Monday, May 21, 2007

A lot of to-do about transparency

I'm not sure if this is against blogging etiquette or not, but I'm once again going to refer you to a post I wrote on another blog because it's very relevant for librarians, but it saves me from repeating myself!

I wrote a piece about a the most recent report, Transparency Tyranny. In a nutshell, the report explains how customers are using technology to instantly compare prices, share opinions and reviews, and compare the quality of products, to name some popular activities. Customers now more than ever can expose the inner workings of organizations and how what they do stacks up to the competition. Thanks to technology, customers are in charge.

This phenomenon is both a good and bad thing for marketers/librarians. It's good if you're already a terrific, innovative organization, but it's a terrible reality for organizations that are just eking by by being good enough. In response, librarians will need to look for ways in which they can make themselves more transparent and give patrons an inside view of how we do things. Relationship-building will become an increasingly important skill as a result. Also, instead of being at the mercy of what people are saying about them, librarians should host forums for people to share their ideas and criticisms about their libraries.

The transparency trend will certainly be addressed more here on LM. To get you thinking more about how we can adapt and thrive in a transparent marketplace, you may want to check out the article I pointed to called Listening to Online WOM: A Primer from the New Communications Review (they have an RSS feed, by the way). It's a decent overview of how WOM analytics tools work, which is important to understand when trying to identify and interpret what customers say online. Monitoring online chatter is not only useful for finding out what people say about you, but also for market research purposes so that you can better understand customer needs and viewpoints.

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