There are three basic reasons for deciding to buy tickets for a theater, a concert, a film, or a museum exhibition?
These are, in fact, three market segments based on the main reason why the consumer may choose this or that cultural offering. Those reasons are the work itself, the desire to do something with someone, or the environment of the venue (architecture, customer service, sense of belonging).
Some people choose a cultural event for the art itself, with little regard for the other two elements of the cultural product. Quite often, these people prefer to attend alone. They don’t want to have to socialize with others. They want to be able to focus all their attention on the artwork.
For others, the main reason is to be with a loved one or a group of friends. The show itself or the exhibition becomes secondary. The pleasure of being with someone takes precedence over other reasons. We see this with teenagers when it comes to choosing a film. We follow the band no matter what’s on offer.
Finally, especially in big cities where there’s an abundance of choice and a person can’t see everything that interests them, the choice may come down to the place itself. They say, I like this theater, its architecture, its atmosphere. I feel at home surrounded by people like me. Customer service is impeccable. I’m well received. I’m recognized as a subscriber. Between two or three interesting artistic proposals, if I have to make a choice, I choose the one offered in this venue.
When planning a promotional campaign, it’s a good idea to take these three market segments into account, as the emphasis of the message will not be the same. In one case, we’re selling the artwork, in the other we’re encouraging people to bring a friend(s) or we define ourselves as a good place to mingle with friends while enjoying great works of art, and the last, we’re counting on people’s sense of belonging.
François Colbert is MMIAM Codirector, Remi-Marcoux Chair in Arts Management, author of the Book Marketing Culture and the Arts published in 15 langages along its five éditions.
Source: Colbert, François and Danilo C. Dantas. 2019. “Customer Relationships in Arts Marketing: A Review of Key Dimensions in Delivery by Artistic and Cultural Organizations.” International Journal of Arts Management 21, no. 2 (Winter): 5–14. https://www.jstor.org/stable/45221711.
Browse our abridged research articles here.