Research on Arts Market Segmenting

I’m doing some ground work on our audience segments this month — we had a research firm do market research for us, and identified 2 key segments of the Bay Area general population that resonate most closely with our mission, vision, and overall message.

Now that we have these segments, and a way to sort our constituents into them (a survey they fill out, an algorithm generates the result, the result is an Attribute in our CRM….), there’s no real plan to move forward with this tool!

So I’m putting a meeting of the minds together to identify the following:

  • what is the behavior of people who are in the audience segments in our system now? what tickets have they bought? have they ever been a member? contributed to our annual fund?
  • how do we use this information — the messages that appeal to them (segment) + the types of performances and messages that they respond to (ticket and contribution history) to plan marketing efforts:
    • segmented emails
    • targeted marketing with Google Adwords and Facebook
    • mailings (part of the audience segment includes demographics, which includes location….)
    • key partnerships with organizations that have employees and constituents likely to fall into the segments
    • etc.
  • comprehensive plan to keep surveying and identifying constituents so we can sort them and further refine our behavioral model

I found a great resource from the National Arts Marketing Project to help guide my thinking, since I’m new to the Marketing world at large and the Segmentation world more specifically.

http://namp.americansforthearts.org/sites/default/files/documents/practical-lessons/lesson_3.pdf

This resource is actually incredible and I encourage a deep-dive. Here are my takeaways:

  • Marketing segments attract the right people with the right message through the right media at the right time with the right product at the right price. It creates highly satisfied audiences that keep coming back for more
  • Use segments to make the most of your marketing resources — figure out how each segment responds to which messaging/channel/programming
  • demographics are only a starting point. they describe the “what” makes up a person, not the “how” (critical thinker) “why” (compassionate, optimistic) of a person. for this, you need to add psychographics to your segmentation definition
  • pinpoint the psychographics by identifying your audience’s common needs

And since I’m working with the privilege of having the segments identified for me (based on market research we had conducted on our behalf 2 years ago), I’m particularly interested/grateful for the fact that the article recommends the following next steps, once you’ve defined what characteristics make up your segments:

  • find ways to assign your people to each segment (we do so by asking survey questions and sending the answers through an algorithm given to us by the market research group)
    • but we still need to find the best way to continually collect answers to these questions, and to streamline that algorithm work
    • i’m also interested in analyzing the behavior of the segments we have to see if we can :further: segment/predict behavior based on past behavior
  • Do people in this segment share any particular personality traits? Are they more or less likely than others to be happy? Optimistic? Introspective? Self-confident?
  • How might their personality traits affect your marketing message, or the way you try to reach them?
  • How are people in this segment the same, and how are they different from other audience segments in your population? How can you allow for these similarities and differences in your marketing?
  • Find as many facts as you can find, then flesh out your profile based on experience and an understanding of how the facts fit together.

Tips for analysis of segmented groups:

  • Play the If, Then game — for each fact (i.e. Creative Changemakers prefer the film program to any other program we offer), ask yourself “If this is true, what else is likely?” (i.e. we should lead with film info in emails to them; we should build membership packages with film benefits and market to them; if we got rid of our film program, we would lose support from our base)
  • What do you know about the makeup of the larger demographic? For example, if your segment tends to live in the Mission neighborhood, what do you know about the overall wealth, family makeup, education level, etc. of that neighborhood?
  • Continually ask the “why” behind a fact. (i.e. say Upbeat Engaged tend to be members at the Pay What You Can level, ask why that level appealed to them, why don’t they want the benefits/or can’t afford the other levels, what draws them to that level, how did they find out about it, and what options are there to change it)

The article ends with a fun use-case example to puzzle through, and several worksheets to help you define and survey potential audience segments. I printed out several of those worksheets and started filling them out for the segments that I’m working with now…

 

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