Thursday, May 04, 2006

Guest post from Nicole McGee on non-users

Guest post from Nicole McGee

Nicole McGee, of the Municipal Reference Library in Virginia Beach, VA, has been very helpful in passing marketing goodies for the blog my way.  In fact, she had so many things to say that I offered her a guest post for her to share some of her thoughts.  Nicole chose to write about a book called The Must-Have Customer:  7 Steps to Winning the Customer You Haven't Got, and reflect a bit on reaching out to our potential patrons who donÂ’t yet use the library.  

Here'’s what Nicole had to say:

The Virginian-Pilot (4/27/06, p. D5) had a short review of a new book (April 2006) called The Must-Have Customer: 7 Steps to Winning the Customer You Haven't Got by Robert Gordman. In my experience, this is a discussion all library marketing committees have on a regular basis. How DO we reach those pesky "non-library users?" And as this new book addresses, how do we win back the customers who are lured away? Warm, cozy bookstores and your favorite local wireless hang-out, among others, are all competing against libraries for peopleÂ’s attention and "business." And in a lot of cases, they're winning. So how do libraries effectively get the word out about all their services and collections?

Marketing literature in unexpected places is one potential strategy. MPPOW (my previous place of work) placed advertisements for our classes and our peer advising program in the local buses. The 2002 ACRL Innovation in Instruction award was CSU-Fresno's InfoRadio program, a series of public service announcements creatively promoting information literacy skills that aired on the campus radio station.

And also related to this topic is the idea of "library as place" and all the ways that it affects people'’s decision to return or not (un)welcoming policies (see Aaron Schmidt's, aka The Walking Paper blogger, Flickr pic), (un)inviting atmospheres, and a customer service-(un)savvy staff, to name a few.

One solution is knowing what future patrons want or expect from your library. While browsing through The Cluetrain Manifesto, the idea that the "internal" (companies, libraries, etc) and the "external" (patrons) need to be able to communicate freely, i.e. online, in an integral component. Organizations who don't build this into their culture, if one follows this idea from the book, will become far removed from the pulse of the conversations happening online and will quickly become obsolete. And IMHO, this is yet another strong argument for library blogs, RSS feeds, and other exciting forms of communication and exchange that are at the heart of Library 2.0 concept.

Here's the link to the if you want to read more about this new book:

Thanks for sharing your point-of-view, Nicole!  I hope to hear from others on this topic too. I plan to address reaching out to non-users more on this blog, since it'’s an important obligation we share.  One thought I'm exploring is how to use our biggest library fans to help draw in those who are the less-than-enthusiastic.  More (hopefully) later.

Categories: must_reads | tips_to_try

1 comment:

Patrick said...

I think this is one of the biggest challenges we have in libraries -- how to reach those that we don't already have.

I'd be very interested in more ideas about how to do this.