I've been working with the folks at Scopus to promote their fabulous database at my campus. They invited us to participate in their Student Ambassador Program, and it's been a rousing success! I'm going to be speaking about this at ALA next weekend, and here's the gist of what I plan to say:
Some of my colleagues were enthusiastic right away, but some of were concerned that the program would promote one database to the exclusion of similar resources. We were able to reach an internal compromise that seems to work well on all fronts. Rather than teach only Scopus, our program focuses on the topic of citation searching more broadly. Scopus generously agreed to hire 2 graduate students to teach both Scopus and Web of Science (as well as other aspects of the library, like Interlibrary Loan & SFX). The Student Ambassadors explain to their colleagues what citation searching is and how to use both Scopus & Web of Science.
Our two terrific graduate students taught over 100 people in 8 spring sessions, and we are continuing the program this summer. Our 6 sessions in June have reached over 50 students and we plan to offer more classes in July & August (see our online flyer for details).
Scopus is supporting a variety of promotional methods, including traditional print flyers (added to Scopus & Web of Science posters and distributed in departments all over campus) and Facebook flyers. I even created a group in Facebook for citation searching, and tho I'm not persuaded that this has generated any additional business, it can't hurt. The most effective marketing by far has been sending a message to the graduate student list at the university, which costs nothing.
This is a great example of a promotional partnership between vendors & libraries. It's win-win for my university & Scopus: their product sees increased usage, our ambassadors get good work experience, and our graduate students learn useful information from their peers.
More thinking outside the box, please!