Marketing: Research

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Jo Clarke: I do tend to be involved at the start, usually with my audience development hat on, looking at which specific audience groups the exhibition might be relevant to, and working either independently or with other colleagues to work out how we might entice them in, what kind of events we might need to run alongside the show.
Denise Ellitson: The key stages in launching a campaign, the first thing is to really get a good understanding of what the exhibition’s about, then it’s thinking who is the audience for this, and then you start to think what your marketing materials to look like, based on that information.
Sabina Rahman: I think it’s important to remember that every piece of marketing we do is an informed piece of marketing it comes from a series of questions that we have asked ourselves at some point and pieces of research we have done.
Jude Simmons: Well, if we’re designing an exhibition the first that we do is to know what the story is, what the exhibition is about, what is the content, what we deal with pictures, so what pictures are going to be in the exhibition why has the curator chosen those, why are they important. Really looking at the story in line with the curator.
Denise Ellitson: We’re kind of the middlemen I suppose between the curators who have the academic knowledge, about the subject and a normal visitor, so it’s trying to pick our what they key things are about the exhibition. what are its unique selling points, and sort-of being in between those two people I think.
Eleanor Macnair: We’ve got to kind of marry, what the public will find interesting with what the curators find interesting so obviously we take on board what they say. We try to find a news angle. Has it been seen before, is there something unusual about it? Is this the first time the works have been brought together to be examined, is this the the first time the public have even seen this? Is it a portrait of someone well-known that’s been in somebody’s attic for years? It’s just finding those things, those new things, that people haven’t read about or seen before.
Mark Tosdevin: It’s quite important really at the early stage to consider who the audience that this exhibition is aimed at. So we can discuss with marketing about the style of the exhibition, the title, even, the discussions that we have about choosing a title can be quite considerable, actually.
Denise Ellitson: We’ve done a lot of research with our visitors trying to understand, I mean we know where we come from, how old they are, those types of things, but also we’ve done work finding out what motivates them and what what makes them tick, and we’ve segmented our audience into different groups of people and that helps us work out things on a different level. So you’ve got social visitors who are coming for a nice day our and to meet some friends, right up to researchers who really are experts and want the top level information.
Jo Clarke: We do the core audience who come in whatever the weather, whatever is on display actually but then equally every show allows us to target different groups of people as well, and then we will tailor what we do, when we do it, and how we do it, to particular audiences.
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To be at the cutting edge of marketing you always need to see what makes other creative campaigns successful – and to look beyond the obvious.

Eleanor Macnair, Press Officer, National Portrait Gallery

You need to get under the skin of what makes a campaign successful. To do this, you will need move from being a passive consumer of marketing to an active reader.

What makes a successful marketing campaign?

  • Choose a campaign that works for you and explain why it is successful in engaging you as a target audience.

How can you deconstruct a marketing campaign to learn how it’s done?

  • What is the key message? How is it conveyed? What elements are used to deliver the message?
  • Who is the message aimed at? Who is the target audience?
  • What different media is used for the campaign? Where?
  • What about ‘word of mouth’?
  • Why does the campaign work for the target audience?
  • Can you describe the ‘look and feel’ of the campaign and why it works?
    Is there a logo or ‘visual identity’ that is used to unify different elements?
    What does the visual identity say about the target audience or the message?

What will you take forward in developing your own campaign?

  • Create a scrapbook of different marketing materials and identify what works for the different target audiences.