Friday, September 02, 2005

What types are typical in your library?

An interesting case in point about targeting market segments comes from Best Buy. A article (c/o CMO) outlines how the company profiles its most profitable customers and groups them into 3 categories that are assigned code names: Buzz (the technophile), Barry (the rich professional), and Jill (the soccer mom...why Jill?). Anyway, these customers spell big bucks for Best Buy so they're dedicating a number of their stores to one or more of the types. Jill's, for example, can expect to be escorted into their Best Buy with pink umbrellas on rainy days, listen to their favorite Mariah Carey album on the loudspeakers, and find kid-friendly displays and games. The level of customization here is amazing.

Libraries have no shortage of types either. We have the serious-researcher-types, the must-have-the-lastest-bestseller-types, the I-come-to-the-library-for-socializing-types, and on and on. Wouldn't it be an interesting experiment to uncover some of our frequent user "types" and think through the service implications each brings? Maybe our serious-researcher-types would appreciate rich wood furniture, attractive reading lights, and frequent updates on the latest news in his/her field. Our latest-best-seller-types could be invited in by overstuffed chairs, a coffee bar, book clubs, and the inside scoop on forthcoming titles. To some extent, we do similar studies already, but it might be fun to take a focused look at patrons in terms of "types" and think through our marketing strategies in this light.

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