Friday, March 31, 2006

Something borrowed and something blue

The New York Times reported yesterday on JetBlue's ambitions to grow big but market small. To do so, they're whipping out a lot of interesting tactics I thought librarians might want to borrow. Yes, JetBlue is still using plenty of the traditional stuff to get its message out, but more interesting is their focus on customer involvement and word-of-mouth, which is how the company grew from the beginning. Some examples of their tactics are: setting up "story booths" for people to share their JetBlue flying stories; leaving boxes labeled "Help Yourself" filled with airline snacks for passers by to grab; treating customers to free movie nights (that's supposed to happen here in Richmond!); and they will put postcards in seat pockets for passengers to journal their travels. As NYT columnist Stuart Elliott remarks, "The idea is that by involving the target audience in creating, producing or selecting the ads to be directed at them, a campaign will be more engaging and memorable than standard fare."

It's interesting to see this trend toward more consumer participation and I hope these tactics will spark some creative ideas for your libraries!

Categories: neat_trends | real_life | tips_to_try

Brains busting ads

Nicole McGee of the Municipal Reference Library in Virginia Beach informed me of a new study reported on in The report is called The Ad-Busting Brain and it discusses a study that suggests the brain does not attribute human personalities to brands. In the report, lead author Carolyn Yoon of the University of Michigan advises, '"Advertisers should keep in mind that when they use personality terms for a product reliable, trustworthy, cheerful —consumers are not associating those purely human qualities to the products in question."'

These are pretty interesting findings and the results should appear in the June issue of the Journal of Consumer Research (great journal, by the way!).

Categories: research_and_reports

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Market research in the blogosphere

RSS4Lib points out a great example of how librarians can use blogs to keep their finger on the pulse of patron needs. The post discusses an experiment in which a librarian used RSS feeds to notify him when students added posts to their blogs with certain keywords such as "assignment" or "library." If the posts were relevant, the librarian would add a comment with some helpful insights.

Regardless of how comfortable you are adding comments to posts, I certainly think monitoring blogs can help librarians identify new avenues for service and stay ahead of needs and trends.

Categories: tips_to_try

What color is your market planning?

Here's another good, and relevant, one from MarketingProfs:

"To create a complete marketing plan, one that drives near- and longer-term marketing action, I need only four "colors."

Here's how structuring the "color set" will help you focus your research, derive relevant conclusions, and then use all that information to create workable, living action plans for your marketing efforts.

You can read the entire article, "The Four Colors of Market Planning," here.

Categories: must_reads | usable_theories

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Today's word is "marketing"

Thanks in advance for indulging me with this post that has little substance but lots of entertainment value. One of my favorite T.V. Shows, The Colbert Report, features a segment called "The Word" every episode. Last night's Word was Marketing, and of course, I was unable to resist the urge to mention it here on LM.

If you're not familiar with the Colbert Report, it airs on Comedy Central and is in fact a comedy. You can watch The Word segment here.

Categories: random_stuff

Got advice?

The "Got Milk" guy had some interesting advice to share with advertisers. In his interview with Business Week, Jeff Goodby discussed the elements of a great ad campaign. One of my favorite insights is, "People are the best ad medium I know of. When you get a person to wear and talk your brand in a positive way, that's what we are all aiming for. If you don't create advertising that is welcomed, I don't see how you get there." Goodby also talked about the responsibilities advertisers bear in producing ads that are a part of people's everyday environment and that those messages should be welcomed, not scorned.

In library land, I think many of us suffer from poster pollution, and that's why these innovative ways of leveraging patrons' word-of-mouth and being selective and thoughtful in how we use advertising appeal to me.

Categories: must_reads

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

CGM training in podcast form

The Church of the Customer blog co-author Jackie Huba describes a podcast that she and other marketing mavens created on the topics of consumer-generated media (CGM), consumer-generated content (CGC) and citizen marketing. The podcast is part 1 of 2. According to Huba's post, "We discuss how social media is changing the landscape for marketers, examples of this new media/content and what marketers should do to embrace the people who are creating this stuff." I'll be listening to it for sure and I recommend you do the same as this is a very important marketing development, particularly for librarians.

Update: I did get a chance to listen to this yesterday and I wanted to give you the scoop: In this Part One, the speakers mainly discussed the meaning of CGM and also the other terminology used to describe this idea of customers creating "media stuff." They debated the pros and cons of the calling it CGM, CGC, or citizen marketing, and they did start touching on examples like the whole Snakes on a Plane phenomenon. I think that Part Two, which will be up next week, will focus on what companies can and should do about this form of customer involvement with brands.

I'll give you my take on all of this after I hear Part Two next week.

Categories: must_reads | train_yourself

More media, less patience

OMD released a study on consumers' media engagement. (While you have to pay to read the entire thing, a short summary is available here). The significant findings:

  • Media consumption takes up more of people's time than sleep.
  • Consumers' top complaint is deteriorating personal interactions (their second most common complaint is unwanted advertising interruptions).
  • Consumers have been slow to adopt new media devices like MP3 players and PDA's.
OMD CEO Page Thompson says the study is significant because, "it underscores the need to move from an advertising marketplace that is based on impressions and demographics to one that is based on behavior and engagement."

This kind of data could be useful to librarians to as we think about moving our services into the realms of cell phones and other mobile devices as it helps us to better understand patrons' use of and attitude toward technology, as well as the context in which our services will be used.

Update: On a related note, The Kept-Up Academic Librarian points to a survey that suggests about 80% of podcast downloads never make it to MP3 players; they're consumed at the computer.

Categories: research_and_reports | technology_tools

Monday, March 27, 2006

Say "I do" to engagement

ClickZ has more on the big marketing trend toward engagement, specifically in the form of consumer-generated-media. As author Pete Blackshaw says, "Marketers are finally recognizing the consumer voice (most evident in the Web's mushrooming digital trail of consumer-generated media (CGM)) is currency for credibility and trust with consumers. It's also a wellspring of great ideas, unique concepts, and untapped niche messaging opportunities."

This is a trend I think librarians would do well to seize. My favorite example is the University of Virginia's Libra Video, a library orientation created by students for students. Our patrons are an amazing source of energy and creativity that can be a real asset to our work and our marketing efforts!

Categories: neat_trends

Another fair game idea

Thanks to Library Coordinator Eugenia Hull of Blinn Collage for telling me about a fun game her library tried with great success. The original idea belongs to Prudence Morris who is now a reference librarian at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Eugenia writes, "I thought I would share a successful table our library had at a 'fair" type setting last year. We had some Sherlock Holmes decorations, and students who visited our table were given clue cards with the title and author of one of our books as well as a handout with brief instructions for searching our online catalog for the book. After finding the book's call number in our catalog and locating the book on the shelf, they would find a coupon for free food from local fast food restaurants or money-off coupons from other local businesses which we had placed in the book's date due card pocket. It was a great way to get students into the library as well as introduce them to the library catalog. The students seemed to enjoy it a lot!"

Categories: real_life | tips_to_try

Friday, March 24, 2006

Library Marketing now features categories!

Thanks to one observant reader who gave me a gentle nudge (ok, a big push!), to include categories in my blog, Library Marketing now has 'em! A couple of notes: Blogger doesn't support categories, so I found a nice and simple hack for getting them up. Those of you who share my frustration with this lack of functionality may like the hack too. Also, because this hack uses Blogger's own search function, it may take awhile for posts to be read by Blogger and put in the appropriate categories, but they will make it there. And, finally, this will only work for posts I write from now on unless I feel ambitious enough to go back and tag previous posts, which I don't see happening in the near future. I hope this helps you use Library Marketing more fully! I'm hoping to play around with the interface some more in the near future, so I'll keep you updated!

Categories: random_stuff

Fair game

I always see some creative sales pitches at fairs, and VCU's Off-Campus Living Fair I participated in today was no different. I handed out a library resource guide with renter information for the students who were checking out all of the rental properties represented. What was most interesting was doing a little recon to scope out how all of these vendors differentiated themselves. I stopped by one popular table and asked the staffers what they were doing to draw people in. What I found was a fun idea that might work for librarians too:

The table had a Finding Nemo theme and a colorful poster that read, "Finding the Southside," which was a take-off of the Nemo theme that referred to finding properties on the south side of town. They also had a wheel students could spin that featured different Finding Nemo characters and, depending on what character the spinner landed on, students won a certain prize. Prizes included tiny cans of Play-Doh (my favorite give-away of the day), erasers and other small items. What I especially liked is that the table had a fun feel to it and that the game created a little experience for students to walk away with.

This got me thinking, of course, about what librarians could do with this idea in a fair setting. I liked the spin-the-wheel game and thought that a library take-off of Finding Nemo could be something like "Finding Library Resources" (or something catchy) where the spinner could land on all of the most helpful or new resources/services the library has to offer be it a podcast, Interlibrary Loan, online journals, or whatever (Nemo character decorations optional). Then, when students land on the spaces, librarians could (conveniently) talk about what the resource is and give a library-ish prize (gummy worms aka "bookworms," bookmarks, pens, pencils, etc.) along with printed information about the resource/service. Of course, other games would do too, but the most important things would be to 1. Create an experience patrons would be drawn to, have fun with, and could talk about with others and 2. Teach patrons what the library has to offer.

This isn't a new idea, just one that saw working well and want to try. I'd like to hear about games you've tried in similar settings - leave a comment!

Categories: real_life | tips_to_try

Marketing: It's for science and techie librarians too!

Gary Price's Resource Shelf points to the Winter 2006 issue of Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, which has an outreach and marketing theme. Give it a read!

Categories: must_reads | real_life | tips_to_try

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Ready. Set. Engage!

NYT Columnist Stuart Elliott reports on one of the new trends in marketing: engagement. According Elliott's article, engagement was a hot topic at this year's Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) convention. So, what's engagement? In the article, Joseph T. Plummer, ARF's chief research officer, says, "What we need is a way to determine how the targeted prospect connected with, got engaged with, the brand idea," he added. "With engagement, you're on your way to a relationship instead of just a sales transaction." Engagement, then, is a way to get people emotionally involved with a brand. The article offers some good examples of how brands are "engaging" their customers.

Not to get mushy, but I agree that feelings matter and that, in the library world, feelings about the library as an experience matter. Our relationships with patrons are not just transactional, they're emotional and ongoing. These ideas about engagement, or whatever you call it, are useful in planning and implementing services so that they nurture and strengthen the bonds between patron and library.

Categories: new_news | neat_trends

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Marketers who move (and shake!)

I would be remiss if I didn't thank the folks at Library Journal and Marylaine Block in particular, my colleagues and readers for selecting me as a 2006 LJ Mover & Shaker. Thanks, everyone! :) I want to also congratulate all of the other librarians out there a movin' and a shakin'! In particular, I though you all would want to read about fellow "Marketing Movers" Karen Rossi, Joan Bernstein, Gary Shaffer, and Ruth Sinker. It's so great to see all of the important work they're doing! Congrats all around!

Must-reads from MarketingProfs!

I can't tell you how much I just love (I may even shell out the money one day to become a Premium Member, which is saying something for me!). Today, there are 3 very, very good articles for librarians that I recommend you save and read when you can.

The first is entitled "Turning Customers Into Your Sales and Marketing Department". The work refers to Fred Reichheld's research on something called a Net Promoter Score (I've mentioned this before). The authors go into a fair amount of detail about how to apply the Net Promoter Score and leverage your most enthusiastic customers to your advantage. I would be interested to see if this concept could/should be adopted for non-profits as I think it has potential in rallying our most dedicated patrons and unleashing their natural promotion skills.

The second article is called, "Marketing in Accelerated Culture" and it's fantastic! In fact, print it out and hang it on the nearest wall because the ideas presented here should guide marketers well into the future. The author, brand strategist Jay Pattisall, describes how and why old-school marketing is taking its last breaths, while newer marketers are making gains. As Pattisall boldly asserts, "In the future, marketing can no longer follow culture. It must lead culture." Right on!!

Finally, the article, "Strategic Social Marketing for Nonprofits" maps out a revised marketing mix for non-profits who are in the business of "selling" ideas and particular behaviors, rather than widgets. Sounds like us!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Power to the people! Social computing and marketing meet!

There were some important posts (here and here) on Mico Persuasion last week that outline the sources of upheaval in the marketing world. That is, traditional, institutional-controlled marketing is becoming marginalized by customers who wield enormous power thanks to new social technologies.

The posts reference a Forrester report that I haven't purchased, but the posts contain illustrative excerpts from the report that do a good job of summarizing the major points. You may also want to look at the TrackBacks and comments on the posts as some are fairly useful. The bottom line is that since customers are bombarded by too much "stuff" in the form of marketing messages, they've devised their own ways of filtering through it all by relying on social networks and their peers and colleagues. This is the BIG trend in marketing that I have discussed and will continue to discuss as it's crucial that librarians work out new marketing strategies given these new realities.

Heck, even Google, not known for its successes with social communities, is giving new strategies a try with its partnership with Nike and their joint soccer social network called Joga.

There will be more on this topic to come!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Wow! A whole world wide web of marketing resources!

The University of Texas at Austin's Advertising World really is a whole world of resources in one place! The sheer number of sites listed is mind-boggling, so enter at your own risk. The sites are grouped into a broad range of categories like Creativity, Fun, Market Research, Subliminal Messages, Word-of-Mouth, and on and on. Enjoy digging through this mound of Web sites (I know I will!).

Friday, March 17, 2006

What's in a product?

So, what's in a decent product that makes it an amazing product in the eyes of consumers? Kathy Sierra of Creating Passionate Users has some thoughts on the matter that I think librarians may find intriguing. Specifically, she outlines 10 ways to make your product desirable. I won't repeat them all here, but they include such goodies as "pay attention to the emotional appeal," "make it meaningful," "support a community of users," and "never underestimate the power of fun."

What's important to keep in mind with both products and services is that they are jam-packed with psychological and emotional meaning for people. Consider something as common as a bag of M&M's, for example. How do you feel about this product? Does it bring back feelings of nostalgia? Are M&M's your favorite comfort food? Do you find the M&M's spokes-candies fun and adorable? Now just think about how much meaning and emotion is embedded in an institution as established and widely-regarded as the library!

What I like about Kathy's post is that it reminds us that we don't just consume products, we have relationships with them. For these reasons, consumer psychology and behavior are important to understand in order to create services that have appeal on many levels. One popular site that is helpful for an introduction to such concepts is The Psychology of Consumers: Consumer Behavior and Marketing.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Beware of buyer

The marketplace has evolved from a "buyer beware" mentality to a "seller beware" attitude, which is a good thing. However, the newly found power customers wield means that one unhappy customer can spell big trouble for companies (and libraries too!). In fact, a Knowledge @ Wharton post reports that 100 dissatisfied customers can cost retailers between 32 and 36 percent of current or potential customers due to bad word-of-mouth! These results stress the importance of librarians providing consistent, high-quality customer service

What can librarians do to keep their patrons happy? One possible solution comes from Blog Business World. A post there suggests that companies create customer service blogs that keep a dialogue going between customers and employees. Doing so helps to ensure that surly customers don't keep their concerns bottled up, but instead tell employees about their problems so they can be resolved. I also like this idea because it increases libraries'/businesses' transparency to foster trust and relationships with patrons/customers.

Posts this week

Posts may be more infrequent that usual this week since I am out of the office for most of it. I'll be back on Monday and daily posts should resume then. Thanks for reading!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Keeping up with the competition: Amazon and downloading DVD's

The New York Times today reports that is in talks with Hollywood studios about offering a service whereby customers can download movies and TV shows and burn them onto DVD's. There's no telling what, if anything, this could mean for libraries, but it's worth keeping an eye on these trends as companies develop new ways of delivering information as they could influence patrons' expectations of library services. These trends could also illustrate ways in which librarians could modify their own services.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Podcasting a net to a targeted audience

I know I'm a bit biased on this, but my colleague here at VCU, Pete Kirlew, has recently unveiled an ambitious project he's been working on that illustrates some important marketing principles. Pete is the creator of Librarycasting SE, which employs screencasts, videos and podcasts to deliver educational and information resources in the sciences and engineering. You can learn more about the project here.

It's a very rich resource and one that is tailored to the needs and preferences of science/engineering faculty and students, many of whom don't come to the library building itself but who still require assistance in navigating resources. Pete has even created RSS feeds for the major topic areas so that users can hone in on exactly the information they need quickly and efficiently. While I won't describe every feature of the blog in this post, I encourage you to take a look at it. I was particularly impressed with how Pete's knowledge of his audience shaped every aspect of the blog and how his delivery of information includes visual and audio content to accommodate a variety of learning styles.

Like I said, I'm a bit biased but I think you'll agree that there is a lot of inspiration to be found here. Just imagine making library lectures and other events, new resources and services, and how-to information available in these various formats, customizable for numerous audiences, and easily deliverable through RSS. What exciting marketing opportunities!

I'd also like to hear about similar projects you're working on. Please leave a comment if you'd like to share.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Satisfied doesn't cut it

Harvard Business School's (HBS) Working Knowledge reviewed the new book The Ultimate Question: Driving Good Profits and True Growth. The author, loyalty expert Fred Reichheld, argues that satisfied customers are not sufficient for business success and that instead companies should aim to turn customers into promoters.

While the book focuses on a measurement system Reichheld calls the Net Promoter Score, the excerpt HBS features is worth a read as it describes how businesses have gone about building lasting (and profitable) relationships with customers. What's most interesting is that a number of the companies profiled such as Chick-fil-A and HomeBanc Mortgage Corporation spent very little on advertising to generate business. So how did they grow? The found success by paying and treating their employees exceptionally well and by providing outstanding service on a consistent basis, which meant lots of repeat business and referrals. These examples are good reminders that great marketing means great service, which doesn't require flashy ads and big promotion budgets.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

A new marketing book for librarians hits the shelves!

Author and head of the Department of Library and Information Science of Kota Open University, Dinesh Gupta, informed me of the release of a new book he co-edited entitled Marketing Library and Information Services: International Perspectives. The book features 40 papers from 47 contributors in 20 countries.

As the description states, "The marketing of library services has now been recognised as an essential agenda item for almost all kinds of libraries all over the world. Presenting contributions from a truly international group of librarians, this book provides a broad spectrum on the topic, providing a useful tool for both working librarians and future librarians to understand vital issues relating to the marketing of library and information services at the local, national and international level."

Thank you for passing this along!

Update: Dinesh Gupta informs me that he is no longer head of the Department (his next rotation is in 2007) and his university's name has changed from Kota Open University to Vardhaman Mahaveer Open University, Kota. I appreciate the updated information!

More on creating community

Duct Tape Marketing continues its discussion of community with the post, Contests Create Community. It points out how two organizations, the Washington D.C. Metro System and MasterCard, have asked customers to become involved with their services and promotions via contests. I was thrilled to see these companies inviting customers to be a part of their services and in such a fun way. Heck, if the D.C. Metro System can do it, so can we (and numerous libraries already have!).

Hone your sales and promotion skills! has some great new resources that will help you develop your sales and promotion techniques.

The first is an article called "Sales Training is Not Only for Salespeople." I couldn't agree more! In fact, the article even mentions librarians as an example of professionals who need top-notch sales skills: "Librarians face many challenges in getting customers to use their services when Internet access opens numerous information sources previously only available in libraries." Wow! The article outlines self-directed and trainer-directed training opportunities. If you ever have to man a table at a fair or work a service point, then you need to take a look at this!

The second resource is another installment of's Principles of Marketing Tutorial called Promotion Decisions. This is a must-read for all librarians who need to get a firm grasp of or reminder of the basics. As the tutorial points out, "when non-marketers hear someone talk about "promotion" they frequently believe the person is talking about advertising. While advertising is the most visible and best understood method of promotion, it is only one of several approaches a marketer can choose to promote their products and services." That's a crucial point to remember when drafting your marketing plans! I would also suggest that this be the last thing you consider in your plans and that primary emphasis should be on the product/service you provide. Like a marketing professor of mine told me, nothing gets the word out about a bad product faster than a good promotional campaign.

The world comes to Wyoming in Wyoming libraries' new marketing campaign!

Thanks to Tina Lackey, Publications and Marketing Manager at Wyoming State Library who contacted me about her libraries' brand new marketing campaign, Bringing the World to Wyoming. The campaign aims to let people know that, "Wyoming's libraries are as expansive as the state, and as close as down the street." The Web site has information about the campaign where you can view their amazing billboard ads and radio spots. They also have an online store that offers tons of neat items like an apron, tote bags and even a doggie T-shirt!

Tina also sent a press release, which you can view here (PDF).

Thanks, Tina, and good luck!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Museums using podcasts as part of marketing arsenal

The Museum Podcasts newsletter features one museum that is employing podcasts as a marketing tool. An article describes how Panhandle-Plains Historical Musuem is reaching out to a non-traditional audience by offering podcasts that include discussions between students and curators about exhibits as well as artist interviews. The issue also includes an article about how Grace Museum is working with university students on a podcast project. Terrific inspiration for librarians here!

Transforming patrons into communities

We'd all agree that libraries are vital in sustaining and creating community, but how does a librarian actually go about "making" a community that will, in turn, sustain the library?

Duct Tape Marketing points to a post by author Guy Kawasaki that may be useful. In it, Kawasaki outlines 8 principles that are essential in community building, all of which librarians can do or do better. Some of my favorite are: Create something worth building a community around; Create an open system; and Welcome criticism. The Duct Tape Marketing post also features a podcast interview with Kawasaki on the topic.

In my own attempts at community building, I've found that creating an advisory committee has been an amazing way to harness the enthusiasm of patrons to come up with creative solutions. The students on my committee are very passionate about libraries and they never hesitate to voice their opinions, good and bad, while also sharing their excitement with other students. I don't know how I could do my work without the two-way communication and insights this little community offers. What strategies have you used to foster community in your library?

Update: A great comment on this post prompted me to clarify what I mean about creating communities from a marketing perspective. Certainly, librarians' responsibilities include reaching out into existing communities on their terms and on their turf so as to support those communities without imposing upon them. There is, I think, another kind of community as well, and that is one that derives its purpose from the library itself and members of those communities act as library advocates and advisors. I do not mean to imply that patrons must come to the library building itself in order to be a part of this community, but that they share a common passion for the library and the services it provides. Librarians can create an environment that fosters the formation of these communities by opening up lines of communication and giving people exciting news and services to rally around. In this sense, such communities sustain the library by invigorating its mission and telling others about its value. These are not artificial communities that librarians can mechanically construct, but they originate from genuine relationships between library staff and patrons and can be nurtured by creating some of the elements Kawasaki mentions in his post. At least, that's how I see it today, but I'd like to hear your thoughts on this as well!

Friday, March 03, 2006

"My media"

"Where is the consumer? What do they want? Where do they want it? What messages will work for them?" Substitute the word "patron" for "consumer," and you might think this was a librarian talking. But, in fact, these words come from Yahoo!'s COO Daniel Rosensweig at the 2006 American Association of Advertising Agencies Media Conference and Tradeshow in Orlando, Florida. In his talk (accessible here), Rosensweig addresses many of the same topics that we librarians are contending with including user-generated content, self-publishing, consumer rating of information, information overload and the rise of communities that filter this information for their members, and the personalization of technology, among others. Speaking from a marketing perspective, Rosensweig addresses how to reach people as the advertising industry is experiencing a shift from "mass media" to what he calls "my media." In a nutshell, he sees the interaction between marketers and consumers on the Internet as a great opportunity to reach people and to gather information about what they want, using the Internet as an enormous database.

This talk is pertinent for us for a number of reasons. First, I contend that librarians concerned with marketing should pay close attention to what marketers in a business setting are up to. While we don't share the exact same concerns, talks like Rosensweig's are good reminders that we are all generally seeking to do essentially the same thing, which is to get people to use our stuff. Advertising is undergoing a major shift right now due to precisely the same changes in technology and information that we deal with (see this NYT reporter's write up of the Four A's conference for a summary of the major trends). They, like us, are trying to figure out how to communicate with people given that people are much more connected with each other than ever and there is a lot of information clutter out there. We can learn a lot from how marketers are responding to these changes, while still upholding the integrity of our own profession and recognizing our differences. Second, it was very interesting for me to hear a leader of one of our competitors talk about how Yahoo! wants to help consumers find what they need to know before they even have to ask, and also help people to find, create and enhance content. The marketing directions companies like Yahoo! take will influence the expectations patrons will have for us, and so whether or not we go down similar paths, we ought to be aware of what's going on in the larger information world.

I'd recommend taking a listen to Rosensweig's talk (it's not very long) for an interesting perspective on information and advertising. Talks from other advertisers are posted, though I haven't listened to them yet. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Google's long shadow

An article in yesterday's New York Times, demonstrates that librarians are not the only ones who are concerned about the impact of Google. Google also has ad execs on edge. The article discusses how Paris-based advertising and media conglomerate Publicis, opened a firm called Denuo that employs futurists whose job it is to defend Publicis and its clients from Google's entrance onto the advertising stage by anticipating trends. I had to smile at a comment from one lead futurist who the article quotes as saying, "Traditional ad companies, with their human-touch marketing skills, will always have an important edge over Google, he said. "Human beings can never be captured in an algorithm, and Google only understands algorithms," he said."

Here too is where librarians have an edge over Google. Marketing as a whole is becoming much more personalized, and librarians are experts in tailoring answers and resources for people in a very personal way through reference interviews, needs assessments, etc. Librarians, like the ad execs in the article, should scan the horizon for trends at that offer new ways to create and deliver those personalized, value-added services. If it takes a Google to shake things up to get organizations on their toes and thinking creatively about marketing, then such competition is a positive development, and not one to fear. Goolge's bold moves on numerous fronts presents a perfect opportunity to clarify and express our value, both for patrons and for ourselves.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Step up and take a swing

ALA's "Step up to the Plate @ your library" program will launch in April, but librarians can register now for free promotional tools. See the press release for details.