There is a strong temptation among libraries to be all things to all people. As the inscription over the front door of the Columbus Metropolitan Library proclaims, libraries have been “Open to All” for a very long time and are proud of that tradition. But marketing the library to “all” in the digital age may not be the most effective approach. Commercial marketers are now coming around to the notion that the most effective “mass” marketing campaigns are actually more like personal conversations between one person and one brand. Librarians have always been very good at personalizing the information they deliver to an individual; perhaps they should also use that same personal approach in their marketing.
- Demographics are dead: the new, technical face of marketing (O’Reilly Radar/Renee DiResta) “The era of demographics is over. Advances in data mining have enabled marketers to develop highly specific profiles of customers at the individual level, using data drawn from actual personal behavior and consumption patterns. Now when a brand tells a story, it has the ability to tailor the narrative in such a way that each potential customer finds it relevant, personally. Users have become accustomed to this kind of sophisticated targeting; broad-spectrum advertising on the Internet is now essentially spam.”
- To market successfully, your customer can’t be ‘everyone’ (Business News Daily/Janet Kyle Altman) “No matter what product you sell or service you deliver, more targeted marketing gives you a better return. Targeting a specific audience gets you in front of them more often, with messages that touch them emotionally. If you try to be everything to everyone, your message becomes vague and less impactful.”
- The coming era of ‘on-demand’ marketing (McKinsey Quarterly/Peter Dahlström and David Edelman) “In the future, demands for more personalized experiences will intensify. A phone tap, a click, or a stylus jot will instantly personalize offers, using information captured on ‘likes,’ recent travel, income, what friends are doing or like, and much more. With each interaction, the consumer will be creating new data footprints and streams that complement existing digital portraits, sharpening their potential impact.”
- How “location” evolved into “audiences” for mobile ad targeting (Marketing Land/Greg Sterling) “Agencies, enterprises and brands can now reach prospects at scale, using location as a background ‘methodology,’ without thinking at all about geo-targeting or lat-longs. The brand specifies the audience it seeks (e.g., ‘auto intenders,’ tech-savvy moms, Wal-Mart shoppers), and the network identifies those segments through its location-based audience profiling. When someone visits a designated audience-location an appropriate ad is served.”
A recent CMO Survey found that 40% of companies use customer data collected online to target their marketing, and over 88% of chief marketing officers expect this practice to grow. But a recent Pew Internet & American Life Project study found that 86% of Internet users try to hide their online data. Lesson for libraries: make sure your marketing respects people’s privacy.