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18th April 2013 Sara Lock

Test drive the arts: an introduction

By: Morris Hargreaves McIntyre


The ‘Test Drive the Arts’ concept is about utilising spare capacity in arts venues (which generate nil income) to give potential attenders a ‘taste’ of the product in order to stimulate repeat attendance (and thus generating income in venues where a charge is levied).

This groundbreaking study evaluates performance against objectives including: targeting 25,000 new attenders; testing the concept with diverse new audiences; response and retention rates; benchmark costs; informing a national campaign; and best practice guidelines.

Amongst the group of people who resist and reject arts offers, there is almost certainly a pattern of exclusion by age, social grade and arts experience. However, as most of these people declined to proceed with our screening interview, these patterns are not generally reflected in the outcomes of our projects.

Participants in every age band, from every social grade, of varying past arts experience and of varying distances from the venue attended were in our sample because they had chosen to be there or had been persuaded to be there.

The fact that there was little discernable pattern by any of these factors suggests that the critical response factors are not demographic but psychographic or attitudinal. Whilst there will be demographic correlations which describe groups of respondents and non-respondents it is the attitudinal factors which define them.

| Published:2013

Smart tags: visitors retention frequency demographic campaign capacity audience development attendance