THE USE OF E-MARKETING TOOLS IN ACADEMIC LIBRARIES – A SURVIVAL MATTER
In the educational context, the academic library importance lies in its role of supporting teaching, learning, and research for academic faculty and students. Thus, the library can be considered as the most important information resource center of an academic institution.
Despite the mentioned importance of academic libraries, the changes imposed by the digital era have led many of those institutions to be left aside by their users. A major cause of this disuse is related to the easy access to a vast quantity of information in the World Wide Web.
Thus, academic libraries have to adapt to this new competitive environment and take advantage of the existing digital tools to improve their services, show their relevance and consequently justify their existence. And the best way to do that is through the implementation of marketing into their daily operations.
The purpose of marketing is the perfect understanding of the client so that the product or service automatically fits him and sells itself. It is also related to the management of long-term relationships with customers. So, when addressing the issue of relationship development it is crucial to take into consideration the interaction of customers and library. And for this, there is no more appropriate tool than the Internet; the potential for interactivity is the real power of internet, and also what differentiates it from all other media.
Therefore in order to be ahead of the competition in this digital era, academic libraries need to face the Internet as an enabling technology - a powerful set of tools that can be wisely used as part of their marketing strategy in order to conquer new users and retain the existing ones, making sure that their information needs are satisfied.
While reviewing the existing literature related to the paper´s subject there hasn´t been found any kind of scientific work that acted as an inventory of all best practices, trends and recommendations for the implementation of internet marketing tools in academic libraries. Thus, taking into consideration the importance of those organizations in the production of knowledge for society, the mentioned implications on the use of marketing in library operations, and the potential power of the Internet as a marketing tool, this paper´s objective is to identify and concentrate in a single document a wide quantity of the best practices and trends related to the adoption of e-marketing tools by worldwide academic libraries. In order to identify these best practices, a comprehensive review of the existing bibliography was conducted through an exhaustive search and critical analysis of scientific papers and researches related to the topic. This search was also extended to the articles written by subject matter experts to ensure that the most important recommendations and trends would also be captured.
As a result of this research, the main internet marketing tools that should be applied by academic libraries have been compiled. This investigation gathers important considerations about the use of over 20 different e-marketing tools and their impact on the educational role of an academic library. The value of this work resides in the provision of an indispensable guide for the survival of library institutions in the digital era, contributing to the learning process and the knowledge production for society.