Culture is future » Financing and economic models


Article - the role of marketing in the audience policies of museums - A dissertation of Anne Rondelet

How using marketing knowledge to develop people’s desires to go to the museums and to develop their loyalty?

Keen on marketing and museums, it’s naturally that I decided to dedicate my Master Degree dissertation to this problematic.

This question is in connection with the two biggest museum needs: the financial need and the public renewing and revitalizing need. Protection and patrimony promotion are really important also because museums are in connection with important issues like economy, tourism, environment, politics…


In order to create the best answer as possible, we started our research by understanding people’s motivations and obstacles to museum consumption. Our work was based on museum problematic recognized authors (Bourgeon-Renault, Cova, Debenedetti…) and a personal study on 203 persons.

People are looking for developing their own curiosity and culture during their museums experiences. It is also a way to enjoy oneself together (belonging need) and a way to develop personal achievement. Furthermore, museum publics are waiting for feelings creation (looking for emotions and senses activation) and they expect to be an active part of their museum experience (they would like to be acting visitors).

Nevertheless, there are a lot of obstacles and the most important is the financial issue. It is compound with the price of the entry ticket (even if it is less expensive than buying a cinema ticket), the direct expends (accommodation, food), and the family budget balance (competition between budgets and leisure). The second most important issue is the time pressure. During their visits, the public can only spend his time in the gallery, they could not do anything else. Finally, visitors are also facing up to psychological obstacles like the fear to do not feel at the right place and practical difficulties like founding a baby sitter for children or the distance between home and museum.


So the aim was to propose solutions which combine visitors motivations and decrease visitors obstacles. Firstly we proposed to have a look on experiential marketing solutions. For example working on human five senses, without any important investments, like eating a piece of apple in front of a still-life painting. In order to delete as much as possible the time pressure, we propose to divide up long exhibitions: one hour of a panoramic visit and several visits more detailed where people could going into detail with their favorite subjects. We also suggest museum experience co-branding like creating marked path between them and developing reloadable badges on Internet. Furthermore, this badge could be transformed in loyalty card.

Secondly, we made some advices based on participative marketing. We proposed to more develop exhibition information on Internet and to use more social media (like Facebook, Twitter) in order to helping people to be more active in their museum experience. Others solutions about NTIC is to spread as much as possible Smartphone apps, specialized website pages dedicate to public comments and develop a co-branding website like “AlloMusée” (based on Allociné concept). We also recommend to multiply decentralized and itinerant exhibitions to be nearest as much as possible from the public.


For us, the most important proposition is the creation of double family visits – one for parents and one for their children – at the same moment and during the same time in order to export the museum experience out of the museum by the family discussions. At the end, high technologies and experiential marketing was less expected by visitors than we were thinking about at the beginning. For us, the participative marketing solution is the most efficient. Naturally the best solution is to use twice but with their limited budget if museum have to choose one solution we advice participative marketing solution.


Anne Rondelet


Photo Credits : Julie Kertesz