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Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Relationships, not control

I am still basking in the glow of Jim Griffin’s talk at the UKSG annual conference a couple of weeks ago. Jim is a digital music pioneer and was involved with napster some years back.

His points were mainly around the restrictive pricing and bundling of information as compared to the “voluntary” fees for music tracks. But my main takeaway was that relationships and marketing will be the key success driver for scholarly publishing in future, not controlling access to information, and not a product-centric strategy.

He ended to great applause with the already infamous line that as publishers and librarians, “we will have succeeded when our information feels free without being free.”

While I’m big on Agile web development and User-Centered Design, and have dabbled in geek-like fashion in techniques such as gaze plots and heat maps, I specialize in Marketing because I know we really make the difference between people using a product and people loving a product.

Those who use your product/journal/book/website, do so because they really need it. Which is great. But those who love your product/journal/book/website, have had a say over the years in how it works and how it’s packaged. They feel ownership of it, and they feel valued, fulfilled and proud because they helped get it right. They have a relationship with you, and that means they’ve told others.

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