Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Marketing: It's more familiar than you think

Not to toot my own horn, but the kind people at the Readex Report featured an article I wrote for its Fall 2007 newsletter on the similarities between marketing and teaching called, "Worlds Apart? The Relationship Between Teaching and Marketing and What It Means to Academic Librarians." The point of the piece is to demonstrate that librarians are conducting activities that resemble marketing practices in their instructional roles, at that these commonalities ought to encourage librarians to embrace marketing as a familiar friend. This piece expands on a blog post I wrote with the same theme. I hope the article will help to win over reluctant colleagues who may not understand how marketing works in a non-profit context. I welcome your thoughts on this, as always!

My "big move" into my first home is this Saturday, so I'm hoping that I'll have more time to blog once I get settled (there's so much great marketing stuff to write about and so little time!). That is, if I can break away from painting the walls...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Creativity as responsibility?

I'm excited to be taking a Marketing class on new product development this semester. What's most intriguing is that our instructor is emphasizing creativity and innovation, which has never been directly addressed in any previous course I've taken.

My professor made one comment on this topic that stuck with me ever since. He said that most companies seek small innovations. These innovations typically revise existing products, but don't result in anything dramatically new. This makes sense because these types of incremental innovations are low-risk and relatively cheap. He added that this approach prevents companies from exploring the more risky and costly radical innovations that could result in new product categories. As a result, companies are neglecting opportunities to improve society with breakthrough products.

His words made me think that librarians have a social obligation to be creative and to innovate. This obligation may entail approaches to service that are dramatically different from what we've done in the past. Continually revising services may not be enough to achieve the benefits modern patrons seek.

This week, I'll make a guest post available from a librarian who is helping to radically redefine library services, which will lead into further discussions about libraries as creativity labs.