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Marketing communications is to make communication about a product or service a purpose of which is to encourage recipients of the communication to purchase or use the product or service. In the LIS field, we have been talking of marketing of library products since long. However, its effective utilization has been made by very few libraries.

I had an opportunity to discuss about marketing plan for IGIDR’s information project ‘Open Index Initiative‘ with Ms Cheryl, Marketing Coordinator, IDS Knowledge Services. My discussions were aimed at how to market OII to the researchers, students, policy makers and faculty members. From the discussions, I found that the good marketing plan for any product should consist of the following:

  • Objectives in relation to marketing
  • Resources for marketing
  • Push and Pull techniques for marketing

In relation to objectives, she mentioned that, these can be set based on what the project or product aims to achieve during a given time frame. She also suggested to making use of SMART technique to set the objectives. The SMART objective is the one, which should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. This clearly highlights on setting the relevant objectives, which are measurable and achievable during the given time.

Resources for marketing basically revolve around staff time and budget. How much time in a week staff can spend for working on modalities of marketing a product. In case of information project or product the work involves identifying potential organizations, key personnel and libraries interested in using the product or disseminating information regarding the product or exchanging the data. This action needs to be followed by mailing the details of product in phases over e-mail and post along with PPT or brochure or poster.

Push and Pull strategy will help in the promotion of product to the targeted group using different advertisement techniques. In case of an information product it is best to push the product to the students, faculty and researchers by writing to the Deans, Course Coordinators, Directors and LIS professionals. The Pull strategy here would be directly contacting the end users over e-mail or post by collating their e-mail and postal addresses either from institute websites or from conference delegates list.

I feel applying a good marketing plan can give a desired success for an information product/project. It will be appropriate to have a good marketing plan in place before libraries develop a project or product. It is very much necessary in the present Internet world looking into the changing format of information and information seeking behaviour of library users.

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