The Innovative Academic Library: Implementing a Marketing Orientation to Better Address User Needs and Improve Communication

Arne J. Almquist


While academic librarians have long engaged in marketing, it has typically been in the limited sense of promotion and advertising. Application of the marketing concept, with the realization of a marketing orientation as a long term goal, redirects the library to actively seek out user needs and then to design and provide services and resources that will meet those needs. When fully realized, marketing is a bidirectional process in which user needs are determined, services developed, and feedback obtained to assess how effectively the library has addressed the needs. This eliminates the necessity to ?sell services, allowing the library to spend the majority of its efforts on further innovation. The article provides an explanation of the marketing concept and orientation contrasted with the much more common production orientation. The concepts are illustrated through models and a description of the marketing effort as it has developed in the W. Frank Steely Library at Northern Kentucky University.


advertising; liaison programs; marketing orientation; market segmentation; production orientation; promotion

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ISSN: 1947-525X