Phoenix Public Library Uses Savannah to Connect with its Customers and the Community

By: Susan Post

With over 900,000 cardholders across 17 branches, the ability to reach specific groups of customers with messages and information is opening new doors for the Phoenix Public Library (PPL).

The library system has been utilizing SaaS platform Savannah for three years to create numerous opportunities to increase customer engagement by tapping into the power of Savannah's precision targeting capabilities. The Library is even finding value outside of the intended benefit of reaching customers with library-specific information.

As a part of the City of Phoenix, “We utilize our library specific platform [Savannah] to promote or connect our community with things going on in the city,” says Community Relations Manager Lee Franklin.

The Library finds their government partner messages sent via Savannah see a higher response rate than using local media outlets or print advertisements.

“We do a lot of vetting to make sure it is something aligned with the Library and it makes sense,” Franklin says.

The Library can utilize Savannah’s messaging features to reach large sectors of the Phoenix population with a variety of information.

A transit group sought help to survey an area of the city underserved by light-rail. With the main library located next to a park due for upgrades, the Library helped raise customer awareness around an event and fundraiser for the park. Another message alerted customers to community events through the parks department.

Franklin says that feedback indicates customers are interested in hearing these types of city updates.

When it comes to library-specific content, PPL is putting relevant information in front of the right customer with updates like letting customers who regularly visit a particular branch know that it is temporarily closed for renovations, or sending a targeted monthly newsletter, or automatically welcoming new customers to the Library.

Savannah allows libraries the ability to reach the right customers with the right message at the right time.

For example, “We partner with an outside agency to do literacy screenings at our various locations,” Franklin says.

PPL uses Savannah to filter and send targeted messages to customers who identify these branches as their home location and those who fit the profile of the Bedtime Stories customer cluster, or parents who are accessing children’s materials.

“[The agency] sees a spike in signups every time we send one of those out,” Franklin says.

Another strategic message highlighted one of PPL’s special services.

The Library’s College Depot, a free, full-service college access center located at their central library, hosted a special workshop to help families with college-bound high schoolers fill out the FASFA. The Library chose strategic clusters, like Bright Futures, those cardholders between 13 to 17 years old, as a natural fit for messages about college programming. With messages sent, the library welcomed two packed houses on the day of its events.

Using Savannah to message its customers comes with some additional bonuses for the Library. By tracking open rates, Franklin notices that open rates on a mobile device are consistently over 50 percent. She says that fact alone tells her a lot about her patrons - like printed fliers probably aren’t the best way to reach them. Customers like to have all of their information in one place, and at their fingertip and sent directly to them. In turn, that steers business-related promotion decisions. Messaging through Savannah eliminates print costs and offers a turn-on-a-dime alternative to the lead time necessary for print collateral.