Addressing sensibilities: a rationale for an 'inclusive' approach to festival programming and promotion

Voase, Richard (2002) Addressing sensibilities: a rationale for an 'inclusive' approach to festival programming and promotion. In: IFEA (International Festivals and Events Association) Annual Conference, 7-10 February 2002, Bonn, Germany.

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Abstract

Recent years have seen the application of computer technology to the needs of the business discipline of marketing. The ability of technologies to store and manipulate large amounts of multivariate customer data has led to the concept of database marketing. At the centre of this concept is the ability to segment and target groups of customers with similar data profiles.

A problem arising from this is a tendency, in marketing circles, to define consumers by their differences rather than by their similarities. A moment’s reflection reveals this to be fallacious. The fallacy is especially dangerous, it is argued, when applied to the identification of audiences for festivals and events. ‘Events’ typically appeal to a range of human senses and sensibilities.

It is suggested, by developing an argument advanced by the author on an earlier occasion , that the nature of an audience experience can be considered in incremental dimensions: first, inspirational; second, collective; and third, symbolic. The first dimension is personal, the second biosocial. Only when the third dimension is reached, does a fully ‘segmented’ audience exists.

This perspective is considered in terms of as-yet-unpublished research, undertaken for one of England’s cathedrals, to discover the true nature of the visitor experience. The satisfactions are found to be primarily of a personal and inspirational nature. The cathedral visitor experience, and hence the cathedral visitor, cannot be segmented by lifestage, social class or similar criteria by which commercial target markets are commonly defined.

The paper concludes by arguing the relevance of these findings for festival and event organisers, and outlining their implications. A model for analysing the festival or event visitor experience, in terms of the above dimensions and in terms of theorised layers of inclusivity and selectivity, is advanced. The practical implications for artistic direction and festival promotion are elucidated.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Presentation)
Additional Information:Recent years have seen the application of computer technology to the needs of the business discipline of marketing. The ability of technologies to store and manipulate large amounts of multivariate customer data has led to the concept of database marketing. At the centre of this concept is the ability to segment and target groups of customers with similar data profiles. A problem arising from this is a tendency, in marketing circles, to define consumers by their differences rather than by their similarities. A moment’s reflection reveals this to be fallacious. The fallacy is especially dangerous, it is argued, when applied to the identification of audiences for festivals and events. ‘Events’ typically appeal to a range of human senses and sensibilities. It is suggested, by developing an argument advanced by the author on an earlier occasion , that the nature of an audience experience can be considered in incremental dimensions: first, inspirational; second, collective; and third, symbolic. The first dimension is personal, the second biosocial. Only when the third dimension is reached, does a fully ‘segmented’ audience exists. This perspective is considered in terms of as-yet-unpublished research, undertaken for one of England’s cathedrals, to discover the true nature of the visitor experience. The satisfactions are found to be primarily of a personal and inspirational nature. The cathedral visitor experience, and hence the cathedral visitor, cannot be segmented by lifestage, social class or similar criteria by which commercial target markets are commonly defined. The paper concludes by arguing the relevance of these findings for festival and event organisers, and outlining their implications. A model for analysing the festival or event visitor experience, in terms of the above dimensions and in terms of theorised layers of inclusivity and selectivity, is advanced. The practical implications for artistic direction and festival promotion are elucidated.
Keywords:marketing, database, segmentation, visitor experience, inclusivity
Subjects:N Business and Administrative studies > N500 Marketing
Divisions:College of Social Science > Lincoln Business School
ID Code:5543
Deposited By: Richard Voase
Deposited On:16 May 2012 22:19
Last Modified:12 Oct 2012 07:30

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