Asking audiences to take a risk – and then practicing what we preach

This blog was posted by Jen Chapman on November 19, 2014 as part of the CultureHive Digital Marketing Academy. You can find out more about the project here.

It’s one thing having a good idea, but something different entirely to make it a reality (and a success).

Having settled on our Buzzfeed style ‘What Type Are You’ online quiz to capture audience data and match quiz-takers to our bespoke audience segments, we now needed to build a quiz that was both fun and reliable.

Like most people working in Marketing, I am afflicted with an occasionally debilitating condition called.. perfectionism. I mean this in jest of course, but being a perfectionist can genuinely stand in the way of making something happen. It is all too easy to obsess over the detail, consult a few people too many and focus on what might go wrong. Let’s face it, none of us can play fast and loose with our marketing budget so if we’re commissioning a large project, the details from start to finish are incredibly important; with ‘What Type Are You’ however, it was preventing us from moving to the next stage.

We had no budget set aside for this and no shiny platform that could do exactly what we wanted. We know all too well that audience segmentation is a science, but working with consultants to help us develop fool proof questions for our quiz felt unrealistic (and costly). In my first action-learning set when I discussed our project with other DMA participants across the country, I was also asked some brilliant questions that made me think about what might trip us up in later stages.

And then I remembered the whole point of DMA – to experiment. Luckily, FACT is experimental by nature and presents exhibitions others would be nervous about, we haAsking ad over our building to new artists and curators to see how they might interpret it, and aren’t afraid to tackle risky subjects. The same ethos applies to our campaigns; we give things a go and see if they are worth continuing with. Just because we were sharing our project with the sector, didn’t mean we had to abandon our approach.

Ultimately, our quiz doesn’t need to be perfect. The proof of this pudding is going to be in discovering whether our approach would be a viable way of segmenting our audiences and developing better communications. We can look at how many people play it (and share it), how many email addresses we are able to collect, and whether our enews open rates and click throughs increase once we roll our newsletters targeted to segments.

If we see evidence that it is something worth pursuing, then we can inject some science and psychology. We can workshop the perfect questions to decide whether someone is ‘Selective Explorer” or a “Tinkerer and Hacker” and we can plan for how we might glean more insight in future by asking even smarter questions that will confirm their approach to taking risk.

You see, risk is the basis of our segmentation model. We know our audiences well enough to confidently say there is no typical FACT visitor, no usual age, postcode or life stage. We don’t want to find out who loves film, or who loves art and keep telling them about more films or more art. Nor do we want to make assumptions of people and predict whether someone will enjoy a piece of our programme based on whether they are a “Silver Screener’, or hold a season ticket for Anfield. FACT is a rich mix of content and people and focus groups have told us that this is why people love us. Our communications challenge is to break up the sometimes-overwhelming amount of content, be smarter about the language we use, and help our audiences to get more out of FACT.

Another thing to remember is that one person’s risk is another person’s digestive biscuit. A risky choice for some of our visitors might be seeing a film with subtitles, or a documentary, for someone else it would be venturing into the extremely intense and physically demanding fog/strobe/sound installation ZEE. We know people visit us because they see us as different and edgy, and they like to associate with that, so we hope to build a better relationship with them, and perhaps help them step out of their comfort zone.


With risk being fairly subjective it feels okay for us to practice what we preach, and take a risk ourselves with this experiment. So we found a website that delivered most of what we needed for a quiz, and armed with the audience personas we developed through research and staff workshops, we put our heads together and began to create our entirely non-scientific questions.

You’ll have to read my next blog to see how that bit went!



1 Comment

  1. […] and email too. After reminding ourselves that DMA is all about experimentation and not perfection (see my previous blog!), the Marketing & Comms team gathered our audience segmentation research and put our quiz-master […]

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *