Managing through crises, especially economic ones, represents both peril and opportunity. Libraries of all types, whether academic, special or public, would benefit from an infusion of marketing activity in the current economic climate. Such marketing need not be resource‐intensive but must be relevant to specific user populations. In order to reap the greatest rewards while expending the least effort or resources, adopting a narrative or story‐based marketing message that develops and reinforces a consistent value proposition can improve patron experience by speaking in a language that resonates with them regarding services and resources that may be unclear or altogether unknown. This paper aims to discuss current trends in developing narrative or story‐based marketing that focuses on customer needs and applies it to library marketing specifically.
The paper discusses of current trends informed by current marketing scholarship and draws upon the author's prior experience in sales and marketing as a vendor for LexisNexis.
Adopting a narrative‐based marketing plan for libraries of all kinds, one that is based upon a specific user population's needs and expectations, can promote a notion of increased value as well as an overall sense of being indispensable and critical to those patrons. The ultimate goal is a demonstrable strengthening of support from user populations that will translate into avoidance of deeper or ongoing cuts during the current economic climate. Further benefits also include the ability to identify and target users and groups for fundraising opportunities while improving library personnel morale based upon the increased, generalized perception of the library's value within the broader organization or community.
Based upon years of sales and marketing experience, the author takes a practical and seasoned approach to creating a marketing plan that draws upon little to no resources but is compelling in its tailored and targeted approach that uses identifiable language to reinforce and describe specific user‐driven needs.
The paper provides recommendations for developing, creating and executing a narrative or story‐based marketing plan that speaks to users in the language and needs most critical to them while highlighting resources and services that may not be currently valued or even known.
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