Monday, May 22, 2006


Did you know that education can be a powerful marketing tool? One study by Powered, Inc. says so and argues that online consumer education is more effective than traditional media advertising and direct marketing, according to their press release. In fact, Powered Inc.'s survey of 200,000 people who completed online education programs found, among other things, that 90% of respondents are likely to recommend the experience to a friend and 94% have a more favorable perception of the brand because of the experience.

What does this mean for libraries? A lot. Marketing is becoming less about pushing stuff out to people, and more about empowering them to succeed. Library instruction is one great way to do that as patrons gain valuable knowledge skills while librarians are positioned as experts on particular topics. Church of the Customer authors also point out that education is a great way to rally enthusiasts through what they call "napsterizing knowledge." The key, I think, is to strategically think through what our target patrons need the most help with and match that with the expertise we can provide that few others can, and deliver that educational content in the way patrons prefer (one-on-one, in-person classes, online tutorials/classes, etc.). There's a lot of room for creativity here. Faculty may appreciate lessons on RSS that help them keep up with the literature in their fields; new mothers may like guidance on how to find the best free resources on childhood development. I, for example, am trying to put together specialized online tutorials and resources for national scholarship candidates. These efforts could put libraries at the forefront of patrons' minds and give them an experience worth recommending to others.

I haven't read the full report (which you have to exchange personal information for), but you can hear the CEO of Powered talk about the business perspective of what online consumer education is and why it is an effective marketing tool here. I would take the results with a grain of salt since the company that conducted the study also produces online educational materials. However, I am hearing more about consumer education in marketing circles and think it's worth examining for library marketing purposes too.

Update: I just found this nice post from Blog Business World about the value of sharing information, both internally and externally.

Categories: neat_trends | new_news

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