Monday, November 11, 2013

If You Build It, Will They Come? Creating a Marketing Plan for Distance Learning Library Services

SUMMARY. As distance education programs continue to grow, so do the services offered by libraries to the communities created by such programs. However, for these programs to be successful, the people that they are intended to serve need to be aware of the support and services available to them. Without such awareness, the services will go unused. Through a survey, the librarians at Emporia State University learned that making distant students aware of services was essential to the success of distance learning library services. Librarians discovered that creating a marketing plan to guide the marketing process was essential. This tool serves as a road map to visually illustrate the path from the conception of ideas to the realization of the marketing goals and objectives. This paperexamines the process of writing a marketing plan and intends to illustratehow it can assist the library in marketing its services to a distant population.


[Conclusion]: In the past, libraries have not taken a very proactive stance with regards to marketing themselves and their services. In our current technological age, when inventions such as the World Wide Web compete with the library as providers of information, the library needs to take a more active role in making people aware of what they have to offer to customers. This is especially true of the distance learning communities that are increasing in numbers at most colleges and universities. The remote population is especially hard to reach because they are not physically present in the library. To contact this population, the library should develop “brand identity” or a look and feel that is accessible online. In order to conduct a successful marketing campaign, the marketing plan is an essential piece. It allows library personnel to look at the “big picture”and assists in the visualization of what the library would like to accomplish. Creating a plan can help stimulate thinking and make better use oflimited resources. It assists with organizing the campaign and the assignment of tasks, responsibilities and deadlines. Finally, it serves as a road map leading the library from the inception of the plan to the accomplishment of the goals and objectives (Cohen, 2001).

Cite:  “If You Build It, Will They Come? Creating a Marketing Plan for Distance Learning Library Services.” Summey, Terri Pedersen. Co-published simultaneously in Journal of Library Administration (The Haworth Information Press, an imprint of The Haworth Press, Inc.) Vol. 41, No. 3/4, 2004, pp. 459-470; and: The Eleventh Off-Campus Library Services Conference Proceedings (ed: Patrick B. Mahoney) The Haworth Information Press, an imprint of The Haworth Press, Inc., 2004, pp. 459-470.

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