Monday, March 17, 2008

Information Is Our Product

Where's Your Value?

I just read an interesting post over @ Junta42. Pulizzi wrote about how marketers must deliver "consistently valuable information." He moves on to write that companies should market their content as they would one of their products--giving their content the necessary human & financial resources for success. Why? Because the consumer now controls what messages reach him or her and only those who offer relevant, value-added information to their potential and existing consumers' lives will win.

Now, libraries have been and are still regarded as repositories--places where books safely rest on hallowed shelves. However, library systems large and small across the U.S. have been providing access to a wide array of resources. Many of these resources are electronic and accessible anywhere a patron has internet access. These resources include a vast array of categories from genealogical databases to full-text research/news databases. Yet, it seems that we don't communicate to the public outside of the library that we are relevant and add value. In fact, besides the widely popular, but only in libraries, celebrity READ campaign, I have not seen any messages.

[Branded] Content, Not Containers

Andy Wibbels lists local search as one of the hot topics for 2008. Sure you can get a product from halfway around the world, but wouldn't it make more sense (especially ecologically) if you could get it from within your hometown? That makes findability extremely important in our wired world. AccessMyLibrary has helped bring local libraries out to where people are (Internet search engines), and a strategic outreach program can provide a strong networking base.

These are some good first steps. We need to continue pushing out to where potential patrons are, and we need to craft our message in such a way that the individual immediately receives and understands our value proposal. After all, information is our product.

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