Using segmentation to find an audience for The Postal Museum

Using segmentation to find an audience for The Postal Museum

By Morris Hargreaves McIntyre


Morris Hargreaves McIntyre (MHM) take us through how they helped one of London's newest cultural attractions, The Postal Museum, develop audiences for a new and untested concept.

The Postal Museum and Mail Rail is one of London’s newest cultural attractions.

Its immersive exhibitions and underground ride share 500 years of history to tell the surprising story of our first social network. Much of its collection has never been shown publicly before.

"Using Culture Segments allowed us to really get to grips with what our audience was likely to look like based on who was really interested in what we were offering. The result was a hugely successful launch that gave The Postal Museum the best possible start to its operational life."

Harry Huskisson, Head of Marketing, The Postal Museum

The challenge

In 2016, The Postal Museum’s marketing team were preparing to launch an unknown and untested concept on the public. The museum asked Morris Hargreaves McIntyre (MHM) to identify its key audiences, to sense-check the offer and to help target its limited marketing budget as effectively as possible.

The solution

MHM has deep insight into the mindsets and motivations of the London cultural market through our psychographic segmentation system, Culture Segments.

We set about identifying the key Culture Segments for The Postal Museum to target. We used a custom population survey, accompanied and mystery visits to gain further insight into how the museum should engage with these segments. We then tested key messages and used our knowledge of the market to create a marketing timeline for optimum engagement with each target segment.

Our audience research showed The Postal Museum – and particularly the Mail Rail ride - would be a huge hit with community-loving Expression and experience-focused Stimulation.  Segments such as art-essential Essence were really interested in the offer, but only if it provided the sort of experience they liked. It would be difficult to cater them as well as Stimulation and Expression during the launch period. At the other end of the scale, segments such as fun-loving Entertainment just didn’t think it was for them.

The Postal Museum’s marketing team was now armed with a comprehensive marketing strategy from MHM for the museum’s launch period.  The team responded in style, designing a fabulous, award-winning, low-cost campaign that included using street artists to ‘reveal’ the secrets under our feet. The grass roots element of the campaign ticked Expression’s boxes, the opportunity for discovery was music to Stimulation’s ears.

Secret railway street art in Shoreditch. Copyright The Postal Museum.

The outcome

The Postal Museum’s opening year was a runaway success.

More than 198,000 people attended the venue in its first 12 months, comfortably beating its visitor target. All 60,000 tickets for the new Mail Rail ride sold out within days of going on sale.

The Expression and Stimulation-focused marketing messages are working phenomenally well too. Using Culture Segments TagTool, the museum knows 58% of its bookers are from the Expression and Stimulation segments. By comparison, these segments account for only 25% of the UK culture market overall.

The Postal Museum team used MHM strategy and insight brilliantly to fuel its launch. The marketing campaign was the well-deserved winner of the 2018 Museums + Heritage Awards and the museum was a finalist for the Art Fund_ Museum of the Year.

Looking forward, The Postal Museum is working to embed Culture Segments thinking across the whole organisation, from curators and interpretation to the retail team, ensuring all departments have a collective, unified understanding of their audiences.

Resource type: Research | Published: 2019