ALA Unit/Subunit: Exhibits RT
Meeting Type: Program
Cost: Included with full conference registration.
Libraries are increasingly seeking to adopt and apply new tools, systems and data they need to enhance their marketing performance. However, impediments to real change sometime come in the form of integration issues with other library systems, and, not surprisingly, the cost of systems implementations and operation..
One way to take a radical step forward in acquiring and implementing marketing technology is to leverage the ILS procurement process to accelerate the process. This has a twofold benefit. First, oftentimes an ILS procurement is tied to available capital and operational budget funds that might not be available in a normal operating year. This provides financial opportunity. Secondly, the ILS procurement process is a well-established practice of the library technology community that identifies and evaluates key technical functional requirements of the library. It gives the library the framework to explore data and functionality of ILS and related technologies. This provides a technical opportunity.
In May of 2017, the Kitchener and Waterloo public libraries of Canada issues an RFP for their ILS procurement that included, along with standard ILS functionality, requirements that addressed their interest related to Marketing and Customer Engagement. Commonly referred to as Customer Relationship Management or “CRM for Libraries” functionality, the Kitchener/Waterloo RFP included an entire section dedicated to this functionality. The section identified requirements covering all facets of marketing-related functionality and specified functionality found in modern marketing platforms as well as requirements unique to library needs. It also specified requirements unique to the shared system environment that supports the operations of both Kitchener and Waterloo public libraries.
This is the first known instance where an ILS procurement formally documented these needs. Marshall Breeding, who has been following the the growing interest in marketing technology by libraries took note of this new development. The Kitchener RFP process was a main topic in his cover article of his February, 2018 Smart Libraries Newsletter (“Smarter Libraries through Technology, Customer Relationship Management”, ALA Techsource, February, 2018 (Vol 38, No. 2).
The end result was a new experience both for the libraries and for the vendors who participated in the selection which included both traditional and newer players. This program will explore why the libraries took this approach, how they managed the process, and what they learned from the experience.