How can we develop a deeper understanding of what motivates people to attend or take part in arts and cultural events? Mary Butlin showed AMA conference 2013 delegates how to implement a low-cost research programme to understand audience motivations and shared expertise from a variety of settings for organisations of all sizes. Helen Jones from Octagon Theatre Bolton joined Mary to give an example of a theatre running their insight programme in-house and how it has helped to inform marketing communications and maximise potential for increased ticket sales and funding.
In this instance we’re talking about quantitative research to understand motivations of attenders. There are lots of other ways in which you can understand motivations and we’ll talk briefly about some of those later but initially I’m talking about surveys and quantitative methodology. Within a cultural setting there are four main methodologies that you can consider: post, email, phone and face to face. The thing to remember about all of them is that none of them are perfect and it’s about working out what’s the best solution for your organisation that reaches the best, most robust group of people that’s cost effective and that works within the resourcing that you have within your organisation. You might find that ‘face to face’ is your only option – if you work in a gallery that doesn't do any data collection then ‘face to face’ is going to be your first port of call.