Redefining audience segmentation
An article, The Unusual Suspects, contextualises arts audience segmentation but also seeks to provide a new model for the 21st century based on key understandings about how audiences want to engage with the arts and how they want to be communicated with. The Culture Segments segmentation model presents eight segments that offer a common language to bridge the understanding of marketers, educators, curators, programmers, interpreters, front of house staff and managers. It helps put visitors at the centre of the discussion and informs strategic choices. Culture Segments helps you operate as a 21st century organisation: vision-led, audience-focused, strategic and personalised.
Segments are the perfect compromise between the audience as a great big homogeneous mass and the audience as a million individuals. Segments group people together in ways that make sense of the market.
But we still seem to be plagued by box office databases clogged up with so-called ‘bookers’ that don’t seem to book; mailings that, despite being forensically targeted, often produce frankly underwhelming response rates and campaigns and media buying that are a tad predictable.
So how do we get from this situation to something that acknowledges the diversity in groups of existing and potential attenders and adopts a differentiated approach? And how do we make sure that this approach makes a real difference to the bottom line?