Using action research to inform customer communications

Using action research to inform customer communications

By Su Matthewman


How action research can help an organisation develop a better understanding of its visitors, broaden its audiences and explore new ways of communicating with them. Based on a case study of West Yorkshire Playhouse's recently-launched programme of audience-focused action research.

I’m going to tell you about an interesting journey we are on at West Yorkshire Playhouse, something about where we are now and where we have been and where I think we need to get to.

We are having a very honest debate now about whether we really are the democratic space we set out to be all those years ago and some of the results show that we probably aren’t that space and aren’t attracting the diverse audience we thought we were. So we are at the point now where we are asking far-reaching questions: who are we, what are we about, who are we doing it for?

We know that we need to create a new business model because we have patched up the organisation with different pots of money and different restructures over the years but not in a sustainable way. There is a big question about how the audience fits into this and what they want from us. It is an exciting time but also a scary time – a bit like opening up cans of worms and not being quite sure what is going to crawl out.

Resource type: Case studies | Published: 2013