by John Hammond

Table of Contents


Developing a Marketing Strategy

Marketing Strategy Marketing Action Program Marketing Audit Introduction
Phillip Kotler has defined marketing in his work, Marketing Management as "the art of identifying and understanding customer needs and finding solutions that satisfy those needs, and at the same time, producing profits for stockholders." It is therefore necessary to understand peopleís needs, to design services to satisfy those needs and to inform the target market of the value inherent in the use of the product to satisfy their needs. So, we may correlate that special libraries, in general, are organizations that have been established to serve the needs of an identified client base.

Funding sources are dependent upon the type of library. For example, public libraries monies come from taxes, private colleges and universities from fees and special libraries draw from corporate, and research and private sector funding.

Whatever the organization, the purpose of marketing is to achieve that organizationís objectives. Wilson in Marketing Tips for Professionals states "The no. 1 rule in the business environment of a special library is: everything relates to the bottom line; profit. The no. 2 rule is you must market your product to be successful." Special libraries have frequently been operated as cost centers.

Through effective marketing of the special library this cost can be turned around. Increasing Information Center usage and cost recovery through client or departmental chargebacks will turn a negative into a positive. Such an Information Center can be turned into a profit center and become essential to the parent organizationís success. In todayís climate of information center cutbacks and reductions, marketing can help insure an Information Centerís survival. Marketing is finding what your customers want and, within reasonable parameters, providing it.

The question now becomes for the library professional "how do I market the Information Center?" The answer?: Through the development and implementation of a marketing program. A marketing program is more than just good public relations and the dissemination of information to the public. It is hoped that the information presented in this chapter will provide a roadmap for successful marketing strategy.

Developing a Marketing Strategy

According to Charlotte Wilson, author of Marketing Tips for Informational Professionals, the development of a marketing strategy is composed of five broad steps:

Draw a chart to help you determine the hierarchy of command and where in the hierarchy of command the Information Center lies. Just as no company can successfully market to every single person, no Information Center can efficiently serve every single employee. Groups have different needs. It is essential that you look and assess those who are strategically place and as a result, "they get things done." Determine the reasons they are using other resources: i.e.: unfamiliar with the Information Centersí services, bad experiences with the Information Center or others like it. This knowledge will help the Information Center target those areas in its service that may need to be expanded or users who may need to be informed, through proactive marketing, of services provided by the Information Center. Marketing Strategy: For example, if a neighboring library or a competitor provides CD-ROM printouts and searches to their users, then the Information Center should have the same or similar service too. This will also enable the Information Center to recoup some of its costs through the use of charge-back fees or by increasing the billable hours via increased patron use of the services. Therefore, a thorough examination of the costs associated with the Information Centerís services is very useful in creating a marketing plan for the Information Center. Marketing Action Program:
  This can lead to an increase in demand for the Information Centers services and you will learn more about the organization too. Marketing Audit:

A marketing audit is an examination and evaluation of the Information Centerís activities that include its needs and capabilities. Planning and scheduling the data collection must be organized. Determining the methods and forms for collection data are nest. Data can be gathered for the evaluation through the use of various tools designed for this exercise. User surveys are frequently used. Tally sheets to determine usage of the facility. Questionnaires are useful for user feedback or one may determine the population(organization population)and track an In-Information Center use per capita.

Training of the staff for data collection is necessary. Last, one must analyze and report the data. A review or marketing audit should occur roughly every two years. The person who is to conduct this audit should be some neutral party from another part of the organization. This person can then examine the Information Centerís marketing performance and make suggestions on possible improvements. The audit should provide a thorough examination of all essential aspects of the program. It should reveal areas of success as well as determine efforts that did not meet expectations and goals. The object of the analysis is to provide information to develop better marketing strategies for the Information Center. A marketing audit should also examine the four Pís of marketing: product, price, place, and promotion. Were the goals and objectives of those essential elements met? Were the goals and objectives of the Information Center met?

It should be noted that this is an ongoing process and should be considered for the life of the Information Center.

Balas, Janet L. "Using the Web to Market the Library." Computers in Libraries Sept. 1998, v18, n8, n46,

Brown, Susan A. "Marketing the Corporate Information Center for Success" Online July Ė August 1997 v21, n4, p74.

Bushing, Mary C. "The Libraryís Product and Excellence.(Marketing of Library and Information Sources)" Library Trends, Winter 1995 v43, n3, p387.

Carpenter, Beth. "Your Attention, Please! Marketing Todayís Libraries." Computers in Libraries. Sept 1998, v18, n8, p62.

Cohen, William A. The Marketing Plan. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 1995.

Dean, Sharon. Winning Marketing Techniques: An Introduction to Marketing for Information Professionals: A Self-study program. Washington, DC: Special Libraries Association, 1990.

Kotler, Philip. Marketing Management, Analysis, Planning, and Control. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall. 1980.

Kotler, Philip and Alan R. Andreasen. Strategic Marketing for Non-Profit Organizations. New Jersey. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 3rd ed., 1987.

Muir, Robert F. "Marketing Your Library or Information Service to Business." Online. July 1993 v 17, n4, p41.

Tenney, H. Baird, et al. Marketing and Libraries: A Handbook for Libraries and Information Centers Do Mix. Cleveland Heights, OH: The State Library of Ohio, 1993.

Weingand, Darlene E. Future Driven Library Marketing. Chicago: ALA, 1998.

Whitwell, Stuart C. A. "Redeeming Value (Need for Libraries to Adopt a Marketing Approach)" ALA, 1995.

Wilson, Charlotte and Roger Strouse. Marketing Tips for Information Professionals: A Practical Workbook. Lexis-Nexis Information Center, 1996.

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