On a number of occasions now, I’ve banged on about where we need to focus our efforts (‘we’ being the LIS community) in terms of marketing, promotion, advocacy and so on. I’ve mentioned in my own blog and in comments on other peoples’ a sort of curve of engagement – I suspect we may put too many resources into targeting those at either extreme-end of the curve, when in fact it’s those in the middle who we can actually change.
Anyhow, as part of my preperation for the Escaping the Echo-Chamber talk I’m doing with Woodsiegirl (which has yet to be rescheduled but I’ll let you know when that’s sorted) I’ve actually created a graphic of the curve! Oh yeah. There’s nothing new here, but nevertheless here it is – click it to go to the CC version on Twitter.
The point being, as I’m sure you’ll have worked out by now, that we’re wasting our energies on those who literally hate libraries and those who literally love them. The former are not convert-able, and the latter are already so converted they’ll be fine on their own. The regular patrons shouldn’t be ignored, which is why they’re lower down the curve; it’s easier to retain a customer than it is to snare a new one. But it is the currently indifferent we really ought to be targeting – those who don’t use libraries, but might do if we can tell them what we do these days. (People like Andy’s Dad…)
PS: Caveats for this post – 1: obviously some attention should be paid to the superfans – they are the holy grail if they’re word-of-mouth advocates for libraries but don’t actually work in them, so ought to be treated with utmost respect. But they don’t need a whole lot of marketing to. 2: Similarly, I do think we should engage the actively hostile – wherever possible using the same media they use to attack libraries – but only to rebuff their offensives, not to try and market the hell out of them till they ‘come round’ and love us and our buildings… 3: Regular patrons are nearer the top of the curve than the bottom – this is because I’m talking specifically about marketing and advocacy resources, rather than resources per se – of course we should prioritise our existing patrons most highly of all.
I’m off on holiday for a bit now, so see you on the other side.