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Elaine Heumann Gurian
• This was written to help museum staff
sort their users into segments
• consider the needs of each subset
• and the best way to customize their
offerings in order to better serve each
ATTENTION GETTING QUOTES
• “For children’s museums this often means that
the audience has been younger than thought.
For many art museums, the audience has
often been older than thought.” Jeanne
Vergerant, Museum Notes Blog
Wikipedia on Audience Segmentation
• Audience segmentation is a process of dividing people into more similar
subgroups based upon defined criterion such as product usage,
demographics, psychographics, communication behaviors and media
• Audience segmentation is used in commercial marketing so advertisers
can design and tailor products and services that satisfy the targeted
• In social marketing, audiences are segmented into subgroups and
assumed to have similar interests, needs and behavioral patterns and this
assumption allows social marketers to design relevant health or social
messages that influence the people to adopt recommended behaviors.
• Audience segmentation makes campaign efforts more effective when
messages are tailored to the distinct subgroups and more efficient when
the target audience is selected based on their susceptibility and
Criteria from Wikipedia
• Audience segmentation strategy is driven by the goal of
developing criteria that can be used to form homogeneous
clusters. The most common criteria used are demographics
(age, level of education, income, ethnicity and gender) and
geography (region, county, census tract). Since an audience
segment that is derived exclusively from demographics
such as Asian-American youths constitutes a large group
that still has varied beliefs, values and behavior,
demographics may not be sufficient as segmentation
criteria. More sophisticated segmentation strategies use
psychosocial, behavioral and psychographics (personality,
values, attitudes, interests, level of readiness for change
and lifestyles) as variables to categorize audience
• There are all kinds of ethical questions for
using audience segmentation for societal
• We are not using these for that perpose today
but rather to make sure we are delivering
services to different groups so that they can
find user satisfaction in our institutions.
• TAILOR PROGRAMS
• LAYER EXHIBITIONS
• DETERMINE SPACE PLANNING
• DETERMINE APPROPRIATE LEARNING THEORY
• THINK ABOUT APPROPRIATE HOURS, PRICES
• DECIDE ON MARKETING STRATEGY
• DEMOGRAPHICS --THINK ABOUT WHO IS NOT
• APPROPRIATE FUNDRAISING STRATEGIES
No introduction to visitor studies can begin without a basic understanding of market segmentation.… Classic
market segmentation breaks down ‘traditional’ heritage audiences in terms of:
• Demographics, i.e. age, gender, education, class/occupation.
• Family status is heavily used in heritage segmentation, as it can be such a major predictor of behaviour
(dependant; pre-family; family at different stages; older marrieds and empty nesters).
• In the past, ethnic origin has been a rare factor in visitor surveys, but this is changing as museums seek to
respond to the needs of local communities and broaden their audience base.
• Geography, i.e. resident/local, day tripper, national/international tourist.
• Socio-economics —the JICNAR (National Press Joint Industry Committee on National Audiences and
Readership) classification is still the most commonly used by heritage sites and museums in the UK
because it enables comparisons to be made with previous surveys. The groups are classified as:
– A higher managerial, administrative or professional
– B middle managerial, administrative or professional
– C1 supervisory, clerical or managerial
– C2 skilled manual workers
– D semi- and unskilled manual workers
– E pensioners, the unemployed, casual or lowest grade workers.
• Structured educational use, i.e. primary/elementary (to age around 11/12), secondary/ high (aged around
11 to 16/18), student (college/university)
• Special interest, i.e. subject specialist, self-directed learning, booked group, for example, a local history
group. This can also be referred to as a part of behaviouristic segmentation, linking groups of people
according to interest in or relationship with particular subjects/products.
• Psychographic segmentation which relates to lifestyles, opinions, attitudes, etc. This is still infrequently
used, although it is becoming more common to hear references to these terms as museums increasingly
take leisure trends into account.
Edited from Black, Graham, The Engaging Museum: Developing Museums for Visitor
Involvement, Psychology Press, 2005
• Tours and Clubs
• Camps and summer programs
Social groups: (volitional users)
• Cohorts / Friends
Levels of Engagement:
Examples could include:
• Expert / Novice
• Skimmers, dippers, divers
• Number of times visiting this museum.
• Dallas Museum of Art research study based on visitors’ prior art
knowledge and degree of participation in art experiences
– The four visitor clusters—Tentative Observers, Curious Participants,
Discerning Independents, and Committed Enthusiasts—exist within
the three Levels of Engagement, with two clusters in the Commitment
MOTIVATIONS / EXPECTATIONS
• Socializing / congregant behavior.
• Reverential/ spiritual.
• Entertainment, leisure, enjoyment.
• On a personal quest.
• Homework, fulfill an assignment.
• Unique exhibition, blockbuster.
• Good for the family, children.
• Escape from chores.
• Soren, Barbara J. Meeting the Needs of Museum Visitors, in Lord, Gail Dexter and Lord, Barry, The Manual of Museum Planning, Alta Mira, 1999,
By Home Environment
• Small / Large city
• Apartment / home
• Rental / Owned
• Safe / Dangerous Neighborhood
• Using any 10 postcards create an exhibition:
• What is the title, theme and target audience?
• Change the target audience (who is that) and
modify the exhibition to fit the new target
audience. List 3 modificatons.
• Illustrate two layering techniques to
accommodate the needs of two secondary
• Pick one of the segmented audiences that were
illustrated in the Power Point.
• Produce a worksheet for your museums (or one you
choose) listing the categories down one side of a chart
• And fill out the chart describing the following:
– Characteristics of each of the groups
– Type of exhibition that will have special appeal
– Type of program that will have special appeal
– Way to reach them through marketing
– Amenities they need to make their visit comfortable.