Every now and then, libraries start thinking about marketing. We get excited about promoting our services, meeting the needs of our patrons, and competing in the digital era. Then, we reflect on all the items in our inbox, we consider our priorities… Though we’re all well intentioned, marketing inevitably ends up near the bottom of our to do lists under the heading “Someday, when I have time.” Well, Someday is here, and the time to market your library is Now.
Marketing is important
In business, marketing is the crux of any good strategic plan – with good reason. To paraphrase marketing expert Pierre Filiatrault,
marketing is the management of interactions between a business and its clients. Marketing means recognizing and understanding changes in the market, and adapting products and services to meet the needs of clients (Comment faire un plan de marketing stratégique, 2005).
Ask any librarian, every single one of them will tell you that their jobs exist to serve their clients – to serve the citizens of their communities, to serve their students, to serve their organizations. If it weren’t for our patrons, our clients, our libraries would not exist.
For libraries (as for any business, organization or government) marketing means finding out what our clients actually need and providing them with products and services to satisfy those needs.
Marketing isn’t just about promoting our services. Marketing means evaluating goals (reviewing our missions), assessing client needs, researching demographics, learning about our competitors (yes, libraries have competitors), and adapting our products and services. Most importantly, marketing means making sure our objectives and priorities are aligned with the needs of our clients.
It follows that developing a marketing perspective, and incorporating marketing into strategic planning, is the best way to ensure libraries are serving (and keeping) our clients to the best of our abilities.
If I’ve convinced you marketing is important, stay tuned to learn more.
Find out more about marketing @ your library: