Meeting needs of customers
There are several definitions of marketing and more than one way to describe the process.
"The process of planning and executing conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational objectives."
[Dictionary of Marketing Terms, 2nd edition, edited by Peter D. Bennett, published by the American Marketing Association, c1995. Also see Glossary of Marketing Definitions from IFLA.]
"A social and managerial process by which individual groups obtain what they need and want through creating, offering, and exchanging products of value with others."
[Kotler, Philip, 1997, Marketing Management, 9th edition, New Jersey, The United States, Prentice-Hall International, Inc.]
In libraries, the "exchange" part of the marketing process may consist of continued taxpayer support in exchange for valued library services.
"Marketing is the wide range of activities involved in making sure that you're continuing to meet the needs of your customers and getting value in return. Marketing is usually focused on one product or service. Thus, a marketing plan for one product might be very different than that for another product. Marketing activities include "inbound marketing," such as market research to find out, for example, what groups of potential customers exist, what their needs are, which of those needs you can meet, how you should meet them, etc. Inbound marketing also includes analyzing the competition, positioning your new product or service (finding your market niche), and pricing your products and services. "Outbound marketing" includes promoting a product through continued advertising, promotions, public relations and sales."
The key is "process."
Planning and research are a key part of the process. Effective marketing requires quality research in order to assess what the library has to offer, what the users want, and how to match the two. The process includes several steps before publicity and promotion begin.
What is the process?
Can you do too much?
Be careful what you wish for! What would happen if the library suddenly had twice as many users in the facility or visiting the web site? What if every program suddenly required limiting attendance? If you had more phone calls, and more visitors, and the lines for checkout extended out the door like the opening of a movie premier? Perhaps it's enough just to keep your regular users informed! Working through the process can help you determine when you've done enough.
Marketing is the process of planning, pricing, promoting, and distributing goods and services to create "exchanges" that satisfy the library and the customer. Marketing is ongoing and dynamic because customer needs and library products change. The marketing process determines the decisions and activities involved in continuing to meet the needs of customers.
Look in your favorite library and information science glossary, in marketing books in the library, or in online marketing glossaries for definitions of marketing.
New ways to market: Library 2.0 news, ideas, resources, blogs, podcasts
Tutorial, trends, glossary
Knowthis.com has complete marketing tutorials, trends, terms, with RSS feeds.
Communications Standard for Public Library Service in Ohio applies to marketing.
Market research course materials