstorm fundraising ideas and, after approval from the head of the project and faculty adviser, will go forth with the idea(s).

Communication will happen between several different people and departments: The head of the project and the faculty adviser will be in contact with Valerie Walker at Operation Medical Libraries, graduate iSchool students, iSchool faculty, student services, SORC (Student Organization Resources Center), University of Pittsburgh’s Central Receiving and University of Pittsburgh’s Mailing Services. The marketing and outreach team, as well as the fundraising team, will be in contact with the University Library System, Health Sciences Library Systems, as well as students, student groups and organizations, faculties, deans, chairs, etc. in health sciences departments. The fundraising team will also have to contact potential sources of funding outside of the institution.

All of these people will have to invest their time in this project, some much more than others. Online students can be on the outreach and marketing team or fundraising team since they are not needed on campus and can work from home or their location of choice.

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Promotion The head of the project and faculty adviser will work with the outreach and marketing team to initially promote this project at a local level—to the University of Pittsburgh. If that is successful, the same practices can be implemented to other institutions in the area. If not, their system will be evaluated and tweaked before promoting it at a local level again and then outside the institution.

Awareness of the project will first be made to personal contacts—students with internships at medical libraries, people with family members who are either training to be or are health sciences professionals. Ellen Detlefsen will also communicate with her colleagues in several of the medical, nursing or allied health schools. Most of the communication will be done via email with an attachment of our flyer and FAQ sheet. Contacts will be encouraged to forward our email to others in the department or to list-servs.

We will also contact the leaders of health sciences student groups using the same methods. The head of the project will compile and share a spreadsheet on google doc of student organizations at the University of Pittsburgh who may be interested in this project and the contact information for each group’s leader. Members of the outreach and marketing team will also try to attend their events in order to hand out flyers and increase awareness.

The fundraising team will also inadvertently be marketing the project through their efforts to raise funds. The fundraising team will brainstorm fundraising ideas before carrying them out.

Place The headquarters for OML @ Pitt is the reception area of 604 Information Sciences Building at the University of Pittsburgh. Donations will be sent either directly there or to the Information Sciences Library where they will then be brought up to headquarters. The books will be sent mostly to Afghanistan; we will compile a list of books and send it to Valerie Walker who will give us a U.S. Army contact in Afghanistan to ship the books to.


Initial Stages £ Research

¤ Find as much information about Operation Medical Libraries as possible

¤ Create an FAQ sheet


¤ Introduce members to idea of OML @ Pitt

n Write down names and areas of interest

n Consider OML @ Pitt budget allocation

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n Recruit other iSchool students


¤ Contact Operation Medical Libraries (Valerie Walker) about our interest in becoming a participating university

¤ Ask for suggestions and tips

£ Faculty

¤ Look for a faculty advisor (Ellen Detlefsen)

Areas of Focus £ Marketing and Communications

¤ Create a promotional flyer

¤ Update FAQ sheet

¤ Create a list of potential book donors (student group leaders in health sciences, department list-servs, etc.)

n Make a google doc to increase collaboration with iSchool volunteers

n Include name, department, contact information and iSchool student who will be in charge of that potential donor

¤ Make an email template for iSchool volunteers to use to contact student groups

¤ Contact potential donors

¤ Look for events to promote OML @ Pitt

n Example: PalPittations concert

¤ Regularly update SLAPSG blog and Facebook page with OML @ Pitt information

£ Delivery

¤ Create list of iSchool volunteers willing to pick up donations

n Include availability

¤ Upon receiving notification of donations, the OML @ Pitt contact (Amy Yonick) will either send email to iSchool volunteers or if the amount is too great, contact Pitt’s Central Receiving and coordinate delivery of books to Information Sciences Building

£ Sorting

¤ Create a google doc for iSchool volunteers to sort and document books we received

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n Include title, author, ISBN, edition/year, weight of book, name of sorter, destination (from Valerie) and status

n Destination and status should be left blank and will be filled in after we hear from Valerie

¤ Weigh book in 5th floor mailing room

¤ Send list of books to Valerie to find out where to ship them

¤ Be sure to leave out any books before 2000

n Illustrations are important

¤ Ellen Detlefsen can help determine which books to send

¤ Books that cannot be used can either be thrown away or sent to ULS Gifts and Exchange

n Talk to David Frank in IS Library about sending books to ULS Gifts and Exchange

£ Shipping

¤ Contact University of Pittsburgh’s Mailing Services about shipping via USPS APO through them

¤ Contact Brandi Belleau about account number so Mailing Services can deduct shipping costs directly from SLAPSG’s account

¤ Alert shipping team it is time to pack and ship books

¤ Purchase supplies

n Tape, boxes and shipping labels

n Pick up Customs forms and clear pouches (free from Post Office)


¤ Fill out Customs Form

¤ Take books to Brandi Belleau’s office

n She will coordinate pick-up with University Mailing Services

£ Fundraising

¤ Find out how to deposit funds into SLAPSG account

n Find out who check should be made out to

¤ Establish a fundraising goal and time frame

¤ Brainstorm a list of fundraising options

n Look into grants, private donations, and other sources of funding

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¤ Create a template letter to send to potential donors

¤ Create a list of potential donors

¤ Send letter to potential donors

Implementation/Sustainability £ Publicity

¤ Publicity will increase awareness of OML @ Pitt and the iSchool and could bring in more donations in the form of either books or funds

¤ Operation Medical Libraries

n Take pictures of iSchool volunteers working on OML @ Pitt and write short summary to submit Operation Medical Libraries blog

¤ Prepare a press release

¤ After first shipment is sent, send press release to iSchool’s Director of External Relations

n Look for publicity from university publications

n Ask to forward press release to University of Pittsburgh Public Affairs office for Pittsburgh press

¤ Propose, write and submit an article about experience to a journal or two

n Library Student Journal

n Journal of Education in Library and Information Science

£ Evaluation

£ Consider the future

¤ Look for new head of OML @ Pitt

n Pass on all documentation

¤ Explore possibility of forming own student organization to secure more funds



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OML @ Pitt Budget

January 2011-September 2011

INCOME SLAPSG allocation $250 Anticipated fundraising $300 TOTAL $550

EXPENDITURES Boxes* $150 Tape $10 Labels $10 Central receiving pick-ups** $65 APO shipping*** $315 TOTAL $550

*Recycled boxes will be used whenever possible, however boxes weighing less than 30 pounds are preferred

**$16.50 per delivery

***Surface/Media Mail is the most economical rate (about 50 cents to $1 per pound)


While we think our efforts, no matter how large or small, are appreciated by the U.S. troops and the people of Afghanistan, we hope to achieve our goals and objectives.

Other evaluation criteria:

£ Did we meet fundraising goal of $550

£ Did marketing increase awareness? Did we get more donations after press?

£ Is this now a sustainable part of the iSchool?

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¤ Is there interest to continue this project into the Fall of 2012 and beyond? If so, can we make it a separate student group?

¤ Are we an official participating Operation Medical Libraries institution?

£ Was it documented well enough to continue shipments with ease?

¤ Were the second, third, fourth, etc. shipments easier than the first?

¤ Can this process be easily replicated using our documentation?

£ Did any articles get published?