14 April 2006


Jill Stover has another thought-provoking post on her blog, Library Marketing--Thinking Outside the Book. Here is some of it, but you should read it all.

"The more I thought about it, the more convinced I became of the idea that most competition is local, which is especially true for libraries. Just think, even the biggest, most well-known brands only have a competitive edge to the extent employees on the local level respond to and get to know their neighbors. A barrista who remembers my name and coffee drink from day to day is a more compelling reason for me to patronize Starbucks than the look and feel of Starbuck’s Web site, for example. If that barrista is consistently rude and messes up my order, I’ll go to the competitor down the street, no matter how much equity Starbuck’s brand wields.

"For libraries too, their success or failure seems to hinge on how the stack up to their competition locally. If students can only find social space or an item on reserve at your library, than you definitely have an edge. If you’re the only game in town for children’s programming on Saturday mornings, you may also have a distinct advantage. Likewise, if a coffee bar with free WiFi opens up across the street, you may be in for some trouble, depending on the needs of your patrons. It seems that the local scene is where the threats and opportunities lay, no matter what’s going on in the grander scheme of things.

"Of course, any good marketing plan considers broader social, technological and environmental changes, as those things do indeed shape behaviors on the local level. But when all is said and done, it comes down to what you can offer that the guy down the street can’t and finding a way to sustain that advantage."

This last paragraph ties in to my previous post on "Do You Have a Bibliographic Point of View?"



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