Marketing to Libraries

On Friday Nov 20th SAGE London’s head of Journals Marketing, Bernie Folan, chaired a seminar on behalf of the ALPSP entitled “Marketing to Libraries” in London. Below is her summary of the event.

I’d been working on the seminar for some time, deciding which topics should be covered and which speakers were best placed to deliver an engaging set of presentations that would be really instructive. I managed to convince an excellent set of speakers (including our own Katie Sayers) to present and the day was well attended by staff from a mix of publishers and Societies concerned with ensuring the health of their journals publishing programme. Feedback from delegates was very good and they were left with lots to chew over, not least Melinda Kenneway’s suggestion to stop 50% of what you are doing now and really get to know your customers and what they want.

Within Journals Marketing at SAGE we are very much in this mindset and were able to present a strong account of how we have been and continue to be analytical to understand our key customers and become ever more aligned with the Sales team to ensure we can deliver results. Also how we are finding new ways to engage with customers wherever they are.

Presentations from the day are available on the ALPSP website, but I have also included a short summary of the sessions below:

Claire Duddy from HM Treasury represented the researcher’s view and focused on how researchers of today work now and likely will in the future. She spoke about expectation that content should be free, how mobile devices are increasingly important for information retrieval, and how she envisages a future where the role of the librarians and publisher converge to help users access highly relevant content fast.

Jane Harvell from University of Sussex offered a librarian’s view of what librarians want and what to expect of the library and librarian in 10 years time. Jane asserted that libraries need (or should need) flexible solutions/content for supporting teaching and to provide to academics who can then use it to create bespoke course material via mashups etc. Jane also talked about a future where articles may be accessed from new services like Deepdyve bypassing the library completely. She discussed ‘Students as customers’ – paying a lot of money to attend university and wanting their money’s worth. Librarians want flexibility with pricing models and transparency. Publishers need to demonstrate that they understand their library customers and not simply inundate them with marketing messages. Jane’s future vision was of merged libraries, negotiating on deals and not duplicating content. Also for content to be available in a format that works for end users. If everyone starts reading content on their iPhones they won’t be interested in purchasing content in PDF. Remote access will be a growing trend.

Melinda Kenneway from TBI Communications presented a strategic overview of the Marketing Department’s role. She covered lots of ground and spoke with huge conviction of the need for the marketing department to focus on market analysis and a segmented strategy to optimise the  sales operation. She spoke of tools available (like Ringgold and DataSalon) and alignment of marketing and sales efforts. Melinda asserted that while the Sales team are focused on immediate and short term prospects and closing deals, the marketing department must be looking to the middle and long-term, using different strategies for different markets or sectors & creating a long term contact plan.

Melinda expressed that she felt none of us are evolved and embracing the strategic role we need to yet but we can’t waste time in getting involved earlier and aligning with sales. Marketing has been “promotions” but should be analysis of customers and prospects and if you can’t measure it don’t do it – Most should stop doing 50% of what they are currently doing to provide space.

Colin Meddings from Oxford University Press and Katie Sayers from SAGE discussed shifting structures and techniques within our marketing depts and how publishers are shifting to best reach customers and support sales. OUP are investing in a lot more sales and marketing resources and attending a lot of smaller, regional conferences. The aim is to talk to more libraries and understand their needs. Also they are investing heavily in staff in emerging markets and technology with both Data Salon and RingGold at their disposal to identify sales opportunities using a single customer view. 

Dom Mitchell from Highwire Press gave a overview of some of the new content providers emerging and the future of e-commerce. He explained we are in the search engine generation – people are finding our content outside of our traditional markets. PPV is coming under scrutiny as costs of iTunes/deepdyve are so much cheaper. Four new technology publishers they are currently meeting with are Pubget (aim to generate revenue with advertising around the content); Research Blogging (site for researchers to blog about science); deepdyve; and Mendeley.

Richard Wallis from TALIS  spoke about Web 3.0 / The Semantic Web and what it means for academic users, libraries and publishers. It was a bit technical but Richard made big efforts to help us understand the future web better. He said publishers must publish their metadata, add DOIs (in a consistent way/space on their websites) and remove barriers to access content (i.e. open-source data). We must take readers directly to our content, and consistently.

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