While running a search on libraries and marketing I came across a book review on Developing strategic marketing plans that really work: a toolkit for public libraries, by Terry Kendrick.
I haven’t seen the book myself, but the review by Philip Calvert (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand) indicates it’s a very worthwhile one to consult – a book that is practical and one that helps convert theory into practice. I’m interested that:
In later chapters Kendrick discusses the market for public library services, and how to discover more about this by market research to help in the creation of a community profile. He goes to describe how the market can be segmented and a value proposition written for each segment.
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
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