Services Marketing Mix in Library and Information Centres

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I C A L 2 0 0 9 – A D V O C A C Y A N D M A R K E T I N G
Services Marketing Mix in Library and Information Centres
Anil Kumar Dhiman
Information Scientist
Gurukul Kangri University
Haridwar (Uttarakhand), India
[email protected]
Hemant Sharma
Reader & Head
SOS in Library & Information Science
Jiwaji University, Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh), India
[email protected]
depends among other thing on its image in the minds
Services marketing mix is the planned package of
of the users and the fund allocators. This image as
elements that makes up the product or service offered to
narrated by Narayana (1991) should be “the outcome
the market. It can also support library and information
of the quality and effectiveness of the services, the
services to reach target markets and specified objectives.
ability to anticipate the desires and requirements of
This paper discusses services marketing mix concept
actual and potential users and their fulfillment.
and its application in library and information centres
Marketing is the instrument through which these
library objectives can be fulfilled.” Besides, there is
Keywords: Marketing Mix, Library and Information
also an increasing competition for libraries as the
Centres, 4 Ps Model, 7 Ps Model.
commercial sector began to recognize the profit
potential of the information super highway.
Snoj and Petermanec (2001) opined that librarians
The philosophy of librarianship encompasses the
need to comprehend marketing orientation as well as
fundamental principles on which the practices,
have know-how of marketing as a process. Possession
techniques, and activities of libraries and information
of marketing skills will contribute to better
centres are based. These principles serve as
performances, more aggressive marketing and
guidelines for successful librarianship and as a means
professional library and information service. In order
for resolving problems. Marketing is a set of activities
to remain viable in the environment of competition from
by which the demand for goods, ideas, and services
other information sources such as Internet and web-
is managed to facilitate exchange (Kotler, 2000). It is
based commercial services, libraries must market their
a planned strategic approach of bringing together
services to make strong connection with community,
consumers and the products. The integration of
anticipate trends and use new technology in ways to
marketing into library services is helpful because it
make services as timely and convenient as possible
reinforces and reiterates the basic values and beliefs
for their patrons (Lankes et al., 2006). Therefore, in
of the profession in the changing environment.
order to survive and surpass other competitors,
The most widely believed notion about library service
libraries must have to follow modern marketing
is that its primary aim is to provide the right information
to the right user at the right time, but today’s libraries
are becoming obsolescent owing to poor approach of
Services Marketing Mix
modern marketing strategies. New business
Marketing mix is the key concept in the marketing
information enterprises have emerged to challenge and
task. It is the strategy used to perform marketing
compete with libraries. Besides, information and
functions. Marketing mix according to De Aze (1985)
communication technology has also changed the way
is the planned package of elements which will support
of library management (Dhiman and Rani, 2004, 2005).
the organization in reaching its target markets and
It is rightly stated that “While libraries have been
specific objectives. Marketing mix helps to position
closing or struggling to stay afloat enterprising
the library or information service very firmly in the
companies have begun to discover the commercial
perceptions of their communities served – the wider
potential of what we do, and are competing with us to
community for the public library, academic community
sell much of the information the public has declined
for the academic library or the clients and customers
to pay for through taxes.” So, the survival of a library
for the business or specialist information service.

Marketing mix needs more properly to be termed
mix or the four P’s: Product, Price, Place, and
marketing mixes, to encourage librarians and
Promotion. As each library product or potential product
information managers to perceive the value of different
is analyzed and developed for its target customer, it
marketing mixes for specific market segments or
must be viewed with the four P’s in mind. McCarthy’s
groups of users. These are inter-related, inter-
(1978) classic model of the four Ps – how the product
dependent, and also a combination of many factors.
or service is best presented, in attributes, price,
availability and promotion, to the desired market
Four Ps
segment – is a development of a theory put forward
initially by Neil Borden (1965). Borden’s mix is now
All marketing decision-making can be classified into
more precisely found in market research and market
four strategy elements, referred to as the marketing
Figure 1: 4 Ps Model of Marketing Mix
A product is anything that can be offered to a market
It represents the distribution channels that an
to satisfy a need or want. The products, which can be
organization utilizes to convey its own physical
marketed, include physical goods, services, persons,
products or services to the end users. The distribution
places, organizations, and ideas. In the deeper sense,
of the library’s products refers to ‘When’ ‘Where’ and
the product is not a physical item but a perception of
‘How’ service is made available for the user. ‘When’
the consumer or the user. Product means the
implies the time period in which information is
satisfaction of the customer rather than a physical
provided. ‘Where’ indicates the location of the services
good. Goods are ingredients of customer satisfaction.
and ‘How’ constitutes the type of distribution.
Marketing mix is the process or device that makes
this customer satisfaction.
It is a flexible and dominant element, which determines
All of the services offered by the library – lending
the revenue/profitability/market share for the
services, inter library loan, on-line searching, house-
organization. From the customer’s viewpoint price is
bound readers’ services, picture loans etc. are library’s
a determinant factor because most customers
products that can be marketed successfully. Library
depending on their income level consider the price
can provide bibliographic information, abstracts and
before they purchase the product. The concept of price
summaries of information, which disseminate the core
constitutes two different types – the monetary price,
level information. Books, databases, journals,
and the social price. Monetary price implies the
bulletins, etc. represent the tangible information.
payment of certain sum by the customer, and the
Library can also augment information through quality,
social price refers to the additional effort that the
reliable, speedy and timely professional services.
customer must make in order to obtain access to a
Under the product mix, library’s resource collection
product. Price for the product is set when the
represents as a product line while product items
organization introduces or acquires a new product.
include books, periodicals, videos, films, audio
Price can be revised to match the change of the
recordings etc. For further fact, services of the library
can be considered as a product line and the circulation
Librarians should consider the ‘monetary price’
of library materials, ILL, reference services, and on-
concept as well as the ‘social price’ concept when
line searching represent as product items.

I C A L 2 0 0 9 – A D V O C A C Y A N D M A R K E T I N G
the price is decided for library products. In calculation
service. Customers look for clues to the likely quality
of monetary price, factors such as size of the demand,
of a service also by inspecting the tangible evidence.
cost for the product, and the impact of the competition
For example, prospective customers may look to the
must be taken into account. Real value of the product
design of learning materials, the appearance of
can be ascertained by the practice of cost analysis.
facilities, staff, etc.
Costing is important even when a service is provided
free of charge. Social price is related to determine
Process Process means procedures, mechanism
and flow of activities by which a service is acquired.
the needs, wants, and interests of target markets and
Process decisions radically affect how a service is
to deliver the desired satisfaction more effectively and
delivered to customers. The service in continuing
education includes several processes, e.g. first
contact with customers, administrative procedure
This involves the communication that marketer
regarding course delivery, preparation, delivery and
engages in with the customers in order to acknowledge
evaluation of the courses. In library and information
the product. The basic aim of library promotion is to
centres, new technology can be employed to provide
select a technique that can encourage the recipient
better services at lower costs and high quality staff is
to respond either by buying or requesting further
to be recruited. The staff should be treated well and
information, or by filling the promotional material away
be communicated clearly because their attitudes and
for the use in the future.
behaviour are the keys to service quality and
While these four factors are important individually, their
real significance lies in the mix, the unique way they
are combined into a careful plan or strategy.
Applying Marketing Mixes in Library and
Information Centres

The services marketing mix is an extension of the 4-
The markets for libraries and information services are
Ps framework. The essential elements of product,
profoundly affected by the elements of the marketing
place, price and promotion remain same but three
mix that are handled for the organization as a whole.
additional variables – people, physical evidence and
To use an analogy, the soft drink manufacturer offers
process – are included to 7–Ps mix. The need for the
a range of products and services, just as the library
extension is due to the high degree of direct contact
or information service does. The markets will be
between the continuing education providers and the
diverse and often complex for each product or service,
customers, the highly visible nature of the service
but the response to those products and services will
process, and the simultaneity of the production and
be affected according to different market segments’
consumption. While it is possible to discuss people,
perception of the overall organization. When a new
physical evidence and process within the original-Ps
soft drink is launched, diet style or vitamin enriched,
framework (for example people can be considered part
in new bottles, via supermarkets or expensive fitness
of the product offering) the extension allows a more
clubs, it is brought to the market in the light, or shade,
thorough analysis of the marketing ingredients
of its parent company’s image and reputation. The
necessary for successful services marketing.
library or information service must also be seen as a
quality organization offering a range of appropriate and
Librarians and information professionals also need to
effective products and services. Renault, Ford and
know that extra ‘P’s have been added to marketing
Toyota work as hard on their corporate image –
mix considerations for service marketing. Extra P’s
networks of dealerships, staff training, promotion work,
are :
after-sales service and the like – as they do on the
People People are the staff who occupy the key
technical and aesthetic qualities of their individual car
position in influencing customer’s perceptions of
models. How many, even of our specialist information
product quality because of the simultaneity of
services, contact users to discuss whether they have
production and consumption in services the continuing
problems that need addressing or merely to check
education. In fact the service quality is inseparable
that they are satisfied with current levels of service?
from the quality of service provider. An important
Marketing an entirely new product is much easier than
marketing task is to set standards to improve quality
attempting to change a target market’s indifference
of services provided by employees and monitor their
to an existing service or to erase a poor image and
performance. Without training and control employees
replace it with a more attractive, exciting service. Take
tend to be variable in their performance leading to
the public library and its education services for instance
variable service quality. Training is crucial so that
how education services are used will depend on
employees understand the appropriate forms of
how the library is perceived by different market
behaviour and trainees adopt the best practices of
segments. Is it a quality organization, high-
the analogy.
technology, budget-conscious, high performance – or
Physical evidence It is the environment in which
old-fashioned? The public library is expected to offer
the service is delivered and any tangible goods that
education materials and services to a massive range
facilitate the performance and communication of the
of market segments – the under-fives, via their parents;

school children; college and university students, rising
Prepare quarterly or annual reports on the library’s
numbers of mature students; part-time and evening-
progress and future plans for management. Include
class students who are learning for pleasure; distance-
evidence of where the library has had direct impact
learning students to whom the library building
on the corporation’s effectiveness; for example,
becomes their proxy educational institution; the
the money saved or productivity improved may
unemployed who wish to retrain; women returning to
be included in the company’s annual report.
work; the third age, living longer and making new
demands on community services in enhancing their
Know your management’s goals and information
quality of life; local businesses operating in-house
needs. Supply executives with tailored information,
training courses. A marketing mix for each group
such as a clipping service about competition,
served will have to be designed, but each of the target
market conditions, or a consultant’s analysis of
groups will already have a perception of the public
your firm’s products.
library or the local authority. The marketing mix must
Academic Libraries
take this into account and all the target markets need
Academic libraries can enhance their image as the
investigation with this in mind.
intellectual centre for the university’s faculty and
What proportion of potential users is being attracted?
students by applying marketing concepts.
How satisfied are they with services? Who are the
Write stories for the university newsletter on topics
non-users and what are their reasons for non- use?
such as new information technologies available
What changes might be made to provide more effective
at the library.
services? And how might products be augmented?
Appropriate levels of materials; changes to loan
Organize seminars to promote underused
periods; more comfortable study areas; staff attuned
reference materials, underutilized reference skills,
to a different way of treating requests for help; and a
and new information technologies, such as online
system to allow staff to offer a greater quality service
in terms of time and depth – all these would be
Participate in freshman orientation; organize visit
possibilities in the marketing mix.
to the library and give a refresher course on
The promotional activities may vary depending on the
research methodology.
type of library (public, academic, or corporate) and
Work with department chairmen in collection
on its respective marketing objectives and goals.
management and publicize holdings within these
Information technology has also affected the way of
promoting and providing services to its readers
(Dhiman, 2003, 2006 & 2008a). Some initiatives may
Include the library in the university’s promotional
as be as under (
Reach out to disciplines where online research
Special Libraries
can benefit teachers and the students.
The mission of many corporate libraries is to sell the
library’s function within the company. The marketing
Public Libraries
thrust generally is to develop targeted information
The large group of population is the ultimate target of
products and services and create an indispensable
public libraries. For this a public library may:
service department. Some ideas to consider are:
Sponsor a Little League team in your community;
Write a brochure describing the library and its
host breakfasts for community business leaders
services; distribute it throughout the corporation,
and donate books to charities or local hospitals.
targeting heavy information users in marketing,
Target a group of citizens – for example, parents
sales, after sales support, and research groups.
and children, senior citizens, local businesses-
Send a memorandum introducing the library to
and develop a newsletter aimed at their information
all new employees to participate in all new
employee orientation programmes.
Prepare an annual report in which you present
Announce all new library services, acquisition and
your image to the community in terms of the
staff expertise.
benefit return on investment in the library. Try a
new format such as a videotape.
Make presentations to such information hungry
groups as marketing, sales and strategic planning.
Write articles or editorials for local press about
Highlight the new technologies and information
the value of the library’s products and services,
available that relates to their corporate function.
stressing the totality of the institution.
Write articles for the corporate newsletter and
Use CD-ROM or DVDs technology as a magnet
other internal publications that are distributed to
to pull patrons to the reference service with a
key departments or groups.
media campaign.

I C A L 2 0 0 9 – A D V O C A C Y A N D M A R K E T I N G
The marketing mixes aim at communicating effectively
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