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The Market Library And Information Services Marketing Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Marketing
Wordcount: 2574 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Libraries and information centers are considered as public goods. Historically Librarians have been confident that the information and products they restore are such that it attract the user automatically. They believed that people must use the library; however, it is now a yesterday’s thinking (Weingand, 1999). The success of any library depends upon various factors, among these are getting users to use the library and making them aware of the library’s services. The library was a serious structure for the storage space of resources, the seats of reader and the stipulation of workspaces for library staff. Scholars, or users, went to such places to acquire knowledge through these resource centers, while librarians guide the users to find their way. This traditional library pattern was matched by traditional library design. In the past few years, the products and services provided by libraries have changed significantly.

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The challenges to library services from changes in educational approaches, the impact of technology, new methods for information provision and declining budgets have meant that marketing is now so essential activity that directs the flow of services to the user. It is important to make clear what marketing means in a library environment. Marketing is not so much about “selling” information products to researchers; it is more about promoting the use of new potentially useful tools, any library using marketing techniques for their promotion focuses on its products and service distribution methods for reference, promotion methods, user education methods, regular user survey, the price paid, time and energy.

Some of the promotional library strategies including advertising, publicity, displays and participation in events are used to attract their potential clients, the distribution strategies that increasingly use the internet and virtual is a remarkable approach for the users. In common, their purpose is to serve the end-users by providing the information they need. Hiring computer literate people helps libraries develop innovative marketing techniques. Marketing is an activity linked to satisfy client’s needs and offer library services, it is also about keeping users informed about library activities and involving them in collection development. A fully automated modern Library & Information Centre (LIC) is on its way with uncompromising information and intellectual requirements of the students, faculty, and researchers.



1. Marketing Concepts in Library Services

The Library is market its collections. “Marketing is satisfying needs and wants through exchange process”. The accessibility of new tools like use of online or a set of medical electronic journals are introduced to make the client aware of it and gets the maximum benefit who use them. Various studies also have been conducted to identify the marketing concepts in the field of libraries. Ojiambo (1994) state that the marketing concept can be seen as a philosophy of action for managers, forcing them to change the administration of the organization needs, to offer them a good product/service, and look for feedback.

Marketing is a field of different studies identifies the marketing concepts. Kotler (1972)’s definition of marketing concept states that the societal marketing concept is customer-oriented backed by integrated marketing aim at providing customer satisfaction and long-term consumer welfare as the key to organizational goals.

Many libraries appreciate the contribution that marketing concepts can make, any library can focus on its products (including services) by developing new marketing techniques. Dragon A.C defined the concept of marketing and outlined its major aspects as follows. “Marketing is a systematic approach to planning and achieving desired exchange relations with other groups. Marketing is concerned with developing, maintaining, and/or regulating exchange relations involving products, services, organizations, persons, places or causes.”

Adeyoyin (2005) derived that concept of marketing revolves on three pillars namely, marketing:

(1) Is consumer-centered;

(2) Is profit-centered; and

(3) Is anticipating of changes through time and space

Marketing library refers to the instrument through which information (both raw and processed) are spreading to its members who needs it.

Kotler (1972) has rightly defined: “Marketing is the analysis, planning, implementation and control of carefully formulated programs designed to bring about voluntary exchanges of values with target markets for the purpose of achieving organizational objectives.”

2. Marketing Mix

Borden (1965) did not formally define the marketing mix. He simply explains as important elements or ingredients that makeup a marketing program. McCarthy (1964) defined the marketing mix as a combination of all of the factors at marketing manager’s command to satisfy the target market.

In designing the marketing mix and developing the marketing plan, the so-called 4Ps have become central to libraries – Product, Price, Place, and Promotion.

Product: The item or service being marketed, through its features, quality, benefits and quantities.

Price: This includes the price of the item and product assortments and lines, price changes and payment methods.

Place: The location where the product or service is available to the customer, including distribution channels

Promotion: Market communication is achieved by personal selling, advertising; direct 3 marketing, public relations, sales promotion and sponsorship.

Advertising is the most intended support in marketing mix, advertising facilitates widespread distribution. It permits communication to large number of potential of public at the same time Low and Tan (1995) suggest that marketing mix concept has two important benefits. First, it is an important tool used to enable one to see that the marketing manager’s job in a large part, a matter of trading off the benefits of one’s competitive strength in the marketing mix against the benefits of others. The second benefit of the marketing mix is that it helps to reveal another dimension of the marketing manager’s job.

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3. Market Research and Customers’ Analysis

Marketing is concerned with organizing a company’s strengths, experience and resources to achieve satisfaction for its clients with an acceptable level of profits. Marketing is therefore concerned with aligning an organization’s business objectives with those of the client’s. According to Low and Tan (1995), the users of university libraries are becoming increasingly demanding these days. Now they expect a wide choice, speedy delivery, easy access and a range of services such as ‘access to an Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC)’, electronic information systems that includes both bibliographic and full text services and microfilming facilities as well as more comprehensive and sophisticated information services provided by subject specialists, such as current awareness, in-depth enquiry and research services, and information skills programmers.

Zachert and Williamss considered that “marketing is planning that focuses on products, place or mode of delivery, adjustment of cost/price to the market, and promotion specifically targeted segments of the special librarian’s market.” The library has many products and services. Each library needs to identify what they want to market and how. Marketing is not just about providing and promoting new services and products but also about bringing awareness to clients of existing services and products.

Loan schemes are provided by the government for students to pay their fees particularly in those programs like law and medicine; these courses are too lengthy and expensive. Students want information content for assignments, research or knowledge acquisition. They want assistance with assignments and research support.

Effective marketing can only occur when librarians understand, at least in a broad sense, what the scientists, professors, and graduate students are already doing to keep informed, and what their research projects are about.

4. Development of Products and Services

In today’s economic world, with rising costs and profits dwindling, it has become especially challenging for many organizations to turn a profit. Competition in the marketplace is increasing the demand for information, while the budgets for information centers are decreasing. The library and information sectors have to raise voice for their budget, and some struggle to prove their very existence. That’s what makes the MLS: Marketing Library Services newsletter so valuable. MLS provide information professionals in all types of libraries with specific ideas for marketing their services. You’ll find plenty of suggestions for planning programs, making money, increasing business, and proving your value to your administrator. The best technique to communicate with the clients is through media, Print and online, a good website is an effective marketing tool in itself.

The Computers in Libraries leads the industry in providing thousands of librarians and other information professionals with important information about library suppliers. The annual Buyer’s Guide serves as a source for library systems hardware and software, online databases, books and periodicals, day-to-day supplies, and many other products and services for the library community. The online availability makes it more convenient for readers to refer to! It features alphabetical listings of producers and distributors, a products and services section for locating appropriate suppliers, and complete contact information for every vendor listed.

In a monthly magazine Computers in Libraries provides complete coverage of the news and issues in the field of library information technology. The practical application of technology in community, school, academic, and special libraries, CIL include discussions of the impact of emerging computer technologies on library systems and services, and on the library community itself. Computer literate librarians can be very effective in applying their skills to the marketing process in libraries. The use of internet and electronic resources is very common; the web becomes an essential medium for marketing and promoting services and resources.

5. Marketing Library strategies that work

For the promotion of new products or services, planning must involve marketing research and promotional strategy and the distribution of responsibility to library staff so that the plan is carried through.

There has always been a challenge for libraries in communicating about their products and services. At all levels library staff is involved in dealing with clients. Simple strategies like name badges and uniforms is used to identify service staff. Recruitment of staff that is highly service-oriented is paramount. Hiring computer literate bright, cheerful, intelligent, friendly professionals providing quality services to help libraries develop innovative marketing techniques and ensure that all staff is able to promote the library and communicate effectively with their clients, appropriate induction programs, including customer service techniques should be organized. Ongoing training can be given to the library staff for updates to provide new techniques.

The liaison librarian provides an ongoing link from the library to the faculty, school or research centre promoting new services and information resources, providing staff and students with information assistance and integrating information skills session into the curriculum would help.

Commercial techniques like branding have been adopted by many libraries for their promotional strategies. The term “branding” is often used in marketing libraries, branding help the customer in identifying the same information while visiting the other branch library. Certain colors can be used to theme areas that are identical in each library like loans or circulation areas, inquiry desks and photocopying and printing areas.

Branding is successful in multi-library universities as many students visit more than one library to collect information and complete their academic studies. Several new and old marketing techniques are adapted to reach all users e.g. Print and online, broadcast emails, direct emails and personal letters. It is important to adopt techniques and communication strategies that appeal to all students. For example, at Curtin University Library (http://library.curtin.edu.au/) students can SMS the library at any time with any query or to respond to requested feedback.

6. Recommendation

The use of online is a proactive communication strategy and it encourages the public uses worldwide at all levels. The recommendations suggested that the internet as a channel for distribution of information could help make a small contribution to save environment.

When you work digitally it conserves paper and saves trees, it also allows you to take information you require and delete the rest. In addition to these, it has become more cost effective and provides required information quickly at a much more high speed.

This new marketing techniques provide up to date information on variety of subjects unavailable from other sources. The context on textbook and teacher knowledge is enhanced by this new medium.


For a library service to be successful there must be buy-in from the clients that the tools or databases are worthwhile. They must understand what information is required by the client, and as much as possible deliver library services that are meaningful and productive to them.

We know that the users do not mind paying for the services if they are useful and provided at reasonable cost. Therefore, the marketing policy of the university libraries needs ‘careful planning, structuring, execution and evaluation with regular review’. The success of any library is dependent upon numerous factors, among these are getting users to use the library and making them aware of the library’s services.

Hiring computer literate people helps libraries develop innovative marketing techniques. Branding libraries will gives the same look from one library to another making it convenient for the users to use the new library that they have visited. Appropriate library marketing Strategies or efforts will ensure that the distribution and delivery of services and their successful promotion will satisfy the customers and provide up to date information obtained by various market research techniques including surveys, focus groups and analysis of suggestions, libraries are able to provide their best services to the customers in an enhanced way. The success of the Library is dependent upon satisfying the clients’ information needs and marketing the services that fulfill these needs.


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