The HBR post on "How do you value a "free" customer?" got me thinking about where AHSLs put their marketing and outreach efforts. The article discusses the importance of the often neglected customer-customer relationship, such as the relationship between buyers and sellers at auctions - Ebay makes no money from buyers, but they are essential to the success of the company. In libraries, do we have similar buyers and sellers - are students our buyers and faculty our sellers? Who do we and who should we market to?
While I was at Georgetown, the education services team wanted to focus our limited time and resources (and what library isn't limited) where they would have the most impact - so in addition to our direct contact with students throughout the curriculum, we sought ways to foster better information practices among the faculty. The reasoning was that students would be more likely to develop good life-long information seeking behavior if they are surrounded by faculty constantly using good practices throughout their work; and developing one faculty member with great information practices has the potential to significantly impact multiple students' information practices and create better life-long information use.
In libraries, is there an equality of ROI between our buyers and sellers? Can we target certain groups for certain projects and maximize our effectiveness?