Levitt, T. (1960). MARKETING MYOPIA. Harvard Business Review, 38(4), 45-56.
Marketing Myopia is one of my favorite marketing articles of all times. It "gets to the point" of marketing much better than a one thousand page textbook ever could, and I think it is necessary reading for anyone that considers themselves to be a marketer, especially in libraries.
The debate on what to call people that walk into the library and use the space or service is not a new discussion. Recently, a great article summing up the pros and cons of different terminology was published in Public Libraries. Pundsack, K. (2015). Customers or Patrons?. , (1), 41-44.
This discussion is very well-laid out and thoughtful, and it got me thinking about terminology. I think every library will have a different priority for naming their constituents - but the decision should be deliberate and thoughtful.
Contemporary database marketing strategies (not e-resources, but a customer database) allow for-profit enterprises to capture what is known as the Customer Journey. Each time a sales person connects with a customer, it is documented. Even before they are officially a client, that experience is captured in the database. Each email that gets sent to the client is documented, with a record of "opened" or "unopened" - and documentation about any action that was taken after the email was opened. Any purchase is tracked, so marketers can analyze time between purchases, average dollar amounts, and in-store vs. online sales. This helps marketers craft custom solutions to purchase problems by analyzing the habits of the individuals, and then creating custom flash sales, coupons, or in-store events designed to attract a very specific customer. Many of these strategies were discussed at the Experian Marketing Forward Tour.
As the final entry in the series about consumption contexts, I want to talk about product life cycles. Most people will be at least vaguely familiar, if not outright educated, with this concept. The product life cycle is an illustration of the stages that occur when a new product comes to market. Typically you look at sales over time, with the emergence of different stages. At the library we won't necessarily consider "sales" but we may think of patrons, transactions, overall use, etc.
The previous post detailed Coca-Cola's multi-billion dollar effort to increase consumption contexts of their customers. So what is a library, with an obvious absence of several billion dollars, supposed to do? In my opinion, the answer to that question lies with Philip Kotler's approach to Lateral Marketing (Kotler, P., & Trías, . B. F. (2003). Lateral marketing: New techniques for finding breakthrough ideas. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.) Kotler explains how to expand services/products in a meaningful way.
To clarify a few questions on what library marketing actually is or how non-profit organizations can mimic for-profit institutions' marketing efforts, I want to do a post on consumption contexts and lateral marketing. However, this post could easily turn into a novel, so I hope to do a short series of posts to help digest the information a little bit easier.
As an example, let's look at Coca-Cola. An easily recognizable brand with international influence, Coca-Cola is an industry leader in sales, marketing, and acquisitions. They are a beverage company through and through. Despite the gargantuan size of their corporation, they have never navigated away from their core competencies. According to a January 2014 Mintel Report on Occasions for Consuming Non-Alcoholic Beverages, 26% of survey respondents indicated that they consume a carbonated soda daily. The MRI+ MediaMark Reporter tells us that there are 26.7 million Americans that are heavy drinkers of diet sodas (drinking 6 or more glasses in the last 7 days). We also know that people tend to avoid caffeinated or carbonated beverages before bed, and think it's important to start your day off with a healthy beverage (Mintel report). So this is what the consumption context of a heavy consumer of Diet Coke might look like:
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