Marketing of Library and Information Sources and Services

1. Introduction: Marketing is an exchange process where a user who has resources to a nonprofit information service obtains document or information, the cost of the service being met by the user or the community through taxes.

            Marketing means working with market to actualize potential exchanges for the purpose of satisfying human needs and wants.

            Marketing guru Philip Kotler defines marketing as the analyze, planning, implementation and control of carefully formulated program, designed to bring about voluntary exchanges of values with target, markets for the purpose of achieving organizational objectives. It relies having on designing organizations offering terms of target markets need and desired and on using effective pricing, communication and distribution to inform, motivate and service, the markets. Marketing brings an element of competition which will result in providing better services.

            According to Zachert and William (1986), “Marketing is planning that focuses on product, place of mode of delivery, adjustment of cost/price to the market and promotion to specifically targeted segment of the special librarian’s market.”

            According to Golhan (1979), marketing is the process of creating values through the creation of time place and from activities.

            According to Kother (1977), marketing takes the focus off the product and puts it on the user’s needs, products are developed from the user’s point of view not the producers.

            In case of libraries, it is important that marketing product should be adapting to the needs of markets and not foisting upon it a product though to be useful to it.

2. Why of Marketing: For the libraries and information centre, marketing of product and services are needed for the following reasons:

a) Maximum Use of Library Resources: Marketing provides an opportunity to use of library resources in a maximum way.

b) Justifiable Expansion Programme:  Due to the limited budget in all libraries irrespective of size and region, libraries are unable to provide effective library services to the community. Marketing is the only way to expand the programmes of libraries to satisfy users’ needs. Without any cost, because the cost involved in the service will be return too and the user also will be satisfied.

c) For Self Survival:  Libraries are facing increasing threat from the emerging information industry, necessitate the use of the marketing techniques in libraries to survive itself in this competitive world.

d) Generating Funds:  Library is not for profit organization but it is also cannot make loss. In the sense they must remain within the budget, but from marketing at least some funds can be generated by the libraries.

3. What is Marketing: Possible product and services for a library for marketing are:

a) Print Media: Books, Journals, Bibliographies, and Directories etc.

b) Electronic Information Product and Services: Diskette, Floppies etc.

c) Online Information Product and Services: Online journal, networking products etc.

d) Other Services: Xeroxing, translation services.

4. How of Marketing: The marketing can be achieved by following means

a) Market Research: A market research is essential to determine user needs, available services, operation and cost, longevity of demand etc.

b) Market Segmentation: Market segmentation is the segmentation of the clientele/ users on the basis of individual differences and group similarities. Segmentation can be by subject/ institution / values of user / age group (adult, young, children etc.), special interest group such as faculty, student, and research scholar. Market segmentation involves the identification of actual and potential and their needs assessment followed by analyzing market segments to determine what they need and how to deliver library services.

c) Products: In the development of the product, its periodicity, content aspect, coverage/ scope, pricing, and promoting, manpower requirement, technology utilization should be consider. The product should be on demand criteria.

d) Pricing: The pricing shouldn’t be beyond what a user can pay. Price generally depends on objectives of the product, nature of cost involved, level of demand of the product etc.

5. Promotion: Promotion involves mechanism by which the target groups are informed about the resources available, services and products offered by the library. So this purpose, word of mouth, mail, communication through brochure, pamphlets, portal, handbook, news paper, radio, exhibition, social networking sites, etc. should be and it should be a continuous process. Full scale aggressive and appealing advertisement is essential even for marketing of information services. Since each mechanism has its own advantage, it would be ideal if different approaches are adopted. Some of the promotional methods are

a) Propaganda: Propaganda through the newspaper, radio, television can be done in the public community so that the people may attract towards them.

b) Exhibition:  On the occasion of fair, festival, book fair and other programmes in the nearest area of the libraries, exhibitions of marketing services should be done by proper method.

c) Study Circle: Study circles among the users of the libraries can also be organized to marketing the information service.

d) Mobile Libraries: Mobile libraries are a great way to reach the unreached.

e) CAS/ SDI Services: The library services can also be marketed through CAS/SDI services.

6. Distribution: The following major channel for distribution of products can be used:

a) Inter Personnel Delivery: Products that are personally delivered.

b) Group Personnel Delivery: Product delivered at meeting, conference, seminar, demonstration etc.

c) Mass Media: Through newspaper, professional journals, magazines etc.

d) Broadcasting: Through radio, television etc.

e). Information Technology: Telephone, Computer, Email.

7. Evaluation: A continuous built in evaluation procedure should be followed to assess the capabilities and weakness of the product/service, distribution channel etc. The evaluation should be based on customer satisfaction of the services/ products etc.

8. Barriers of Marketing: The following can stand as a barrier of marketing

a) Structural:  Staff coming into the contact with users is not information professionals; hence there is no staff to think from the user point or side.

b) Systematic:  Library and information system don’t seem to allow the client or client point of view inside the system.

c) Attitudinal: Libraries remains happy with satisfying a limited user that too when asked for.

d) Environment:  The culture still believes in that information should be free.