May 14, 2015

Nancy Pearl

You know you've made it as a Librarian when you have your own action figure.

Some of you know who Nancy Pearl is ... click here for info via NPR. Or see her interviews with authors on the Seattle Channel (click here).

Ms. Pearl showed up for her session at my local public library, firing on all cylinders. She had a list of more than a dozen books that she recommended we read, and she told us why we should read the books.

The audience, maybe 100 strong, eagerly write down each book on a piece of paper ... a half-dozen or dozen use Amazon to collect the texts.

This is a librarian, folks ... talking about books ... as NPR said, she's become a "rock star".

The lesson: If Nancy Pearl can become a rock star talking about books, your business can be successful. Find somebody who has unbridled passion for your business. Maybe it is your Chief Merchandising Officer (it often is). Maybe it is a Creative Director. Maybe it is somebody in your Call Center. It's probably not you. But please, go find that person, and make sure that person is your version of Nancy Pearl.

Can you name the person in your company that you would trust as your evangelist? And if you can name that person, would you ever consider letting that person go out on the road, like Nancy Pearl does?

P.S.: There was one fascinating moment during the forty minute discussion. At one point, Ms. Pearl was asked about digital reading vs. physical books. She preferred physical books. The majority of the 60+ year old audience applauded. The hero embraced the past, validating the preferences of the audience. This is 100% ok, folks. Nobody should be forced to read something digitally. But let's draw a parallel between this moment, and the craft of catalog marketing. Just because a room of catalog advocates celebrate paper in the short term doesn't mean you cannot expand your business digitally.