Greenville County Library System

Greenville, SC
Lee Turza, Community Engagement Manager
Service population: 401,174 urban

Reaching a Stubborn Audience

Library newsletters and websites are perfectly appropriate for targeting existing patrons. But to reach out beyond your current patron base, you have to use additional channels. The Greenville County Public Library wanted to reach low-income women. In a needs assessment survey, these women had used words like “dread,” “nervous,” and “indifferent” to describe their attitudes about managing money.

They created a marketing campaign with relatable terms such as “dreams,” “success,” and “empowerment.” It was themed Your Recipe for Success, and suggested, “Become master chef of your financial future.” The library team emphasized the personal angle of the material, because it was important to their demographic that they see themselves as potential participants. Because several of their own staff fit the target demographic, they selected four staff members as images for the marketing campaign.

Sweet Success

Along with the approachable, non-threatening tone, Greenville identified opportunities to intersect with the target audience beyond the typical marketing mix and to go where they are. The library created bus ads; engaged Spanish-language media; and placed local cable television ads on the Lifetime channels, the Food Network, Oxygen, and A & E. The library also distributed 12,000 newsletters at grocery stores. And the project team didn’t take success for granted. Through ongoing surveys, they continued to gauge interest, refine marketing messages, and keep interest high. The end result: When asked how helpful the Your Recipe for Success workshop series was to them, more than three-quarters of participants gave the series the highest endorsement.

Lessons Learned

• “We learned that marketing should be started far enough in advance to allow for word-of-mouth,” said program manager Trinity Behrends.“Go where the audience is and make the message positive, attractive and memorable,” she emphasized. “We looked for opportunities to intersect with our audience.”

• “We used data to tell our story and reached new audiences with a marketing campaign that brought people into the library and expanded our reach into the community,” said Behrends.


The San Diego Public Library is partnering with the Unified School District to create a multi-media learning environment. These four student- created You tube videos point the way to developing money management skills: Identifying Your Goals; Setting Your Financial Goals; Starting an Emergency Fund; and Managing Debt.