Marketing to the Irrational People Who Don't Use Your Library
It doesn’t make any sense to avoid using a library. You know that and I know that. Every library offers resources that are already paid for that can make a person’s life better, their decisions wiser, and their free time more enjoyably spent. So, why then aren’t libraries used by every rational person? Seth Godin, a marketing consultant and author, thinks it’s because customers are irrational. You can tell them all about how your library will save them money and time and you can go into great detail about the benefits you offer – but customers on the whole don’t care about that. What they care about is what their friends and family think, or the hassle of going out of their way to get a library card, or the embarrassment of not knowing how to find a book. Relatively little things. Relatively irrational things when compared to all the tangible benefits libraries offer, but things that deter new library users nonetheless – which means that we might need to be more irrational when reaching out to new patrons or students or clients. We might need to change the focus from what our library offers, to what our potential customers want.
So what’s the best way to tell potential customers that your library has an easy way to find books, or a hassle-free library card application process, or that their friends and family are already using the library? Well, when you’re pondering that question, it might be helpful to hear actual stories about different marketing tools from businesses that have used them. The feedback contained in Marketing Sherpa’s 2009 Marketing Wisdom report can help you identify outreach pitfalls to avoid and opportunities to engage. What are proven ways to reach customers by email? What 2.0 tools have garnered marketing success for businesses? How can search engine marketing, mobile marketing, and web design increase customer involvement? You’ll find insight into these topics and more with the Marketing Sherpa report.
Humans are not logic-machines. We’re often motivated by insecurity, or whimsy, or our peers rather than the cold, hard facts. Marketers use this to their advantage, and so, too, can libraries.