New Marketing Trends

Marketing Ideas for Non-Profits and Libraries

The M Word helps librarians learn about marketing trends and ideas.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Two articles you can't afford not to read

Steve Abram posted these awhile ago and I forgot to link them to you. They are good and they are important. You must read them. NOW. :-)

"Let’s ask ourselves, in a clear-eyed, truthful way – what exactly are Google’s strengths and weaknesses? In the same way, what are ours? Our goal is to understand things well enough to differentiate ourselves from our competitors when necessary and to invest and build upon those differences. Copying success without differentiation is not a visionary strategy; it’s driving with your rear view mirror." Read the first article.

Done? Good now read article number 2
I can't help myself.. I have to give you an idea of what is there.

Here are 3 out of 10 things that do libraries do well....
5. Librarians are strong protagonists in the economy of questions. Google is a protagonist in the economy of advertising. We both work with information as a key tool. Librarians excel at improving the quality of the question before it is asked. Google tries to guess at the question and deliver a best guess answer. Often this works. Sometimes is doesn’t.

6. “How?” and “Why?” are the tough questions that librarians use in interviewing techniques to get at the root needs. No computer is nearly ready to inform the search equation with the knowledge derived from a well-done research interview. We need to promote and develop new respect for these skills. Give unto Google what is Google’s. Give unto librarians what is the librarian’s.

7. The human quality of sense-making is a very special skill. It is about understanding context and delivering what is right for that context. Libraries excel at understanding context. We are challenged by making this work in a virtual world. We need to find new ways to introduce sense and context back into the virtual world - specialized search, pathfinders, interactions through virtual reference and IM, etc.

Here are 3 out of 10 thing do libraries do poorly.

1. We are poor at marketing and promoting the library and librarians. We fail to build on a positive positioning in the minds of our users. We lack confidence, a strong enough message, and we don’t seek and sustain attention. I can’t think of another profit or not-for-profit entity that has consistently done such a poor job over so many years.

2. We need to develop some selling skills. Many library workers turn up their noses at selling. "Selling" is not a dirty word. Whether we like it or not, people pay, whether there’s a monetary transaction or not. They pay for their library visit with time, taxes, prestige, and their own success. We must recognize this and influence this process. If we need more money, donors, bigger budgets, or whatever – it never happens without asking for the sale.

6. In the school, college, and academic spaces, we are underperforming in our connection to our institutional efforts in e-Learning, distance education, and through such environments as Blackboard and others. We must make library services relevant at the lesson level and fully integrated into the pedagogy of education and continuous learning.

Got your interest? Read the entire article...

library marketing

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