Monday, June 20, 2005

Outside the Book - W.O.W.!

This week's Word of the Week is [drumroll please] differentiation: "Ensuring that products and services have a unique element to allow them to stand out from the rest." (from the Chartered Institute of Marketing). In other words, differentiation is all about how your 4 P's are different from the next guy's 4 P's.

Differentiation is important because honing in on a competitive advantage dramatically increases your chance of success, whether you're implementing a new ILS, developing new reference services, or beefing up your instruction program. So much of the time, and for good reason, we librarians look to adapt what others are already doing. ("Well, Borders is doing it, so maybe we should too.") However, each and every library has strengths and character that are uniquely its own, and those aspects should take center stage, rather than playing up how Library X is doing the same neat thing has Library Y or Business Z. So, adapt away, but be sure to differentiate yourself from the herd too.

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