Thursday, February 22, 2007

What will it take to get real with marketing?

I've been really thrilled with some of the great commentary on LM of late. This comment from Anonymous in response to a post about metrics really snagged my attention:

"In the business world marketing routinely reports to the CEO because it is deemed very important function. Yet, in the library world marketing is at a low level within the organization, almost an afterthought. Until the library directors of the world recognize, understand, and support a true marketing function, little will happen in the way of change."
I can't say that I disagree with this position. The question that I'd like to raise is, what would it take to get real marketing entrenched in libraries, and what does "real" marketing mean? To me, real marketing is:
  • Pervasive. Marketing should be entrenched in all aspect of library service design and delivery. In other words, marketing is NOT posters and press releases.
  • Iterative. Marketing planning is ongoing and marketing plans must be revisited on a regular basis. Staff at all levels should participated and be involved in marketing activities.
  • Measurable. Marketing is meant to accomplish something. Measurements are needed to determine of those goals were achieved or if a different approach is required.
  • Proactive. Marketing isn't something to fall back on when times are tough. It's a way of doing business that gets libraries from Point A to Point B using strategy and environmental analysis.
My question for you: How will we know when libraries have achieved real marketing, and what does real marketing mean to you?

Update: Shame on me for not mentioning another important characteristic of real marketing: meaningful. Real marketing derives from patron wants and needs and delivers relevant services in a meaningful context. In short, real marketing matters to patrons, not just us.

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