Marketing orientation as a management style

A very useful article that explains how one library took a look at all the components of the marketing mix and adopted them as a management strategy is Walking the talk, market orientation in academic libraries : a case study of Queensland University of Technology Library, Australia –  a paper presented at an IATUL conference by Barbara Ewers.

Ewers echoes Alison Circle’s sentiments (and my own) when she says:

there seems to have been a fragmented application of marketing principles in the management and operation of libraries because they have lacked strategies to translate the marketing management into their functional management

and critically:

in a market orientated organisation, marketing isn’t pushed off to one side as promotion or public relations. Marketing orientation is an organisational management style

Ewers goes on to describe what she calls the 7 Ps of service marketing: product; price; processes; place; physical evidence; promotion and people, and how these have been utilised at QUT Library as strategies and  indicators of performance measurement.

Although the article provides an example from an academic library it is an excellent starting point for exploring the idea of marketing as a strategy rather than a tactic.

Ewer’s concludes with 7 suggestions that would be applicable to any library seeking to devise a marketing strategy:

  • understand your clients through market research
  • identify your client market – using segmentation and targeting
  • identify your strengths as a competitive business – positioning
  • know the product your clients want and where they want to use it
  • develop effective and efficient procedures to facilitate outcomes for clients
  • employ and train staff in client relationship marketing as well as work skills
  • communicate the benefits of your product over that of your competitors

One thought on “Marketing orientation as a management style

  1. Amanda says:

    I think a cohesive approach to marketing in libraries is essential. The sooner we wake up to the fact that libraries provide a service and a product, have an ever-changing and variable client-base the better. Marketing in academic libraries certainly doesn’t seem consistent as it relies on an individual librarian’s efforts. It needs a coordinated targeted strategy to make the most of (usually limited) resources.

    Do you think that sometimes librarians are remiss in asking their clients what product they want and where they want to use it? the new product Summon from Serials Solutions sounds pretty amazing and would make teaching students how to find information a breeze.

    and getting out into the clients’ environment would certainly help vis a vis Canterbury’s Library on wheels pilot.

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