Strategic marketing in academic libraries:an examination of current practice

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Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Economics and Social Studies

Original languageEnglish
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Award date2011
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Abstract

Purpose -
The purpose of the research is to investigate strategic marketing in academic libraries, incorporating elements of organisational orientation, strategic planning, and processes and procedures to support these.

Aims and objectives -
The aim of the research is to build on existing literature, extending the knowledge of current practice in a relatively unexplored area within UK academic libraries. The objectives of the research are to identify key considerations for strategic marketing in academic libraries; to critically evaluate current theory on the subject; to explore current practice; and to formulate recommendations of best practice.

Methods -
A mixed methods approach was chosen, using survey and case study strategies. An online questionnaire was used identify trends in current practice, whilst telephone interviews enabled more detailed exploration. A geographical sample, university libraries in the West Midlands, was chosen due to convenience. All nine libraries were invited to participate; one chose to opt out whilst one did not respond. This resulted in seven libraries participating in the questionnaire, with five of those also participating in an interview.

Results -
The key considerations for strategic marketing in academic libraries emerging from the literature included market orientation, marketing planning and customer relationship management. Results showed that though market orientation is seen as a useful approach for libraries, the topic is relatively unfamiliar to librarians. Responsibility for marketing planning varied across the libraries interviewed, though all but one utilise groups to bring experience from different areas of the library. All participating libraries have some form of
marketing plan and engage in customer relationship management activities, however formal procedures and embedding into service planning was not evident.

Conclusions -
Strategic marketing in academic libraries is of clear relevance to today’s economic situation, and the research highlights the need for raising awareness of such issues and considering implications and barriers to practice