This section addresses issues such as:
- identifying the different categories of existing or potential users likely to find value in your eResource
- understanding the likely needs and patterns of use for categories of user
- understanding how trends in society, technology, the industry and your organisation can impact the promotion and use of eResources
Having determined your broad marketing strategy you will need to identify the categories of users to target and develop a clear idea of their information needs. In effect you ‘segment’ the potential market. One size rarely fits all when it comes to promotion.
Determine User Categories
Discuss, describe and compile a list of the major categories of users (the “market segments”) that would be expected to find value in the eResources. Each library sector will approach this from different perspectives. Public libraries may focus on demographic (secondary students, parents, seniors etc.) or geographic (in-library vs. remote, town vs. rural etc.) factors.
Develop User Profiles
Develop user profiles for each of your customer segments / groups. These can be a short outline of key characters and information needs or written up as a ‘persona’. Your first (and most critical) user group may well be library staff if they are weak users. They are the prime interpreters of the resources to your users and should be promoting and using them confidently on the user’s behalf.
Identify Potential Benefits
Determine the prime eResources content and the potential benefits of access for each group. List how such benefits might compare with other potential sources of information (if available). Ask how the eResources will help them achieve what they need for their role or interests.
These listed benefits are your “value propositions” for each customer segment. They will provide the base for development of effective promotional messages and deciding where best to deploy them.
User Group Profiles
The key to developing profiles is to focus on the real, functional benefits of access to the eResources content (e.g. how critical they are to the profiled group, where they fit compared to other information sources, how often the user might depend on them). You may need to provide examples of content to users to get a clearer understanding. Don’t just assume or exaggerate the value as this may create a distorted message.
Example: Public Library User “Persona”
Use: ‘Jack’ is a retired engineer who keeps an active interest in his former field of work as well as personal interests in wind power, travel and periodic heath issues that arise in his family. He is a frequent user of the library and is aware that the eResources hold a range of material not available elsewhere. He is however a reluctant, last resort user as he prefers to use magazines or book resources where they meet his need.
Issues: While Jack understands professional and academic literature he finds it challenging to grasp the structures online. He has difficulty determining which eResource he should be using for many topics. While good at choosing search terms and evaluating results, he does not have strong digital skills and is frequently frustrated attempting to access and navigate the eResources. He doesn’t like to use them from home, preferring to come to the library where staff assistance is available. Jack also needs guidance in basic search strategies.
Identifying market trends
There are many techniques for conducting market research. It includes your clients, users or staff, and may include:
- Important developments and trends in the industry. How are people obtaining information? On what devices? Are the eResources that you have subscribed to accessible or compatible on smart phone browsers? How will the library’s or council’s new website CMS (Content Management System) affect your promotion and client access to eResources?
- Developments and trends in society which can have a real impact on the use of eResources. For instance we have an aging population, as well as a second “baby boom” with more than 300,000 babies born in 2012. How do these factors impact on the marketing and promotion of your eResource collection? And what of the advancements in technology and access to online content?
- Developments in education and high school curriculum. What’s in focus for the HSC next year?
- Demographics and areas of wealth and poverty, remoteness versus developed suburbs - such factors can dictate how and what you promote, including the use of social networking media.
Strength; Weakness; Opportunities; Threats - this is the SWOT Analysis, or sometimes called a situation analysis. This is a great way to examine the factors of an eResource service, and will assist you in creating actions for your marketing plan.
For tips on conducting a SWOT analysis see the Queensland Government Business and Industry Portal: