Ingram Blog

Lessons for Libraries from the Automotive World

By Philip Wallace, Marketing Systems & Content Analyst

Allow me to talk about cars for a bit. I know this blog and site are about books, but I promise you that I am going to tie it all together in relation to library analytics.

I work in marketing technology, but that doesn’t necessarily make me an early adopter in every single facet of my domestic life. I tend to keep my vehicles a rather long time, so buying a new car has become a once-a-decade event for me. It’s like the U.S. Census, something that happens infrequently enough that my frame of reference may not always be as up-to-date as it should be.

Two weekends ago, I bought a new vehicle. It’s pretty basic by 2016’s standards, but it was considerably more tech-oriented than my 2006 had been. It’s not a wired/smart car per se, but it has USB ports for the various types of portable devices. It also came with a GPS system mounted on the dashboard.

Granted, the GPS is not one of the fancier set-ups where everything is tied into the console of the car itself. But, given my baby steps approach to things, I still think it’s pretty cool.

Just days after making my purchase, I took my car down to Atlanta for the Salesforce Connections Digital Marketing Conference. Previously, I relied on Google Maps from my cell phone for travel directions, so I found myself loving the little things that the GPS had to offer for making my journey easier. Maybe it’s not too extraordinary to most, but I appreciated seeing the little signs for gas stations that even identified the brands so that I could plan my fill-ups to fit within my fuel/credit card rewards programs.

At the exciting and inspiring conference, one of the many companies featured in our sessions was General Motors OnStar. My new car doesn’t have a system quite that fancy, but I was dipping my toe in the waters, so the examples grabbed my attention.

OnStar utilizes customer data and marketing tools to develop customized content to match businesses looking for advertising opportunities with the car owners who drive near their locations daily. Granted, targeted digital advertising is nothing new, but the ongoing convergence of multiple technologies ups the ante in terms of precision and relevance.

The tag line from the OnStar presentation that stuck with me was, “I didn't have to go looking for it, because it found me.” That was the ultimate goal for what they wanted their consumers to say – making their daily life easier. These sentiments speak to my philosophy of the digital world, looking for ways to cut to the chase and add tangible value.

Today’s marketplace of content for public libraries seems as crowded and fast-paced as a busy superhighway. Systems serving communities of all sizes find themselves responding to a host of needs and demands that no one could have even anticipated a decade ago. Yet, matching patrons with offerings that fit their particular interests and activities has proven no small task.

Ingram has teamed up with industry leader Edelweiss to offer a library analytics solution. Edelweiss is able to build on its extensive experience in sales data across all sectors of the book business. They have crafted a model to connect librarians with what’s happening both with their peers and among the general reading public.

We may be moving at different speeds on the data highway, but the good news is that solutions can be customized to match individual needs. Why not schedule a demo today?