In my first post on Dreamforce, I briefly mentioned systematic engagement and some of the ways it works in the sales related/retail world and how it could work in a library setting. I wrote:

“Consider that your customers have a journey (the customer journey),

which is comprised of the following lifecycle:

  • Acquire
  • Sell
  • Onboard
  • Engage
  • Advocate”

I can’t really get these concepts out of my mind. I feel strongly that libraries need to consider all options when setting up marketing programs to increase traffic.

Acquire: how would a library acquire new patrons? What is the best way to get the word out?

Sell: how do librarians ‘sell’ their services. First of all, librarians need to get over the word ‘sell’.

Onboard: if the library doesn’t have the app they can get the patron to download, what are other ways to get people on board with using library services? Sign up for a training session? The least you can do is send them a welcome email. If your organization is hosting a volunteer event, invite everyone to that.

Engage: respond to the user/patron after each transaction. In a corporate setting, I think that talking to people in the cafeteria and the elevator could also be considered engagement. It is important, now, to connect with the customer/patron.

Advocate: this is the nirvana, because your patrons are selling for you. The list above is daunting, but if you can get to it, you earn your reward, because your customers will start telling their stories about your books, your products and your services.

Systematic engagement does mean that you have to review and respond to each mode of communication. Phone and email engagement are not enough. What are people saying on social media via their mobile device? How did they respond to your advertising campaign; do you need to reply to cranky tweets? Where are the emails from the website going? Do communications from all the devices, which can communicate with each other, the web, etc all get through?

All of this tells me that the key is engagement. How do you engage with people? Personalized engagement works better than scattershot general engagement. Salesforce’s new product, Lightening, helps companies make people feel like they matter as individuals and are part of something. While not all libraries or information organizations might not they can afford Salesforce products, there are ways to start the process of personalized interactions without the product. You have to think creatively.

Tell the story of the relationship with the patron, e.g. keep track of interactions. Of course, public libraries have to be aware of privacy, but libraries and information centers in commercial enterprises can track interactions and use it to market to their customers.