How to engage

Experience Seekers are open to a range of communication channels, adept at filtering out and curating things they are interested in

Cultural activities either have to be familiar i.e. talked about, experiential, local or have an unusual or new element to catch their attention.

They seek out new experiences and a certain element of risk and can be quite spontaneous in their choices. This group need quality, clear information to help them make decisions and assess whether an opportunity fits their needs and (their peer group’s) identity. Social opportunities are their driving force, so a focus on the whole experience is essential – meeting spaces, food, drink and atmosphere. Led by recommendations and the ‘vibe’ on social media, they are to an extent self-organising, so finding an entertaining and engaging way of introducing new opportunities is vital – without it being too much of a ‘sell’. They are out and about a lot so ambient advertising on the streets and in local media is visible to them and they are receptive to its messages (if it interests them). However, their primary source is websites, where they are looking for the information they need to make decisions. They are not experts in any particular field and unlikely to be particularly ‘loyal’ to one organisation so building relationships using online tools would be most effective. The challenge with this group is keeping their interest live through interactive content which they can share, but also acknowledging that they may also have a preferred influencer – whether a friend, particular edited email listing, local website, critic or other journalist/presenter.

Programme

Open to most things, their cultural engagement will cross genres and artforms, indoors or out, familiar or alternative, contemporary or historical. Loyal only to the idea of going out and engaging with new things, their social networks (on and offline) will drive their choices, as well as some spontaneous or more random decisions.

For example, unusual combinations may grab their attention – roof top cinema, late night openings, site-specific, music in the grounds of heritage sites, specific street festivals. If there’s an element of cultural specificity, taking part or immersion, this may form a larger part of the attraction.

They are unlikely to want to miss out on the latest ‘blockbuster’ whether at a theatre, cinema, museum, gallery or must-see heritage site, but are less likely to be seen at pantomimes, or other family-orientated activities. They will make a bee-line for live music, exhibitions, plays/drama and musicals.

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Targeted media

Partnerships

Partnerships to broaden the reach of the message – working through third parties either on and offline – to promote and endorse cultural offerings could be effective. Targeted media, tourist sites, local listings or organisations with a following which match the profile of this segment i.e. health clubs, bars, cafes, restaurants could be effective.

Making the right kind of offer to local businesses to attract their employees may bring rewards.

Place: Environment

For this group the whole experience should be considered – food, drink, ambience, service, facilities. Site-specific work in unusual venues, experiential or immersive offers from outdoor to pop-up may all engage if they offer new experiences and opportunities to socialise. This group above all are looking for vibrant atmospheres to enjoy experiences with their friends and colleagues.

Place: Access & distance

With easy access to most cultural activities on foot, bicycle or by public transport, this group like to enjoy their cultural activities and (whilst having possible preferences), will be happy to seek new places out as long as they are accessible. Describing the location’s facilities is therefore vital, so that they know what they can do around a cultural activity to make it a whole day or evening out.

Pricing

Value and price are key to this group – they will pay a premium for a guaranteed ‘experience’ – but may have a mental price cap for more unusual offers. Their frequency will also have an influence on what they are willing to pay, so they will seek out offers and discounts as much as possible.

They may not respond to packages or multi-buy as it could be too much of a commitment to one place and limit their opportunities to engage elsewhere. However, an annual pass to a gallery or museum with changing exhibitions which can be engaged with more casually may be attractive, though they are less likely to renew on an annual basis. They may also respond to food/drink and ticket offers in the right circumstances.

Value and price over loyalty and discounts
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Promotion

Email is key, backed up by an informative and engaging website and entertaining content on social media. Print advertising may reach them through the Metro and The Guardian or a regularly read local paper. Ambient, street advertising is also visible to them – on public transport in particular. Word of mouth is crucial, incorporating all the necessary information and content for an informed but not expert crowd to share digitally. There is an expectation from this group that the latest new offerings will be listed in national and/or local listings.

Making digital content work beyond the organisations’ digital channels will broaden its reach by working in partnership or simply by making content easily ‘shareable’. Online advertising, promoted tweets and Facebook ads/news feeds could be essential in bringing the offer to this group’s attention.

Participation

Opportunities to take part and ‘do’ will engage many within this group – whether as active watchers (immersive or promenade experiences) or in ‘have a go’ workshops e.g. ‘street gaming’, hands-on activities at museums, picnics at heritage sites and open air festival events. Activities, special open days or tasters may well be the way to highlight an offer to this group, if they don’t connect with an organisation’s core offer.

Giving & volunteering

Low level one-off or annual memberships may appeal to Experience Seekers’ sense of supporting culture – whether arts, museums, galleries or heritage. At a local level, social cohesion and community spirit may encourage them to volunteer in a one-off way or support something they believe has positive impacts or matches their interests – especially if they feel something fulfilling is in it for them. With few family commitments, making an offer to ‘do some good’ combined with an element of cultural engagement may be successful.

Relationship building

Experience Seekers place high value on the arts as part of their way of life and show a greater preference for contemporary work and that beyond Western traditions. This presents some challenges for the arts as they are unlikely to be ‘loyal’ to any one organisation, however, making sure that communications are engaging will keep their interest – and the organisation on their ‘possibles’ list. They are mostly likely to be ‘show’ or event led so ‘mass’ promotion with a wider reach must be balanced against direct, personalised and relevant digital communications.

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Increasing reach & diversity

This group is diverse, so as long as programming is diverse and reflects the interests and eclecticism of the group, they will be attracted to one or more of its elements. Increasing reach is all about penetration of the message through the right channels – whether this is to a local community or a wider population.