Developing Basic and Theoretical Understanding of Library Marketing and Information Services in Nigeria

Dr Okwilagwe

By Oshiotse Andrew Okwilagwe


The human environment is in a perpetual and constant state of flux. It is really in a restless state of flux and its impact on the human component is enormous. Thus, human beings, in response, are also in a restless state of adjusting to the dictates of the ever-changing environment. The environment is a powerful force that can annihilate the human species that refused to adjust accordingly. In the 21st century, human beings have come to accept the reality that they must adjust to the natural, social, economic and technological developments which, as noted initially are perpetually changing. These environments include librarians’ immediate personal and home environments, their positions in organisations, and their citizenship of a country. Their environments now driven are driven and shaped by electronic networks and information technology (IT). They are also influenced by professional organisations, educators (Library users), senior practitioners and role players from other industries (for example, IT, publishing, software and the database industry) (Fourie, 2004).

The librarians are like a long flowing stream that runs across different geographical zones, serving different communities, tribes and countries. In this wise, the Librarians do not only serve different categories of information users but also in different contexts. In this regard, Fourie (2004) noted that:

They (Librarians) have to deal with a growing number of contexts for information (e.g. e-commerce and competitive intelligence), as well as growth in the information needs of ordinary citizens (e.g. health, consumers, legal and financial information) deal with the needs of the digital divide, the information poor and the illiterate. Between the rich and the poor, the haves and the have-nots, demanding business-related needs and survival needs, wireless access and Internet connections and a lack of basic electricity supplies, librarians must secure their future role and position.

The Library is an information delivery system established specifically to serve the information needs of its customers who are the library users. The Library is an assembly of people working together with the sole aim of achieving specified objectives through a division of labour. Although the traditional perception of a library is that of a liberal social system, the library should be seen in the 21st century as a business organisation that aspires to make a sustainable profit from its activities, because the stock in trade of the library is information which is a vital resources for human development in all ramifications of the existence of human beings in their various business and social transactions. In this regard, Adekunmisi (2003) noted that Library acquisitions, organisation and dissemination of information and services must be based on the modern concept of marketing to achieve optimum readers’ satisfaction. The endeavour of the Librarians should be to bring about and sustain customer services to enhance their image and appreciation.

2. Perspectives on the Spider at the Centre of the Web: The Library User

The background to the perspectives on library marketing is set by Olorunsaye’s (2016) statement that “Globally, the familiar terrain of library as repositories of printed materials has changed to hybrid terrain. Libraries now provide increasing range of different services using a multitude of media and reaching more diverse audience than ever.” The Library user is at the centre of library marketing and information services as observed as follows:

1. The concept, realisation and sustenance of marketing library services in all climes of library marketing and information services depend on the extent to which the users are put in focus in library process and services activities. The academic and professional librarians have expressed various perspectives on the importance of the library users in the realm of library marketing and information services.

2. Library users expect recognition, attention and appreciation for their individual needs. As customers always have ever-changing needs and wants, there is the need for librarians to market as dynamic as retail markets and thus create an environment in libraries that foster customer consciousness and satisfaction among employees (Adekunmisi, 2013)

3. The basic aim of marketing is to know and understand our users in order that the library is able to satisfy those needs in an effective way. A marketing plan is an essential tool that will enable us to focus our efforts (Nicholas, 1998).

4. Marketing aims to identify the client base and to determine and fill its needs, wants and demands by designing and delivering appropriate products and services. The main focus of the concept is the client, and the goal is client satisfaction. The marketing management process identifies, anticipates and supplies customer requirements efficiently and profitably (Madhusudhan, 2008).

5. It is a way of working and a way of serving the customers in which every activity is committed to customer satisfaction. (Gupta, 2003:95).

6. Marketing of library and information products and services approach aims at determining the needs, wants and demands of the target clients through designing and delivering appropriate products and services more effectively for the purpose of achieving organisational goals and objectives. The librarians should understand the nature of information needs of users, the transfer process between people and information (Patange, Jagadish & Tukaram, 2013).

7. The library and information services should be user (customer) oriented in order to satisfy their information needs effectively. Marketing of library and information services, professional skills and competencies and value-added services are essential. The ultimate aim of marketing here is to provide the right information to the right users at the right time (Karn, Sanjay & Kumar, 2008)

These perspectives (items 1–7) emphasise that the various libraries are organisations and are social and business systems. As formal organisations, libraries have human and material resources components. The objective of the Libraries is to give services in the form of products and services. It is against these services thrust that libraries are assessed for effectiveness which has far-reaching implications for funding and their continuous existence. Thus, librarians are information service givers and information brokers at different levels and shades of activities either for free, for a fee and or for salary.

3. Marketing of Library and Information Services to the Library Users

Many perspectives and definitions have been advanced in the discussion of marketing library and information services. However, the observed variations in perspectives and definitions of marketing of library and information services have not detracted from a convergent understanding that the customer, library users, is the focus of all the activities of library and information services. Therefore, all the activities are focused on generating, processing and distributing or creating access to appropriate information and information resources for the users of libraries. Anafo (2014) noted that:

There are many alternative definitions of marketing. Frequently, the particular form reflects the preoccupation of individual authors. Most have certain basic features in common, especially the notion of looking at the firm from the point of view of the customer or striving to ensure mutual profitability from the marketing exchange. Other definitions place their emphasis on the essentially managerial nature of marketing. This marketing is the managerial process which identifies, anticipates and supplies customer requirements efficiently and profitably.

However, the crux of marketing drive is essentially to determine in various ways the customers’ actual needs and desires with the aim of producing the product to meet their aspirations at the right price, time and place.

In reference to the works of American Marketing Association (nd), Kotler (1975), Weingand (1999), Aggebeck (2012), Doucett (2008) and Gupa (2006), in addition to her own definitions, provided a series of definitions of marketing which suffice our discussion as follows:

1. Marketing is a systematic approach to identify specific user needs, provide services to meet these needs, and persuade users to the need to act. The focus is on matching customers with quality services through community involvement. This is an ongoing process that anticipates the need for change.

2. Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners and society at large (America Marketing Association, nd).

3. Marketing is the process of planning and executing conception, pricing, promotion and distribution of ideas, goods and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organisational objectives (American Marketing Association, nd).

4. Marketing is the analysis, planning, implementation and control of carefully formulated program designed to bring about voluntary exchanges of values and target markets for the purpose of achieving organisational objectives. It relies heavily on designing the organisation’s offering in terms of the target market’s needs and desires, and on using effective pricing, communication and distribution to inform, motivate and service the markets (Kotler, 1975).

5. Marketing serves as the overriding philosophy in conducting task in the organisation as a whole. It is a set of processes; process involves interactions among people, technology, methods, procedure, environment and material (information or information services in case of libraries) by which any offer comes to the customer (Gupta, 2010).

6. Marketing is an exchange relationship: a process providing mutual benefit to both parties in the transaction…[today’s] information professionals design a product to meet community needs instead of spending time in the often futile attempt to persuade a reluctant public that they ‘should’ use the library because it is intrinsically valuable (Weingand, 1999).

7. Marketing is the process of:

i. identifying the potential audience that you want to hear your library story;

ii. developing the story so that those potential users understand what makes your library unique and why they will find it interesting; and

iii. developing ways of telling the story that will intrigue those users and attract their attention (Doucett, 2008).

Library marketing and information services are seen and taken as a composite of activities of promotion, branding, public relations, publicity, advertising and advocacy. These activities are carried out through communication processes and programmes. Thus, the Librarian must concentrate on taking decisions on the core elements of marketing which are: Product, Price, Place and Promotion. This is referred to as marketing mix which helps in translating marketing into practical actions. In the process of library marketing and information services, marketing mix provides the core and relevant variables which can be manipulated in various ways aimed at creating highest level of consumer/user satisfaction and at the same time aspire to meet organisational objectives.

While the Marketing Mix is a term first used in 1964 by McCarthy and referred to as 4Ps, there are recent contentions of being dated and the focus seems to be heavy on Kotler’s 4Cs which are Customer, Convenience, Cost and Communication (Lamb, 2016).

4. Communication in Library Marketing and Information Services

Communication is the voltex upon which library activities revolve. Every decision ever taken and will be taken by librarians will ever be made possible by communication. In this regard, Eastman (1991) is of the view that:

In these times, with many Americans working in the information field, effective communication in library profession is essential. Librarians have worthy causes to sell and varied groups to educate and to motivate. Some of these people work in libraries and some work on behalf of libraries — legislators, administrators, other library supporters and users.

Marketing library and information services is based on a predetermined vision aimed to effectively motivate or persuade the library users to develop positive perception of the library and its services. This is with the aim of being loyal users of the library. Thus, communication becomes a ready tool for achieving marketing library and information services. The development of marketing mix is a highly visionary effort on proactiveness required of a library in this era of fast changes in the information profession. Dance (1999) noted that the issue of developing a vision for proactive librarianship goes beyond developing a vision. According to him:

Developing a vision for the library is not enough. Library leaders must know how to harness the vision and bring it to fruition. The vision must be credible, realistic, and supported by a consensus within the library. Moreover, the library leadership must effectively know how the vision will be achieved. Communication is the way library leaders can bridge the gaps, stay in touch, build trust, monitor performance, and attain the concerted vision.

The point of emphasis here is that library marketing and information services are dependent on communication. In fact, this is true for all the activities of library users services. Library services effectiveness depends largely on the effectiveness of its communication within the entire spectrum of the library engagements. To ensure success in the management of human and material resources, the libraries must develop communication that works for specific objective setting within the vision and mission spectrum of the library. In other words, the librarians should accept and appreciate the fact that the library is an agency for communication using different media to achieve its objectives.

Communication in marketing library and information services calls for an in-depth understanding of the communication process and functions and why and how it can be deployed to achieve set objectives. It entails the acquisition of knowledge of communication functions and its roles in human development, organisation’s well-being and national development. It also entails the understanding of all the elements that make up the communication process in the sense that:

Marketing promotion is advertising, public dissemination, direct mailing exhibition, and sales promotion activities that doesn’t necessarily require face-to-face engagement with the target audience. In another aspect, marketing communication in general is a communication type that leads potential customers to the decision and action point when they do not have any information about the service. Marketing communication goes through awareness, interest, evaluation, trial and adoption process. (Singh, 2004; Karakas, 2007 in Konya, 2013).

Marketing communication is action specific meant and used towards achieving an organisational action specific objective and can be regarded as part of a scheduled programme of action. As noted by Konya (2013).

Marketing Communication is the promotion part of the marketing mix, it is a consciously programmed and applied coordinated process, conducted under the supervision of producer-marketer that is prepared in order to persuade customer/user and facilitate the sale of goods or services. This process can be defined as a regular dialogue that occurs between organisation and customer/user.

5. Use of AIDA Model in Marketing Communication

Marketing communication consists of advertising personal selling and public relations which are aimed at bringing about awareness, interest, desire and action from the library user. Through various and appropriate mass media channels, the librarians do apply the AIDA model concept “whether consciously or subconsciously when they are thinking of how to make their marketing communication in library marketing and information services effort work effectively.” Specifically:

The AIDA model identifies cognitive stages an individual goes through during the buying process for a product or service. It is a purchasing funnel where buyers go to and from at each stage, to support them in making the final purchase.

Thus, it automatically becomes a process perfected and effected by marketing communication parameters. “It’s no longer a relationship purely between the buyer (library user) and the company (Library),” since various media of communication come into play to open the process wide enough for various and varied participants in the process of library marketing and information services (Honhon, 2013). The assumptions are that the librarian would have thoroughly understood the community of users of his library, understood the users/customers’ needs, established a service niche and developed the media marketing message and medium/media to use. These paramount assumptions form the bedrock upon which library marketing and information services rest. They are only realistic by means or through the communication process and marketing communication. The choice of a medium is important here because of the fact that:

Your marketing medium is the communication vehicle you use to deliver your marketing message. It is important to choose a marketing medium that gives you the highest return on your marketing dollar. This means you must choose the medium that delivers your marketing message to the most niche prospects at the lowest possible cost. (Honhon, 2013)

Honhon (2013) AIDA model of marketing is said to be, “perhaps the best marketing model amongst non-marketers of all the classic marketing models.” It, however, runs on the wheels of communication because the manipulable components of AIDA model which are Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action and Retention are communication dependent for usefulness and effectiveness in marketing, planning, execution and evaluation of marketing mix through programmed marketing campaigns. It is because of this that AIDA:

It could be referred to as a communication model rather than a decision-making model, as it is identifying to companies, how and when to communicate during each of the stages as consumers will be using different platforms, engaging at different touch points and requiring different information throughout the stages from various sources.

In the same vein, Konya (2013) opined that:

Marketing communication is the ‘promotion’ part of the marketing mix, it is a consciously programmed and applied coordinated communication process… that is prepared in order to persuade customer/user and facilitate the sale of goods and services. This process… is a regular dialogue that occurs between organisation and customer/user


Fig. 1: The AIDA Model by Anne Marie (2013)

The AIDA Model is a lynchpin of the promotional part of the marketing mix, the mix itself being a key component of the model connecting customer needs through the organisation to the marketing decisions (AIDA: Marketing, Wikipedia).

Konya (2013) elaborated that marketing mix is made up of different components such as advertising, personal selling, public relations, direct marketing, Internet marketing, sponsorship, brand management and brand placement, purpose-related marketing, and trade fair exhibitions.

The very important fact that has emerged here is that communication is the tool with which effective marketing of a product/service can be done. This implies that an understanding of communication and the process of communication should be acquired and the capacity to use it must be developed by librarians. The librarians should be aware that communication is not a hypodermic syringe that has magic instant effect. In order to explain this important issue, a model of communication will be presented and discussed presently.

6. Marketing Mix and Library Marketing and Information Services

Marketing mix has been variously defined by scholars and professional librarians in different ways based on their orientations, perceptions and callings, such as:

1. The planned package of elements which will support the organisation in reaching its target markets and specific objectives. It helps to position the library or information services very firmly in the perceptions of their communities served… Marketing mix is made up of four strategic elements referred to as four Ps: Product, Price, Place and Promotion (De Aze, 1985 in Dhiman & Sharma, 2009).

2. The marketing mix is the set of controllable, tactical marketing tools that a company uses to produce a desired response from its target market. It consists of everything that a company can do to influence demand for its product. It is also a tool to help marketing planning and execution (De Aze, 1985).

3. The marketing mix is the planned package of elements that make up the product or service offered to the market. It is aimed at supporting the library and information services to reach target markets and specified objectives. The key issues to consider are user convenience: taking core services and packaging them according to the needs of specific user ground is a priority. Current literature indicate that the library marketing and information services marketing mix can be divided into four groups of pertinent variables with intrinsic contents and each of the variables has its own tools which enable them to contribute cooperatively and in the right measures to the realisation of the organisational marketing mix objectives (De Aze, 1985).

4. “The so-called ‘marketing mix’ is a conceptual framework that is particularly useful in structuring a marketing strategy” (Baker & Hart, 2008 in Jamaludin, Kadir & Hashim, 2015).

It is noted in literature that the interaction of the 4Ps (De Aze, 1985):

Provides a valuable structures in working towards a set of strategies. When this is coupled with substantiated market information and used against a background of careful analysis of the micro and macro-environment then marketing objectives are more likely to be achieved.

As a result of research and professional and field experience, extra “3Ps” have been added to marketing mix to enhance service marketing. Furthermore, arguments have been extensive and intensive on actually seeing, regarding and accepting the supreme position of the spider — consumer who is at the centre of the web of marketing mix. Therefore, it has been suggested that the 4Ps should become Cs as propounded by Lauterborn (1990).

The only way and tool by which the elements in marketing mix can be knit together is the deployment of communication as a tool and as a process facilitating interaction among people and other resources of the library organisation. In order to attempt comprehensive discussion of the points and the turns at which service marketing, marketing mix and communication meet in relationship towards achieving the mission of a library, it is useful to discuss, in some detail, the various aspects of marketing mix expounded by MaRS (2016) and AIDA model as expounded by Honhon, (2013). The reason would be to attempt a construction of “A Product Service Value Marketing Mix Matrix” showing the power of communication in marketing process. This is because “the development of marketing communications through multimedia has become more relevant than ever with libraries today” (Jamaludin, Kadir & Mansor, 2015).

(i) The Four Ps of Marketing: Product, Price, Place and Promotion (MaRS, 2016)

The marketing mix can be divided into four groups of variables commonly known as the four Ps:

1. Product: the goods and/or services offered by a company to its customers.

2. Price: the amount of money paid by customers to purchase the product.

3. Place (or distribution): the activities that make the product available to consumers.

4. Promotion: the activities that communicate the product’s features and benefits and persuade customers to purchase the product.

(ii) Marketing Tools (MaRs, 2016)

Each of the four Ps has its own tools to contribute to the marketing mix:

1. Product: variety, quality, design, features, brand name, packaging and services.

2. Price: list price, discounts, allowances, payment period and credit terms

3. Place: channels, coverage, assortments, locations, inventory, transportation and logistics.

4. Promotion: advertising, personal selling, sales promotion and public relations.

(iii) The Four Ps as the four Cs

The 4Ps of the marketing mix can be reinterpreted as the four Cs. They put the customer’s interests (the buyer) ahead of the marketer’s interests (the seller). (MaRs, 2016,

1. Customer solutions, not products: customers want to buy value or a solution to their problems.

2. Customer cost, not price: customers want to know the total cost of acquiring, using and disposing of a product.

3. Convenience, not place: customers want products and services to be convenient to purchase.

4. Communication, not promotion: customers want two-way communication with the companies that make the product.

The essence of a library marketing mix arises from the quest of the library to get and process all possible information about the library users’ library resources and secure environment so as to be able to effectively meet the present information needs of users and prepare adequately for their future information needs in a fast changing digital and globalised world. Libraries are faced with competitors attracting the attentions of library users. Therefore, librarians must innovate and develop new services and services platforms in order to meet the information needs of library users. Adekunmisi (2013) opined that:

The increasing awareness and use of information for different purposes have resulted in the establishment of various information services providers which have the capacity to compete for survival with libraries in providing users with timely, adequate and relevant information in the preferred format. Libraries and librarians in Nigeria, therefore, need to respond to such challenges in the quest to enhance the use of their resources (electronic and non-electronic) and services.

Item (iii) above titled Ps as the four Cs emphasises the prominent position of the library user whose interests must not only be guided but also secured and sustained. This can only be down through the generation, processing, transferring and communicating information to and with the library users at conducive price, time and place.

7. Importance and Application of AIDA Model in Marketing Library and Information Services

The existence of any form or type of library is made possible by the presence of library users. Would there be need for a library without users? Would a library’s collection make any sense if the information resources needs of the user were not considered before acquisition and prepared for easy access by them? Could it ever be possible for the envisaged users for whose sake a library was established be put in dark ignorance of the existence and benefits of the library?

It is thus important that awareness is created on the brand of the library; enough interest generated for the users to see; appreciate, desire not only to be satisfied with the presence of a library in their community but to use it profitably; prompt the users into action to use and derive the desired benefits from the use of the facilities of the library; and retain good standard of services and users’ loyalty. These are the core values of library marketing through appropriate Marketing Mix. Also, they form the core focus of the AIDA model.

It is the terrain of library and information services that makes the model more approachable, comprehensive and applicable to the study of information generation, appreciation, processing and transfer through any appropriate medium of communication including interpersonal face-to-face encounter is communication.

Importance of the Application of AIDA

This model, and as rightly claimed by its proponent, Honhon (2013), provides a point of convergence of the purposes and objectives of library marketing and information services, development of a marketing mix and proper pursuance of its application and a platform to articulate various ways to apply other models and theories relating to information use, because it “identifies the cognitive stages a library user goes through in the process of deciding the use of product/service of a library.”

(iv) What Does AIDA Stand For?

1. Awareness: creating brand awareness or affiliation with your product or service.

2. Interest: generating interest in the benefits of your product or service, and sufficient interest to encourage the buyer to start to research further.

3. Desire: for your product or service through an ‘emotional connection’, showing your brand personality. Move the consumer from ‘liking’ it to ‘wanting it’.

4. Action: move the buyer to interacting with your company and taking the next step, i.e. downloading a brochure, making the phone call, joining your newsletter, or engaging in live chating etc.

5. Retention: we all know that this is key to up sell, cross-sell, referrals, advocacy and the list goes on as companies are also focussing on LTV.

(v) How to Use the AIDA Model (Honhon, 2013)

Ask yourself some key questions throughout the stages:

1. Awareness: How do we make buyers aware of our products or services? What is our outreach strategy? What is our brand awareness campaign? Which tools or platforms do we use? What should the message be?

2. Interest: How will we gain their interest? What is our content strategy? Social proof available to back up our reputation? How do we make this information available and where, i.e. on website, via videos, customer ratings?

3. Desire: What makes our products or services desirable? How do we interact personally to make an emotional connection? Online chat? Immediate response to Twitter feed? Share tips and advice?

4. Action: What is the call to actions and where do we place them? Is it easy for consumers to connect and where would they expect to find it? Think about which marketing channel/platform you are using and how to engage, i.e., across emails, website, landing pages, inbound phone calls, etc.

5. Retention: What is the proposition to retain loyalty? At what stage do we encourage this on-line and off-line, and how?

Although Honhon’s (2013) model would appear simple, it has been declared and described a classic, it is indeed complex and, by import, it rings a sense of urgency and a warning of the booby traps in the market place for a product. It thus carries a high level of appeal, instructions and, at the same time, a plea particularly for the librarian who intends to embark on marketing library and information services. The appeal is that they should recognise that the elements intrinsic to AIDA and other relevant library market mix “necessitate a high level of sophistication in communication as the rules of operation must be continually aligned with goals and objectives” of marketing mix. The successful execution of a marketing mix is predicated on effective communication. Therefore, the library must be up to the billings. For this reason and for many others involved in library management, Riggs (1999) opined that:

As library leaders develop better communication mechanisms, they should be seeking way to enhance creativity. Librarians in a well-communicated environment should be inspired to see useful relationships among dissimilar things in their working environment. Looking for useful relationships among seemingly unrelated library services will enable the library staff to develop ideas and solutions to problems that they previously felt incapable of handling.

8. Product/Service Value Marketing Mix Matrix PV3M: A New Construction

The marketing mix is an obvious tool in the hands of formal organisations, especially to achieve the set objectives of producing products/services which are to make a profit and stay in business comfortably. Effort in this area should be continuous. In this regard and for this reason, a conceptual framework for the realisation of these objectives has been engineered to serve as a marketing strategy. This strategy has variously been referred to as marketing mix (Jamaludin, Kadir & Mansor, 2015) as referred from McCarthy (1978), and Baker and Hart (2008). As noted by Jamaludin et al (2015):

The four basic elements of the marketing mix, first proposed by McCarthy (1978) are four Ps — Product, Price, Promotion and Place (or distribution). Four Ps marketing mix elements are generated from the product’s point of view and do not recognise customer need directly. Later in 1990 Lauterborn proposed a four CS classification — Customer, Cost, Communication and Convenience which is a more consumer-oriented version of the four Ps.

This implies that the development and refinement of marketing mix is an ongoing process if observed gaps in the initial ones are to be improved.

It would seem clear that what has remained silent and attended to has been the fact that McCarthy’s (1978) conceptual marketing mix would have been a lame duck without enhancer as provided by Honhon (2013). A new marketing mix is proposed here. It is a Product/Service Value Marketing Mix Matrix (PV3M) — A Product/Service Value Marketing Mix Matrix (PV3M). PV3M is a composite of the original McCarthy (1978) construct plus subsequent additions and capped by AIDA (Honhon, 2013) PV3M is explained as follows:

A Product/Service Value Marketing Mix Matrix (PV3M) is a conceptual tripod of 4Ps (McCarthy, 1978), 4Ps Marketing tools (MaRS, 2016) and 4Cs MaRS and capped by AIDA (Honhon, 2013).

Expansion/Interpretation of PV3M: It is a combination of the original/traditional 4Ps (Product characteristics); 4Ps Tools with Characteristics of Transactional Marketing Mix Tool, and 4Cs with characteristics of Benevolence/Humanism Tools, and with a top of AIDA with its characteristic valency Advocacy, Donation, or Letting tools. It is essentially a communication transactional conceptual framework made up of three marketing mix formulae, and wired with a tinge of communication essence.

Fig. 2: Product/Service Value Marketing Mix Matrix (PV3M)

The Product/Service Value Marketing Mix Matrix is a convergence of four conceptual models of library marketing and information services. In a sense, it is a high breed of the models already known and used in product marketing mix as in the conventional marketing parlance, also applicable to Library Marketing and Information Services.

9. Theoretical Perspectives on Library Marketing

There are many models and theories relevant to library communications and information exchanges which serve as pointers to the key roles and functions of librarians in the human society. Thus, the common crown on the heads of all the librarians, the world over, is information services to users. This is in spite of the marked differences in the physical, staff, magnitude and resources structures of various libraries. Thus, the only one thing that is common and absolutely so is library marketing and services to users through library communication system. It is a dominant element in library process and services which has become prominent in the 21st century digital age. Library marketing is something that starts right from the point of conceptualising and eventual establishment of a library. It is the very nature of librarianship that has made this situation inevitable as it predisposes the library as an institution and the librarians to embrace this natural tilt to information services. It is also something that continues even when there is no formal policy in support nor funds allocated to it. Nicholas’ (1998) view accords with this as he posited that:

Marketing is the management process which identifies, anticipates and supplies customers requirement effectively… “Thus the essence of marketing involves what the users want, the setting out to meet those needs. As librarians we all participate in the process of assessing our users’ needs and trying to fulfil them. Thus, we are already marketing our library information skills. (Emphasis is mine). However, in order to do this effectively, librarians need to embrace the total marketing function involving market research and analyse service planning and promotion.

The simple yearning of individuals for survival in an environment gravitates them to seeking information from various sources. The use of information sources, whether formal or informal or both, is usually determined by demographic characteristics, emotional variables, educational variables, social interpersonal variables, environmental variables, economic variables and information source characteristics and the characteristics of the information seekers. The users do not only seek for information, they also seek for information on information sources and relevant sources of information in various ways and from various media and interpersonally. Once the need arises, the information seeker will be prompted to seek for information from possible sources where he might find relevant information. Thus, as noted by Hamel (nd):

The search for information is a common characteristic of consumer behaviour. Consumer cannot purchase goods and services unaware that a goods and service exist. When a consumer decides to buy a certain item, his decision must be based on the information he has gathered about what product or service available to fill his needs. There might be a product available that would be better suited to the consumer needs, but if he is unaware of the product he will not buy it. Consumers gather information in many ways. Advertisement and world-of-mouth are common ways consumers find information.

As earlier noted in this discussion, quoting Patange (2013):

Marketing of library and information products and services approach aims at determining the needs, wants and demands of the target clients through designing and delivering of appropriate products and services more effectively for the purpose of achieving organisational goals and objectives.

The determination of the “needs, wants and demands of the target”, the designing and delivering appropriate products and services, and the efforts towards achieving the organisational goals and objectives are strewn with booby traps. It is, therefore, important for the librarians to know and very well understand the context in which library marketing and information services take place. In this regard, Miracle (1966) rightly noted that:

Scholars and students of marketing are concerned with the collection, analysis and interpretation of marketing knowledge: and some progress has been made in systematising and classifying marketing phenomenon.

At this point, we will attempt to discuss some models and theories relevant to Library marketing and information services with the objective of harnessing some concepts, perspectives, opinions and positions expressed by scholars and professional librarians on library marketing and information services. It is hoped this could help in creating an understanding of the parameters and process that are inherent in the scenario of information behaviour, information seeking and information need which could agitate or instigate the librarian into proactive information service, “Library Marketing.”

Basic Models of Library Marketing and Information Services

The phenomenon of marketing of library and information services can be conceptualised and explained with various models relating to user studies and information needs — a model being a representation of a system that allows for investigation of the properties of the system. Obviously, a model is not the real world but a human construction to help an understanding of a real-world phenomenon. Models are found in different shapes, sizes and styles. A theory can be regarded as a composite of assumptions, propositions or accepted facts that attempts to provide a plausible or rational explanation of cause-and-effect casual relationships among a group of observed phenomena. ( htttp://

It is relevant to state that the models that will be discussed have relationships with the theories that will also be discussed presently. It is a way of bringing together the phenomena of communication studies, user’s studies and information needs studies under one umbrella. It is believed that the awareness, understanding and subsequent development of cognitive and technical skills in these areas by librarians could lead to their application to library marketing and information services in Nigeria. The following underlisted Models and Theories will be discussed and related to library marketing and information services.

The following models will be discussed in this section:

i. Defleur’s Shannon and Weaver Model

ii. T. D. Wilson (1996): A Model of Information Needs and Seeking Behaviour.

iii. T. D. Wilson (1981): A Model of Information Behaviour

i. Defleur’s Shannon and Weaver Communication Model

Library Marketing and Information Services involves strategic action plan, development of marketing mix and actualisation of policies and programmes. The librarians strive to provide services in the manner and format that suit the needs of the client. This calls for a reasonable understanding of communication process.

This communication model treats all the elements in the communication process. These are the elements that feature in library marketing and information services. They are the Source, Transmitters, Channel, Receiver, Destination and Feedback. It also indicates the element of “Noise” which can affect other elements in the communication process to distort messages. McQuail and Windahh (1981) submitted that:

First in the process is the Information source, producing a message or a chain of messages to be communicated, the message is formed into signals by a transmitter and adapted to the channel to the receiver and the message reaches its destination. A response is made by the receiver. This determines the success of the communication encounter. Noise in the encounter should be avoided.

Marketing Library and Information Services involves messages construction and reconstruction as the case may be. The transfer takes place between the librarians and the library users in a library setting. The Librarians strive for communication effectiveness in management, collection development, process, storage and dissemination of information.

Therefore, for effective library marketing and information services, the librarians should make serious efforts to know the “information behaviour and the information seeking behaviour of the library users.

Fig. 3: DeFleur’s Development of the Shannon and Weaver model allowing for feedback (DeFleur, 1970)

Feature of Defleur’s Shannon and Weaver Communication Model

DeFleur (1996) developed the Shannon and Weaver model further by indicating the correspondence between the meaning of the produced and the received message. “He notes that in the communication process, ‘meaning’ is transformed into ‘message’ and describes how the transmitter transforms message into ‘information,’ which then passes through a channel (for example a mass medium). The receiver decodes the ‘information’ as a ‘message’ which in its turn is transformed at the destination into ‘meaning’. If there is a correspondence between the two ‘meaning’, the result is communication. But DeFleur sayss this correspondence is seldom perfect. DeFleur also indicates how the source gets its feedback, “which gives the source a possibility of adapting more effectively its way of communication to the destination. This increases the possibility of achieving correspondence between the meanings (Isomorphism)” (McQuail & Windahl 1981).

The effective use of communication as a process and as a tool in library marketing and information services could be elusive to the librarians unless they have the right, adequate and functional communication skills, attitude, knowledge level and right position within the social-cultural system.

The aim and objectives of a programme policy on Library Marketing and Information Services of which an appropriate marketing mix must be developed, are to achieve high fidelity in communication between the librarians and the users of their libraries. According to Berlo (1960):

Given a purpose for communicating, a response which is to be elicited, a communicator hopes that his communication will have high fidelity. By fidelity, we meant that he will get what he wants. A high encoder is one that expresses the meaning of the source perfectly. A high fidelity decoder is one that translates a message for the receiver with complete accuracy… we are interested in determining what increases or reduces the fidelity of the process.

Implication of DeFleur’s communication model for library and information services objectives

The determination of the need to establish a library in any community, its eventual establishment and ensuring its functionality largely depend on the quality of communication that brought the activities about. That the model presents the concept of Noise as one of the elements in the communication model is a precautionary note that there are variables that could communicate infectiveness and must be avoided by the libraries in their activities.

The librarians should endeavour to thoroughly understand “human behaviour” as a prerequisite to communication analysis, if librarians intend to affect behaviour of users to accept their products and services, the variables and processes underlying behaviour and behaviour change in policy formulation and in developing marketing mix to render their various services to their various and varied customers in different categories of libraries in the country.

The Ingredients of Communication

Fig. 4: A model of the ingredients of communication

It is pertinent that the Library Marketing and Information Services messages for persuasion achieve high fidelity. The librarian, after determining the way in which he desires to affect the users, encodes a message intended to produce the desired response. Just like Wilson’s models, some variables within the librarians and the users can affect fidelity of the message. They are: Communication skills, attitudes, knowledge level and position within a socio-cultural system (Berlo, 1960).

ii. T.D. Wilson’s Models of Information Needs and Information-Seeking Behaviour

There are many models in Library and Information Science that raise and attempt to provide answers to the questions of Why, How, Where and When of human beings information behaviour. Wilson (1981) states in clear terms that:

A model may be described as a framework for thinking about a problem and may evolve into a statement of the relationships among theoretical propositions… that attempts to an information-seeking activity, the causes and consequences of the activities, or the relationships among stages of information-seeking behaviour.

The information behaviour models are behavioural in perspectives. They, therefore, can provide the required framework for information user behaviour research and contribute to a better understanding of user’s information behaviour. The convergence of themes extends even beyond Information Behaviour, Information-Seeking Behaviour and Information Retrieval Behaviour. Wilson’s position encompasses greater perspective as shown here:

Wilson described information behaviour as the totality of human behaviour in relation to sources and channels of information, including both active and passive information-seeking and use. He described information-seeking behaviour as purposive seeking of information as a consequence of a need to satisfy some goal. Information seeking behaviour is the micro-level of behaviour employed by the searcher in interacting with information system of all kinds, be it between the seeker and the system or the pure method of creating and following up on a search (http:\\ Information_seeking_behaviour).

While information behaviour may be a general tendency that encompasses intentional seeking and unintentional information encounters, information-seeking behaviour is expressed in human drive at a conscious effort to acquire information in response to a need or gap in knowledge.

iii. Wilson’s (1981) Model of Information Behaviour

According to Wilson (1981), this model is based upon two prepositions which are: that information need is not a primary need, but a need that arises out of a more basic kind, and that in the effort to discover information to satisfy a need, the enquirer is likely to meet with barriers.

Wilson’s (1996) model is a major revision of that of 1981. The model reflects macro information behaviour scenario indicating more variables such as Context of Information need, Activating Mechanism and Information-Seeking Behaviour. Thus, the model remains one of macro-behaviour, but its expansion and the inclusion of other theoretical models of behaviour makes it a rich source of hypotheses and further research than the 1981 model (Wilson, 1999).

These models present clearly present and outline of information-seeking and information behaviour, thus perceptibly indicate the relationship between communication and information-seeking and information searching in information retrieval systems. The models address issues at various levels of information behaviour and can be related by envisaging a “nesting of models”. The knowledge of the structure and essence of those models could be used in library marketing.

Fig. 5: Wilson’s information behaviour model

Fig. 6: Wilson’s model of 1996

Wilson’s Models: Implications for Marketing Library and Information Services

Wilson’s models have tremendous positive implications for library marketing activities. These explain the circumstances of library users’ information behaviour cutting across information needs, information exchange and information use. These are the essential areas of concern of the librarians’ interest in marketing their libraries. A firm understanding of the models coupled with a capacity to manipulate the variables in the models would give impetus to an effort to actualise a marketing mix. The application of AIDA MODEL within the marketing communication process will be an added advantage for library marketing and information services. Using knowledge gained from Wilson’s models of Information Behaviour and Information.

It should be observed that at the heart of Wilson’s Models are a host of intervening variables such as emotional variables, educational variables, demographic variables, social/interpersonal variables, environmental variables and economic variables. These variables are susceptible to marketing communication messages and media campaigns. It could also be noted that some of the aforementioned intervening variables in Wilson’s models are prominent variables in some theories of Information Communication Technology Acceptance discourse.

Theories of Library Marketing and Information Services

The Following theories will be discussed in this section:

i. Theory of Reasoned Action

ii. Theory of Planned Behaviour

iii. Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology Model

All the theories relating to library marketing and information services are focused on effective delivery of library services through strategic action plans to the library users. This discussion is aimed at throwing some light on factors that influence the demand and delivery of library products and services.

i. Theory of Reasoned Action

The theory was propounded by Fishbein and Ajzen in 1995. It aims at showing relationships between attitudes and behaviour towards the acceptance and use of an information system. It takes cognisance of previously held intentional attitudes and outcomes particularly when subjected to a campaign communication that present several alternatives for decision-making. It posits that the intention to perform an act upon a subject will precede the actual behaviour.

Most likely, the higher/stronger the intention is, the possibility to effectuate the desire and effort to perform a behaviour. The theory recognises the effect of time lag on behaviour intentions and the enacting the behaviour. The intention to perform the act must be sustained and stable within the decision-making period and choice of a particular alternative behaviour.

Implications of Theory of Reasoned Action

It allows for consideration of the relationship between attitudes and behavioural intensions and behaviour in marketing strategic action plans to use an information system. It will enable the libraries to develop appropriate market mix.

ii. Theory of Planned Behaviour

This theory was developed by Ajzen in 1981. It is an extension of Theory of Reasoned Action. It posits that an attitude towards a behaviour, subjective norms and perceived behavioural control have implications for behavioural intentions and eventual behaviour. It indicates that experiences of an individual have relevance to the development of beliefs which can be linked with behaviour. If the development of a belief and beliefs is susceptible to persuasive communication, then behaviour would be influenced by persuasive messages.

Implications of Planned Behaviour for Library and Information Marketing

Although behavioural intentions do not always lead to actual behaviour, however, an understanding of the factors that could influence “Perceived Behavioural Control” could be of relevance in developing market strategic plans to use a library marketing and information services on the basis of in-depth knowledge of “Perceived Behavioural Control” of library users, librarians could structure or restructure as the case may be, and use the market mix to a considerable advantage of creating positive image for the libraries and their products and services.

iii. Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology Model (UTAUT)

UTAUT which is a composite of eight other theories and models was developed by Venkatesh, Moris, Davis and Davis in 2003. It is an exposition of the factors that influence users’ intentions to use an information system and subsequently use behaviour. The theory has four main constructs which are Performance Expectancy, Effort Expectancy, Social Influence and Facilitating Conditions are determinants of user behaviour. The theory posits that gender, age, experience and voluntariness as moderating variable in the use of an information system.

Implications of UTAUT to Library Marketing Information Services

An in-depth knowledge of the constructs of UTAUT which are Performance Expectancy, Effort Expectancy, Social Expectancy and Facilitating Conditions by Librarians could ensure strong and appropriate marketing strategies and functional operative marketing mix. This is because they determine the acceptance and use of an information system by users.

Fig. 7: UTAUT (Venkatesh, V. Morris, M.G. Davis, F.D. and Davis G.B. 2003)


Marketing library and information services is the major way Liberians draw public attention to themselves, their libraries and services. In this effort, there is the need to develop a market mix and use the media of communication. These activities should of necessity be based on tested models and theories on technology acceptance and utilisation.


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