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Email Discussion Forum Excerpts


28 March 2 April, 2003 How can marketing help you to better understand your audiences? How do you convert a single-time visitor into a regular?

The following transcript includes excerpts from the email discussion forum on Audience Research and Segmentation, held in March-April 2003.

Guest specialists Bios

Neil Kotler Dr Neil Kotler joins Deakin University in 2003 as the George Fairfax Fellow in Arts and Entertainment Management. Dr Kotler worked at the Smithsonian Institution for 15 years. He is a seasoned, analytical and creative professional with extensive experience in policy analysis, planning, research, communications and marketing in non-profit associations. He is the author (with his brother, Philip Kotler) of the world's leading textbook on museum marketing, Museum Strategy and Marketing, published by Jossey-Bass in 1998. Paul Harrison Paul lectures in the area of marketing management and strategic marketing at Deakin University, Australia. He has a background as a marketer and manager in the arts, government and private industry. Prior to entering marketing management, he had a career as an opera singer with Victoria State Opera, Melbourne Theatre Company and the Australian Opera. Paul's particular expertise is investigating how marketing impacts upon the product portfolio developed by non-profit and cultural organisations (and individuals) and, through that, the evaluation of the products by target markets. In particular, Paul is investigating how internal organisational subcultures and external consumer segments integrate through the product portfolio. Heath McDonald Heath is Executive Director of the Centre for Business Research at Deakin University, Australia and a senior lecturer in marketing. Ruth Rentschler Associate Professor Ruth Rentschler (PhD, Monash) is Director Arts & Entertainment Management Program and Associate Head of School, Bowater School of Management and Marketing, Deakin University, Australia. She has authored numerous books and articles in the cultural field, including The Entrepreneurial Arts Leader. Her particular interest is in segmenting arts audiences so that they are better understood.

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Discussion Threads
The discussion was based around the following issues: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Why are we collecting data? Spill effects Audience Differentiation Related Online Resources Segmentation Based on Ethnicity Marketing to segments on a tight budget Problems with segmentation Segmenting to tap into new audiences

1. Why are we collecting data?

From: "David Brien" Date: Friday, 28 March 2003 10:36 AM

I think this is a great discussion to have but after spending some months researching the box office one thing does concern me. Are we making the growth and harvesting of marketing data the goal instead of one of the tools? Are we going down the path where it doesn't matter what the product is so long as we build the market and get the information in? Can we forget that we are in the performing arts and that our product is really people performing? Or ultimately is there no difference between Chunky move and chunky beef?

2. Spill effects
From: "Zane Trow" Date: Monday, 31 March 2003 2:04 PM

The Americans are doing quite a lot of segmentation at the moment, especially with clustering their product into inner city areas. Although sometimes a targeting strategy seems to spill over into other segments? Like small children for example. I would have thought we need some research into this. A few "spill effect" focus groups might give us some indications of whether or not those actually affected by spill will return for further product engagement. Perhaps they'll even become subscribers eventually. Get 'em young.

3. Audience Differentiation
From: rr Date: Friday, 28 March 2003 3:43 PM

Dear Fuellers, Audience segmentation is new to the arts. Marketing is traditionally seen in terms of audience goers and non-goers, without differentiating between the types of
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goes. Discussions and research with performing arts organisations have shown that subscribers, for example, are quite a different group from single ticket purchasers. What have you found in your arts organisation? In what ways are museums different and/or similar to performing arts organisations? Ruth Rentschler

From: "rob hall" Date: Friday, 28 March 2003 4:22 PM

Dear Fueller Segments, As I think we all notice in daily life, people tend to differ in a number of ways some people are more comfortable with the familiar, others savour the new; some thrive on company, others lurk in the corner as quiet observers. These attributes of 'openness to new experience, 'introversion' (or its opposite), and a few others can form the basis of a useful segmentation of the 'cultural audience'. We have collected data over the past decade that shows interesting distinctions between museum goers and non-goers (and between frequent goers and reluctant goers). These findings raise some fascinating comparisons between people who like abstract ideas and enjoy 'populating' museum exhibits with their own imaginings, and people who are more comfortable "...with the facts" and who might be called 'more concrete' in the way they engage with the world. Which group do you think wants objects in exhibits refurbished and made like new....? This kind of segmentation (sometimes talked about in marketingese as "psychographic segmentation" in contrast to "demographic segmentation") extends beyond museums, of course. Happy to share some findings with any interested segments Rob
From: Dr Neil Kotler Date: Wednesday, 2 April 2003 5:24 PM

Museums today can be viewed in a transitional stage between the traditional elitist institutions of the past, on the one hand, and evolving new forms of visitor experience and participation, on the other. Museums are preoccupied with raising funds, given their expansions along with the distressed economies in the U.S. and in the rest of the world. Building audiences is a major means to generate income. Marketing's insight into consumer segments is a helpful tool in building audiences. However, even when the income challenge is successfully met, museums still face several other serious challenges. Competition among players in the recreational and educational marketplaces, is one of the most serious challenges facing museums. Stay-at-home behaviors are one form of museum avoidance. Increases in the number of museums put
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pressure on existing museums. But the greatest competitive pressure comes from the mega-entertainment corporations that seek to capture the largest share possible of the discretionary time and income people devote to leisure activity (and leisure time is diminishing). The massive resources of Sony, Viacom, Disney, Time Warner, and Universal cannot be matched by museums. On the other hand, museums have distinctive resources to offer: treasures; authenticity; interpretative authority; a sense of community; and a safe, secure environment. Another serious challenge for museums, is providing a good balance between recreation and education. Surveys indicate that many museum visitors spend as much time in the gift shops and restaurants as they do in the galleries. Museums have to provide first-rate services: ample seating, safe and security parking and physical access to the museum, premium restaurants, high-quality merchandise in the shops, and clean restrooms. These services, according to visitor surveys, are as vividly remembered as the exhibitions and programs. Museums face the challenge of converting single-time visitors to active visitors, members, and donors. A docent I met at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts summed up the situation succinctly. This woman was an active participant in the museum since her youth. At some point she decided to become a member. The museum invited her afterwards to volunteer and become a docent. Years of satisfying work as a docent led the woman to tell me: 'when I pass on, I will leave my entire estate to the museum. It has become my home.' Yet another museum challenge is building an audience that is diverse, representative of the community, having a sense of community, and that has an investment in the museum, so that when the museum encounters problems, it can call upon the community for support. As part of community-building museum leaders have to do more to attract young people. Creating youth programs and activities, giving youth roles as assistants to the staff; establishing a club, offering summer camps for children are ways to appeal to young people. In meeting these challenges, museum directors and staff have assumed a far more proactive role than in the past. Directors today leave very little to chance. 4. Related Online Resources
From: "Sutherland, Cassy" Date: Friday, 28 March 2003 1:17 PM

I found the World is your Audience, an Australia Council publication really helpful and downloadable on their website and the audience development section has some resources that are also helpful.

From: "Producer" Date: Friday, 28 March 2003 10:41 AM fuellers may be interested in this paper given by Dr Neil Kotler at International Council of Museums Marketing & Public Relations Committee, Mexico City, November 4, 2002 It looks at:
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1) Marketing to a Global Audience 2) Cultural Tourism 3) Membership and Patronage Cheers Tess

From: "Producer" Date: Wednesday, 2 April 2003 5:58 PM

Dear fuellers has published the paper given by Dr Neil Kotler on 'Creativity and Interactivity: New Ways to Experience, Market And Manage Museums' at Deakin University, Bowater School of Management and Marketing, Melbourne, Australia March 27, 2003. Available at: From the abstract: Museums are nonprofit organisations, which have undergone significant change in recent decades. Today, museums are visitor-centred rather than collection-centred. As a result of this shift to visitor concerns, museums focus on visitor experiences and services and whether these mesh with visitor needs and expectations. Marketing has played a role in this modernisation. At the same time, museums face growing competition in the recreational and educational marketplace. Huge multi-national companies, such as Time Warner and Disney, aim to capture the largest share of discretionary time and income that the public devotes to leisure activity. Museums, with few exceptions, cannot match these commercial resources. So how do museums link creativity and interactivity to explore new ways for visitors to experience museums? How do museums compete? It's a goodi! Cheers Tess Dryza

5. Segmentation Based on Ethnicity

From: "Adelaide Fringe" Date: Friday, 28 March 2003 11:20 AM

I am interested in marketing to specific ethnic groups - as potential artists and also broadening our audience base (engage and encourage to take a risk). I have read/researched Kurin's (Smithsonian Institution) views in terms of cultural brokerage - Can you offer any suggestions or further readings about how to reach and engage with specific ethnic groups?

From: "Wendy West" Date: Friday, 28 March 2003 12:41 PM

I don't know about Adelaide but in Melbourne we have councils that have community booklets which are a great source of information. If not the
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local councils liaison officers are always helpful. W

From: "Helen Robinson" Date: Friday, 28 March 2003 1:17 PM

Adelaide (or SA) has the Directory of Community Services. See for information. The book is $44 however you can buy the licensed CD which provides mailing list extracts etc... There's also the freely searchable website (the book online) cheers, Helen

From: "Lexcia Dalton" Date: Monday, 31 March 2003 2:06 PM

Arts Queensland has produced a booklet "Beat a Different Drum" on marketing for cultural diversity. Check out their website or give them a buzz and they'll send you a hard copy. Lexcia

From: "Astrid van den Akker-Luttmer" Date: Thursday, 3 April 2003 8:33 AM

Hi, Astrid here, in Geelong. My background is Dutch and my ex-husband has always been busy playing in the various social clubs, such as the Dutch, German, Latvian, Danish, Italian etc. They are easy to talk to. You can find them in the phone books, or get information from the information desk in the various civic centers from local councils etc. Good luck Astrid..

6. Marketing to segments on a tight budget

From: "Paloma Rahn" < Date: Monday, 31 March 2003 10:21 AM

Dear fuellers We are a medium sized, cross artform space. We have an extremely limited annual marketing budget. I am interested to hear particularly from the guest specialists about the value of just focussing our tight resources on one new audience segment rather than trying to spread $3000 across a broader range of audience research and strategies. We are looking at doing less but in a better, more focussed way with our marketing approach.

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Also - do you have good examples of audience segment development and ongoing loyalty programs?

From: Paul Harrison Date: Monday, 31 March 2003 11:25 AM

Dear Paloma The difficulty with segmentation is that it works best to identify those who are least likely to participate in an exchange (buy a product or visit an art space). This works best when the market for your product is fairly large and you can afford to ignore certain segments. In addition, we all know that people are complicated, and just because they belong to a particular segment, which has been identified by management, they will not necessarily behave the way we want them to. This isn't meant to rule out segmentation as an option outright, I just think it is important to understand the limitations of segmentation, as well as the benefits. Because you are a cross-artform space, I assume that you are heavily focused on the art being displayed, and would feel uncomfortable directing your artists to adapt their art to suit a particular market segment. Again, this complicates the issue, but does not prevent some creative use of marketing. I will base my advice on the assumption that you are a display space, rather than a commercial gallery. I will assume that $3000 is your total marketing budget, including research, advertising, loyalty programs, marketing plan development etc. My approach would be twofold: a) do an environmental scan of your marketplace, taking into particular account factors such as the competition from your target market's perspective. b) spend some of the budget on finding out more information about your current users, such as why they visit your particular space, how motivated they are to visit your space and not others. Make sure that you write down, or record this feedback in some formal way, so that you can come back to it later. Ring past visitors, who have not returned. Be honest to yourself, and take the criticism as objectively as possible. Even this information could give you some guidance as to how to develop a more targeted strategy. One thing that you also need to consider is whether you are able to grow the market for your art space. Why do you believe that there is "one new audience segment" that you haven't already reached? Or is this wishful thinking? If you have tried advertising in the past, try to find out where people are getting their information about your gallery. Advertising may not be the most efficient use of your scarce marketing resources. Because you are medium-sized organisation, developing real loyalty is probably your best bet. Loyalty programs such as Frequent Flyers, Fly Buys, or even buy 6 coffees and get one free, tend to be pricing promotions rather than loyalty programs. Some of the writing on relationship marketing might be helpful in giving guidance to relationship development. You might like to read some relationship marketing books. Evert Gummesson, Christian Gronroos and Adrian Payne are three authors worth considering. See
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if you can get a copy of Neil and Phillip Kotler's book as well. This may also give you some guidance. I also wrote a very short article in Smarts magazine back in 1999 about developing long-term relationships with your customers. You may be able to get a copy on the Department of Communications, IT and the Arts website, or at the OzCo library. The article was called "Sacrificing integrity isn't compulsory in marketing." Keep in mind that this advice is based on a fairly small amount of information, and I have had to make a number of generalisations. Try to gather more information, and make the decision based on the specifics of your organisation. I hope that this is helpful. Paul Harrison

From: "Paloma Rahn" Date: Monday, 31 March 2003 11:43 AM

Dear Paul Thank you for your prompt reply. You are correct in your assumption that we are a non-commercial space and would not wish to ask our artists to change their product to target a particular audience however what we have considered is getting better at communicating where the artist is coming from to our audiences so that they can build stronger relationships with 'the art' and our venue as a result. We have done some focus groups and identified a number of segments that offer potential to grow however we do not have the resources - financial or people - to allocate to grow all potential audiences so have decided to focus on the most promising group in the next 12 months. We had considered relationship marketing as the best way to go and have a few ideas for how to create a target program of activity and use our website, targeted email and improved servicing to create a greater connection with this segment. I guess I am keen to hear about any other successful strategies or tactics that have been tried in this kind of context.

From: "rob hall"

Paul has made some interesting observations about segmentation. Some of them I do not agree with, and so I thought it might further the discussion if I annotated one of Paul's responses with some counter views. (Robs responses to Pauls comments appear in italics below) > This from Paul Harrison: > Dear Paloma > The difficulty with segmentation is that it works best to identify those who are least likely to participate in an exchange (buy a product or visit an art space). I don't agree with this "asymmetry" of segmentation. First of all, there is not, in my view, a single form of 'segmentation', so to say that segmentation (unspecified) results in a general outcome is not very helpful.
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In my experience, some kinds segmentation can be quite sensitive in differentiating audiencesand I am not talking about the trivial case of sorting people into 'users' and 'non-users'. Psychographic segmentation, for example, can be very helpful in identifying and helping understand the drivers for frequent attendance/participation. > This works best when the market for your product is fairly large and you can afford to ignore certain segments. I am not sure that ignoring segments is the best way to think about the outcome of a segmentation exercise. If segments are seen as being along a continuum from core (enthusiastic) potential audience to peripheral (i.e. hard and expensive to reach) potential audience, then the question becomes one of how cost efficient it is to try and stretch a limited budget across the total population compared with focussing on the 'reachable' parts of the continuum. > In addition, we all know that people are complicated, and just because they belong to a particular segment, which has been identified by management, they will not necessarily behave the way we want them to. This sounds as if the segments are prescribed a priori by the management. Isn't the idea to use some kind of empirical data to develop the segmentation. Also, there is nothing about segmentation that says all members of a segment have to act in the same way. It is useful if what they have in common is enough for us to use as an efficient basis for planning communication, for example. > This isn't meant to rule out segmentation as an option outright, I just think it is important to understand the limitations of segmentation, as well as the benefits. I agree entirely. I just think we need to be clear in spelling out what it is we are talking about when using terms like 'segmentation'. Rob

From: Heath McDonald Date: Tuesday, 15 April 2003 2:55 PM

The problem of having a limited marketing budget is understandably common. Unfortunately though, it often stems from the organisations having the view that marketing expenditure is a cost rather than an investment. Not many businesses are able to grow without ever going into debt. Trying to "spread" a budget of $3000 doesn't make much sense, given that any new segment targeted will most likely have a low level of awareness of your organisation - and this can be very costly to increase. Obviously awareness precedes any other consumer actions, like purchase. If I had such a limited budget I would consider one of two things: 1. a "member get member" program where customers are encouraged to actively spread word-of-mouth and bring new people into the organisation. Special events where the entry "fee" is simply to bring someone new can work if your organisation then makes the effort to collect contact details and follow the new-comers up.
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2. researching and targeting lapsed members / customers. These people know you're organisation, and have previously expressed interest in it - so they are the most susceptible to future approaches (and therefore the most costeffective). The groundwork has already been done with this group. Past research shows that forgetfulness and procrastination are the amongst the main reasons customers don't return, often more so than dissatisfaction with the service offering. As for loyalty programs, one issue to be aware of is that any reward tied to behaviour (e.g. attendance) often rewards those customers who, by definition, are already highly loyal. In essence you spend a lot of money rewarding the customers who are already behaving as you would want. Targeted programs to increase positive behaviours amongst low attending groups (e.g. student discounts) can make a lot more sense. Of course, as we are finding in most markets, consumers are not "loyal". Over the course of any given year a consumer will purchase from a repertoire of competing brands, although they may have a distinct favourite (e.g. I like Illy coffee, but on campus they only serve Grinders). So whilst we may hope to gain a greater share of a customers entertainment expenditure, they will never be "loyal" to one particular product or provider. Teamwork with "competitors" may be a more effective way to increase consumer spending on the product category as a whole, rather than focus on getting a bigger share of a smaller market.

7. Problems with segmentation

From: "Producer" Date: Friday, 28 March 2003 4:46 PM

From Paul Harrison: Segmentation isn't very helpful in the multifaceted, consumption-centered, hyperreal, fragmented, contemporary marketplace. Perhaps an open, untargeted, ill-precise, confused, contradictory and leaky marketing strategy is the best way to reach the so-called segment of one, especially in the creative world of the arts. Paul Harrison Deakin University
From: "Merryn Carter" Date: Monday, 31 March 2003 11:42 AM

Paul Youve raised the key question about segmentation, from my point of view: segmentation might be fascinating to analyse, but if it doesn't help us with our marketing, what's the point? I want to segment my audience to understand better (a) how to reach more like them, and (b) what will make them want to come back. I then want to design my marketing materials to communicate with them better. One of the constraints is budget: if the segments are too small, it may not be worth customising the marketing campaign, relative to the return. It depends upon why you want to reach that particular segment... Merryn
From: "Paul Harrison" Published at May 2003 19 May 2003, Page 10 of arts + markets + audiences tools & ideas to take your work further Date: Monday, 31 March 2003 12:46 PM

Merryn As I said in my response to Paloma, segmentation works best as a tool to avoid the delivery of the marketing strategy to people outside the target audience. As we know, even when we place an ad in a highly targeted media, our target audience has to select the media, then perceive, then make the effort to remember it, and then, finally, act on it. In addition to the work the Centre for Business Research at Deakin is doing in the area of satisfaction, segmentation and business performance outcomes, there is also some very good research that moves beyond the behaviour and decision oriented segmentation approach, to investigate motivations to participate in the arts. Garbarino and Johnson (1999) wrote a very good article in the Journal of Marketing that looked at the role of commitment and trust among regular and non-regular audience members in a US repertory theatre company. All this type of information contributes to our understanding of the complexities of our audiences. Paul

From: "Merryn Carter" Date: Monday, 31 March 2003 2:05 PM

Paul Those are the exact areas we're investigating here at MTC: audience satisfaction and motivations. And how they differ for subscribers, repeat single ticket buyers, and first-timers Merryn

From: "David Fussell" Date: Monday, 31 March 2003 2:07 PM

Segmentation: trying to think actual people into cross-populous groups long enough to substantially sell them something. A 'relationship' with a large group of people, your audience, can I'd argue, only ever be unnatural and muted. Sorry I'm a born cynic. I stop thinking segments in terms of 'whole, albeit diverse, people' in groups, marketing instead to part-satisfactions; i.e. to those urges people want satisfied through culture and the arts. For example, desire to engage in crowd behaviour, to lose oneself in a crowd experience with like minds or, an anonymous public, to engage in social ritual, or to satisfy ritual urges with key cultural attributes such as contact with a new interface, immersion in challenging or imaginary activity and enjoying luxury/pampering. Segments are then re-defined by the degree, colour, kind and order of desires people direct at the arts. The 'relationship' is with a shared urge for specific satisfactions. Marketing, is then concerned with detailing the versions, variations and unfoldings of that satisfaction for the then, non-targeted audience to which Paul is referring. And dually, re-mapping 'demographics' across 'proclivities', away from existing broad social identities.

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I'd be interested to hear response from speakers as my experience leans towards cultural theory rather than marketing. I'd be happy to layout examples if requested. -Thanks David @ AWESOME ARTS AUSTRALIA

From: "Paul Harrison" Date: Tuesday, 1 April 2003 5:07 PM

I'm not a racist but... I am a big fan of segmentation in its myriad of forms. It's all helpful. Demographics, Psychographics, Socioeconomic, Personality, Lifestyle, Values, Interests, Behavioural, Loyalty, and any others that you may care to come up with. The idea of being able to place people in neat little boxes based on a range of characteristics is instinctively appealing. We do it all the time - Battlers, Boguns, North Shories, Booners, Yoof, Wannabes, DINKS, Pinks, Punks, Generation Z, Lawyers... And we also move around groups, aspire to belong to different groups, behave out of character, are motivated to do something then do the exact opposite. We're twice as smart as the people of Shelbyville. Just tell us your idea and we'll vote for it.. My experience is that consumption of anything - the arts, culture, fast food, public transport, hardware stores - seems to be highly contingent. Contingent on weather, the product, location, mood, who we're with, alarm clocks, etc. In addition, responding to a questionnaire trying to identify segments, is also highly contingent, e.g. whether the respondent is answering truthfully, or even believes that they are answering truthfully, the values and assumptions that lead to the composition of the questions. As such, it seems that no single form of classification, despite its nuances or degrees of analysis, can fully account for all these contingencies. Give 'em the old razzle dazzle... What's more, I suspect that most artists and arts organisations already have a pretty good understanding of their most valuable segments. The issue is whether statistical models, however sophisticated, can do better. That is partly what this debate is about. And another thing... Segmentation bases have to be determined by management, researchers or marketers. It is management (or the research company) that comes up with the questions to be posed, so that statistics can analyse the raw data. It is the subjective, albeit experienced, members of the research team that utilise a particular instrument to measure segment bases (regardless of the method being used), it is statisticians who decide on the method of analysis and levels of reliability, and it is marketers who come up with classification terms such as believers, innovators, strivers, older male, younger female, etc. Please don't let me be misunderstood...
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I am not criticising segmentation (in all its myriad forms) per se, I just get nervous when we start talking in absolutist terms, or one best way. Segmentation, whether statistically or intuitively devised, is one of the many tools that marketers have available to help them make better strategic decisions. 'Nuff said! Can we build a bridge..?

From: "Keith Diggle" Date: Wednesday, 16 April 2003 10:44 AM

How is it that the name Danny Newman features hardly at all - if ever - in these exchanges? Danny, now 83 and still going strong, is the greatest audience developer/arts marketer of all time. If you haven't heard of him then go to and click on to Dynamic Subscription Promotion. Newman doesn't use words like 'segmentation'. He doesn't even use words like 'marketing' which he still maintains is what you do when you go shopping. However, the practice he advocates implicitly recognises all the essential marketing elements. If he is going to start an audience building campaign, of course he will look for evidence of previous attenders and will focus some of his attention on these people; but he wants more than this; he wants those 'intenders'. That's as far as his segmentation thinking goes. A classic Newman introductory campaign will put a brochure into every house in the community. How selective is that? It is selective in that the message conveyed by the brochure is selective. The segmentation happens because of the way the message is expressed and the way it is perceived. Look at it this way. You want to attract Latvians. You don't know where they live. You put a brochure in every house in the community - written in Latvian. Those who respond will be Latvian. You have defined much of your Latvian segment within the community. The right message reaches the right people. Yes, it's expensive but you don't waste time and money conducting research which, as often as not, will come up with some strange notion such as there is a correlation between a love of poetry and ownership of VW cars. Pursue the cost argument and Newman will then tell you that you should be selling tickets not to one show but to a dozen - so you have so much more income now you can afford it. Is this simplistic? Yes it is. But if it's simplistic and wrong how is it that Philadelphia's historic Walnut Street Theater has just celebrated the 57,000th subscription sold this year? Can any fuellers match this? Keith Diggle

8. Segmenting to tap into new audiences

From: "Kate Daellenbach" Date: Monday, 31 March 2003 8:45 AM

My unexpert thought is that many organisations do actually segment to some

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extent - perhaps more than is officially noted. Certainly we start to "fish where the fish are" and focus on our primary audience - but a new work often forces us to look to a new audience - maybe a contemporary piece calls out for a greater presence with younger audiences for example. Also, many organisations run education programmes - targeting another segment and hopefully gaining future audiences. Though it is often more haphazard than might be ideal, I think it is done more than we realise. A good exercise is to look at a few campaigns in hindsight, look for new audiences that were sought - and what was achieved, and improve future efforts -- on to learning. Years ago I read a very good article in a book "Marketing the Arts" have long since misplaced this, but would love to find it again. The article talked about 3 activites which should be applied to the marketing strategy: - audience development (define the existing audience segments, and look for more of the same) - audience expansion (new audiences - new demographic perhaps, or geography ...) - audience enhancement (activities to make the audience realise what a good decision they made ... house programme, theatre atmosphere, seating, parking ...)
from: "Keith Diggle" Date: Thursday, 3 April 2003 8:35 AM

In response to Kate Daellenbach's message - and those of other Fuellers I do believe that that the most effective way of addressing the matter of the audience you can get NOW (and you have to think if it this way because time is never on your side in the arts) is to see your community in terms of its current attitudes and recent behaviour towards artistic activities of the kind that you produce/present. See it as a target where the bullseye is the ATTENDERS. These are people who have a favourable attitude towards what you going to try to sell them and have a recent history of buying. These are your fish. They may be your fish caught on previous fishing expeditions. They be other people's fish. These people have certain tastes, habits, educational levels, aspirations - whatever. They will understand your language and be sympathetic to what you are offering. They are great people and you must nurture them. The inner ring that surrounds the bullseye represents the INTENDERS. These people have almost identical characteristics to the Attenders but they haven't actually attended - either recently or at all. You may have a harder job selling to Intenders because you don't know where they are but because of those almost identical characteristics they will understand your language and you can probably reach them via the same media you use for the Attenders - but mailing lists will be harder to compile or source. With Intenders the fishing is more difficult but ultimately they'll take the same bait. The next ring of the target I term the INDIFFERENT. Your tool for these folk is PR because their attitudes are not favourable to what you have to sell and so you will never sell to them - until you change their attitudes. PR changes attitudes. The outer ring are the HOSTILES. Forget 'em. Unless you are a missionary and enjoy the sensation of being boiled alive. This simple view is the best form of segmentation I have ever come across. Kate, I published a book called 'Marketing the Arts' in 1976 but I didn't say what you said it said. It must have been another book. Why not take a look at That's a
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somewhat more recent work of mine. Keith Diggle

From: "RUTH RENTSCHLER" Date: Thursday, 3 April 2003 10:12 AM

Keith, Your direct view expresses some practical approaches to audience development. With scarce resources, arts companies really have to think hard as to where they put their dollars. Mostly, targeting audience niches (such as youth, multicultural) are done with a special grant. I don't want you to get the wrong idea: I really strongly support multicultural and other forms of niche marketing - in fact it is a particular interest of mine. But it can take a lot of money and a lot of effort for not a lot of increase on a permanent basis for your audience. There is a good case study of targeting youth audiences in the book Rentschler 1999 Innovative Arts Marketing on the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Have a look at it as the principles apply across niches. Ruth

From: Tess Dryza

The MSO / Youth Audiences case study Ruth mentions above is available at:

From: "Pippa Davis" Date: Friday, 4 April 2003 11:05 AM

If an employer is someone who employs other people and an employee is the one who works for the employer then an attendee is the one who attends and an attender ?...however a worker is one who works so an attender is one who attends and I ain't ever heard of a workee....I think....hell I don't know but I do know who a bar tender is ... line up another! Pippa

From: "Penn Trevella" Date: Thursday, 3 April 2003 9:56 AM

Hi All Thanks for the stimulating discussion. Yesterday I printed out all the emails and took them all home to read over and digest. I found the emails to be lively and interesting but would have liked to have seen more discussion earlier on about what segmentation actually is, how it can be done, and how it can be realistically used to enable organisations to effectively grow their audiences. One of the great things about being involved in the arts industry is the diverse backgrounds of the people we get to work with. Everybody has strengths that they are able to contribute. However, not everybody has the marketing

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background and experience to be able to grasp the importance of terms and processes such as segmentation & targeting. Lets keep it simple and keep it focused. We all have limited time and resources. How does audience segmentation enable marketers to develop specific strategies to grow their audiences? In simple terms, segmentation is dividing the audience by what they have in common. At the most basic level we're talking attendees and non attendees. I would always advise organisations that unless they have a firm grasp on their current audience it is pointless pursuing new audience groups. By working through basic questions about our current audience - how often do they attend, why do they attend, what do they have in common with each other, how do they know about us & what we do? - things begin to become a little clearer and groups of people with similar characteristics begin to emerge. With that type of background it becomes considerably easier to begin thinking about potential audience groups. Penn

From: "Heath Mc Donald" Date: Tuesday, 15 April 2003 2:12 PM

Penn's comments reflect, in many ways, what the latest in research is showing us. Segmentation makes sense on a broad level - we need to aggregate our consumers so that we can effective allocate limited resources. Developing media strategies, for exmaple, relies upon knowing how our customers match the customers (readers / viewers) of various media channels (e.g. newspapers, TV shows). In practice though, complex segmentation efforts are of little value to most SME's, who lack the resources to run multi-faceted marketing programs. I share the cynicism of many other contributors to this list about many audience segmentation approaches. Recent research into FMCG's and services like banking has shown that users of competitive brands hardly differ on common segmentation basis (e.g. age, income, attitudes). Your customers form either a large, unsegmented mass-market or large sub-market, and are unlikely to be very different from those of others who offer the same service / products. However, as has been pointed out, past behaviour is the most accurate predictor of future behaviour. Segmentation along behavioural lines is therefore proving to be the most sensible approach. Profile who currently uses your product, and you will get a good look at who will buy it in the future. Understanding how your "heavy" users differ from your 'light" users, gives great insight into how marketing offerings should be tailored, and what can be done to both attract new, similar customers and increase the patronage of those you already have.

From: "Roger Tomlinson" Date: Friday, 4 April 2003 9:12 AM

Dear Fuellers
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Keith and Penn have in my view rightly focussed this debate on the practical. Someone said early in the discussion that segmentation was new to the arts well I am aware of its practice for more than 25 years. And it is true that 'state of the art' ticketing and marketing systems enable arts organisations to segment their audiences easily on recency, frequency and value and the character of events attended. In the UK most arts organisations are profiling their lists on this basis to reduce the cost of direct marketing, target it appropriately and so they can tailor the content to the recipient. Most arts organisations unwittingly segment their potential audiences every day. When they write a piece of copy, decide on an image, choose a heading, they segment by age, by vocabulary, by prior knowledge, by style and tone of voice. When they decide where to place ads or distribute print, they segment again. This is the segmentation by which arts organisations give the public the information which persuades the majority of them not to attend. We need to segment if appropriate so that we give the messages which match the age, lifestyle, interests of the potential attenders. The same event might attract students (18-26), young families, the middle aged, pensioners. Can you describe the event effectively in the same vocabulary to all of these? Will they be interested in the same things in going to it? Will they have the same values in interpreting why they should attend? We ought to be saying something different to someone who attends once or twice a year in contrast to a regular frequent attender (The Diggle Intender/Attender split is the classic definition of this - what is it that arts organisations do which makes so many people Intenders?). We certainly need to say something different to a potential new attender I know what a bank is but if I sign up with one they give me a welcome pack and a complete explanation of their ways of doing business because this is the start of a lifetime relationship; ever been welcomed as a new attender at an arts organisation.... Roger Roger Tomlinson

From: "Judith James" Date: Tuesday, 15 April 2003 2:57 PM

Hi fuellers Segmentation certainly isn't new. And, I agree with Roger, a lot of segmentation comes about instinctively . "These kinds of people will like this kind of work", judgements (sometimes research based, sometimes pure gut). For many organisations the 'intender' 'attender' segments will not be sufficiently targeted (segmented) because many organisations offer terrific diversity of art and experiences. They may have several tribes or segments within their attenders and intenders. Long ago - pre-computers (dinosaur I hear you groan) - we had our segmentation strategies lined up against the wall in big fat files. From memory, office slang named these:
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brown rice mob (pre New Age but similar - health, fitness, spiritual etc) adventurers and collectors (risktakers, innovators, want the new, the first and the rare etc) activists (politically and socially aware) ... and so on Each time a campaign included one of these segments, the file was updated with new contacts (clubs, associations, member groups, etc), new media outlets, more attender lists, special offers made (and results of), and so on. This is segmentation of a kind - but certainly not as scientific as it could/should have been. Here is the Judith James take on SEGMENTATION Market segmentation groups buyers or potential buyers by demographics, attitudes, behaviour, lifestyles or lifestage Few organisations are limited to one segment. Through an understanding of the segments we can... - identify those segments most likely to respond to our offer - design an approach and a promotional mix that delivers the best response rate across the identified segments OR - change buying behaviour of those in particular segment/s through a combination of product development and promotional activity. The CORE of your campaign (or marketing strategy) will focus on aspects of the product that will appeal to as MANY segments as possible. But there should still be room for other more tightly targeted approaches. I have, for example, produced a flier for the cognoscenti (the inner circle, those in the know) and one for the 'collectors and adventurers' (my own 'unscientific' description of the key motivators for attendance to certain kinds of work), for example. Youth research I conducted recently for Live Tasmania found the youth market could be divided into four broad segments, clustered according to attitudes, behaviour and lifestyle. Some strategies worked across all segments, others focused on one or two of the segments. 1. Constrained by peer group Those people who would go out to theatre more if their friends wanted to go too. 2. Stay-at-homes (a toughie) Those people who prefer to stay at home with friends. 3. Socially active Those people who like to go to parties and clubs as often as possible 4. Culturally active Those people who are regular theatre goers, enjoy creative leisure (ie being creative themselves) or prefer cultural leisure I could go on... but I won't. But it was a fascinating project.

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Yes keep it simple... but not so simple (ie broad) that the segmentation loses, dare I say it, focus! Judith James

From: "RUTH RENTSCHLER" Date: Thursday, 3 April 2003 10:38 AM

Hello Penn, I'm interested in your interest in audience segmentation. Through our Centre for Business Research at Deakin University, we specialise in audience segmentation studies for the arts and for sport and other leisure areas. There are similarities in issues across the sectors, with most money going to the core business, i.e. the artists or the sports 'starts' and little for administration, research and marketing. Audiences can be segmented in a variety of ways - the most common is goers and non-goers, but we have broken segments down into members (different types), satisfaction and motivation of different types of members, and such like. We've worked with museums and performing arts organisations. On a personal level, I am really interested in what is happening in New Zealand in your vibrant cultural life and its organisations. I was over there last year and had a look at five museums and their audience research activities. It is fascinating how far they have come in only a decade, with all of them having an audience focus to their visitor studies. Ruth

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