Marketing of Information Products and Services for Libraries in India

Article excerpt

Introduction

A society that consumes and generates the most knowledge and information is the strongest society. The information industry has grown dramatically in services, revenue, and coherence over the last decade. Though the marketing of information services is a concept of comparatively recent origin, it has now emerged as an important area for libraries and information centers. Marketing covers those activities that connect the organization to those parts of its outside world that use, buy, sell or influence the outputs it produces and the benefits and services it offers (O'Shaughnessy). As Kotler points out, organizations such as museums, universities, libraries, and charities need to market their causes and their products to gain political and social support as well as economic support. One of the major barriers to operating a profitable information business is the lack of business expertise among librarians and information scientists. Marketing is a comprehensive term that describes all the processes and interactions that result in satisfaction for users and revenue for the information firm.

Libraries and information centers have begun to realize that marketing of information products and services is an integral part of administration, especially as a means for improving user satisfaction and promoting the use of services by current and potential users. Three main factors, namely the information explosion, the technology revolution, and escalating library costs are responsible for encouraging the library profession to develop a marketing approach in its operations and services. Some information service managers feel that marketing is inimical to the nature of their activities. But with increased competition in the world of information, marketing is a factor for survival. At the same time, there is a common misconception that promotional activities alone constitute marketing.

Information Management (IM)

IM is managing the processes of selection, collection building, processing, controlling, and dissemination of information in an organization. IM can help an organization recognize and use the potentials of the resources of information and information technology. (Brenner) Librarians have a significant role to play in IM. Considering the IM cycle, one can find that librarians have a role to play in almost every step in the information-user matching process.

IM Cycle

1. Information Marketing

Basic Concepts and Definition:

Marketing is planning and managing the organization's exchange relations with its clientele. It consists of studying the target market's needs, designing appropriate products and services, and using effective pricing, communication, and distribution to inform, motivate, and serve the market. The American Marketing Association defines marketing as those activities which direct the flow of goods and services, from production to consumption.

The following are vital concepts that will be discussed one by one:

* Marketing Activities

* Principles of Marketing Management

* Marketing Techniques

* Marketing Strategy

* Creating a Market

Marketing Activities

Market profiling is an important marketing activity, which is done to obtain marketing information. It is necessary to identify the market scope to formulate appropriate policies. Market profiling should consider:

* User affordability

* Extent of use

* Relevance of the service to users

* Repeat customers

* User preferences

* Staffing

Product planning is the marketing activity concerned with developing a product that satisfies customers. Management must decide:

* Who should be the user groups?

* To whom the information services/products should be targeted?

* What should be the services/products that can be produced and marketed to the different target groups? …