Spaghetti Research Theory for Librarians & Information Pros
It was a great week at Reprints Desk. We met with new corporate library customers and their customers - researchers and engineers. Additionally, one of those articles that make you say, “Aah, of course” arrived in my inbox courtesy of the Content Management Institute (CMI.) Here’s a brief summary:
CMI Article Summary: The quest to discover perfection.
“A Content Marketing Lesson From the Study of Spaghetti Sauce” begins with excerpts from a Malcolm Gladwell presentation at TED. Mr. Gladwell describes a research experiment done by Howard Moskowitz in the ‘70s. The goal was to find the “perfect” level of sweetness for Diet Pepsi. What formula of Diet Pepsi would be appealing to the largest audience? The findings? There wasn’t one formula for the “perfect” sweetness but, multiple formulas for the “perfect” sweetness.
The findings were later applied to experiments for Prego spaghetti sauce. Forty-five different types of sauce were created. The primary discovery was that Americans preferred one of three groupings of sauce – chunky, plain and spicy. With this knowledge, multiple product lines were developed. The chunky sauce line alone generated more than $600 million in 10 years!
The Take-Away for Information Professionals and Information Service Companies like Reprints Desk
Your equivalent of a successful “chunky” line of spaghetti sauce may be increased end user satisfaction. How do you get to there from here? As an information professional, you serve a diverse set of users - researchers, engineers, medical affairs professionals, and others. Each has different needs, tools and preferred ways of working.
For example, we at Reprints Desk believe you can accomplish this by:
- Not limiting your users to a single type of spaghetti sauce. Within a document delivery service, this may mean providing end users with multiple options for integrating with preferred discovery environments – OVID, ScienceDirect, Web of Science and others.
- Allowing for multiple, flexible order placement methods – email, online order form without required fields and data
What other variables do you believe are important to your end users?
There are many ways to accommodate users and still have standardized processes that achieve the objectives of your company and of your library. The right information services vendor will be your partner. They will help you to your diverse needs and to devise solutions rather than simply pushing their product.
1) There are many types of users
2) It is important to understand the range of their needs & validate a solution and supplier "fit" by securing their input.
3) Be sensitive to user workflows. Just as spaghetti aficionados don’t appreciate being told another sauce is better than their preferred sauce, end users do not appreciate being forced to change behaviors - especially those procedures they deem critical to doing their job effectively.