Segmentation in practice: getting started
Town Hall and Symphony Hall (THSH) in Birmingham are two large-scale receiving venues presenting a variety of performances a year, focused largely on music. After the re-opening of the Town Hall in 2007, the organisation was keen to undertake a comprehensive segmentation of its customer base to better understand its audiences, and to further develop its audience-focused approach to communications. This article was first published in JAM (issue 37 / January 2010).
1. Creating the segments
We began by undertaking behavioural segmentation through data analysis using the box office system. This helped us to define broad segments, based firstly on art form and then on frequency. As we have found that the best predictor of a person’s likelihood of re-attendance is their past behaviour, it made sense to begin the segmentation at this point.
Key to this segmentation was recategorising all THSH’s events into three broad ‘interest strands’ based on the motivation for attendance at the event, rather than a technical art-form definition of it. We found that people were attending largely in one of three interest strands:
- Serious Classical: Western classical music events that appeal to classical music fans, but that have a lower likelihood of appealing to crossover audiences.
- Populist: Mainstream events in all genres that have mass/populist appeal.
- Serious Non-Classical: This is incredibly mixed in terms of genres, but was broadly serious non-Western classical music.
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