New Marketing Trends

Marketing Ideas for Non-Profits and Libraries

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

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Two concepts to mull over

Even in the library world, marketing brings us back to the product and to understand the kind of products that we need to develop (collections, classes, programs...) we need to understand the needs of our customers, just like anyone else. Two important concepts, both presented by Seth Godin, spoke to me because they are ideas that I had been struggling to verbalize lately...

1. Want to know what is going to be a hit? Don't look for great presentations that appeal to your inner self... look for the thing that will change a worldview and our senses. Look for that thing that appeals to people other than the gatekeepers and then the word spreads.

2. Most fast-growing organizations are looking for people who can get stuff done. There is a fundamental shift in rules from manual-based work (where you follow instructions and an increase in productivity means doing the steps faster) to project-based work (where the instructions are unknown, and visualizing outcomes and then getting things done is what counts.)

See full the posts here

These two concepts are essential to understanding how to prepare for the future needs of our customers.

That first concept to me is about knowing the difference between i-Pods and MP3 players; the Netflix model for "no fines borrowing" and the Blockbuster's model and asking yourself why libraries aren't revamping how they do things accordingly. Are we using the same customer service model as the little corner store that went out of business? We may not be inventing the next big hit BUT are we willing to respond to it and embrace it? Are we creating to satisfy our emotional needs or are we anticipating those of our customers?

The second concept opens huge portals to marketing opportunities if we offer the classes that will help our customers know how to get the job done and market them as solving the confusion they are facing. How's this for a catch line-

Is your company's training program summed up in three words, "Just do it"? Your local library offers free training on... and we'll take you step by step until you get it.

Okay, that's really rough, but the idea is to look at what people need, create the product that will fill that need then promote it. All of the workshops that libraries are hosting to teach people about web 2.0 are essential to anyone in the business world who needs to get the job done. What else are you offering?

More thoughts later..

library marketing


phyllis said...

The observation about needing people who can get things done is so on target! Many current employees who grew up in the manual-based world are struggling to survive (let alone thrive) in the project-based workplace. For those who are able to make the leap, project-based work frees them to be creative, to look at the larger picture, to take more ownership of a process. To have more fun!

marye said...

Nancy ,

You have hit on one of the most fundamental shifts happening in libraries today. In our profession we talk a lot about changes in technology, but very little about changes in how work gets done. The shift from manual based labor to project based labor demands a whole new set of skills, many that librarians have not fully developed.

A lot of librarians are comforted by details and I know why -it is literally one of the cornerstones of what librarianship is based on. Before tagging and other kinds of folksonomies, librarians where the ones who sat in small, dark rooms cataloging the world around us , helping all of us making sense of the smallest details. (I actually don't know if the rooms that catalogers worked where small & dark, but the visual works in my library instruction and the students understand what I am saying)

Now we called upon to run small or large collaborative digital and community based projects. These projects demand that we know how to communicate effectively, that we know how to use political will , that we know the right and wrong time to ask for money and corporate sponsorship, the list goes on and on...sitting at your desk all day not speaking to anyone is just not going to cut it anymore.

The largest irony to all of this is that project management, in addition to all of these skills I have already listed, also DEMANDS that we are GREAT AT DETAILS -ha. when you are are good or great project manager you are managing all these little pieces of information so that your team can go out and do their work. You are tracking what needs to be done when and by who...

So i think one of the lessons here is that we should not throw the baby out with the bath water, we should see that we need to bring all of the skills that we are known and respected for and bring them forward and match them up with new skills.

I agree with Phyllis project work can be exciting, creative and fun. Onward forth

Amy J. Kearns, MLIS said...

Nancy, great post!

I have tagged you for the 8 Things Meme! :-)

See here:


Nancy Dowd said...

Great comments here! Thanks for posting. Amy- I haven't forgotten you but thinking of 8 things is really tough!!! :-)