Audience Behavior Workshops with Andrew McIntyre

27 Aug 2012


Andrew McIntyre. Photo courtesy of Communicating the Museum.

The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage welcomed Andrew McIntyre to Philadelphia in summer 2012 for a day of workshops focused on visitor behavior and new approaches to engaging arts audiences in the 21st century. McIntyre is one of the leading authorities on audience motivations and responses in the United Kingdom, and is a co-founder of Morris Hargreaves McIntyre, a consultancy specializing in audience and organizational development. Its clients include leading arts organizations in the UK, Europe, the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, and North America, including the Tate Museum, Historic Royal Palaces, National Portrait Gallery, British Museum, Edinburgh Festival, Royal Exchange Theatre, and the English National Ballet.

McIntyre's research on visitor engagement with work produced by visual arts, history, and performing arts organizations has had profound implications, not only for arts marketing and audience development professionals but for artists and programmers as well. This was a rare appearance for him in the United States—he presented here only once before, for Arts Midwest—and his first time in Philadelphia.

His morning session for a sold-out audience at the Center, titled "New Thinking for 21st Century Audiences," focused on deepening engagement and broadening audiences for performing arts organizations, and covered:

  • The Crisis in Orthodox Box-Office Marketing: the clash between sales-focused marketing and audience development
  • Audience Capital: measuring the value that audiences put in your organization; brand equity and market power
  • Culture Segments: how new, values-based segmentation offers deep insight into audience motivations and responses
  • Audience Builder: data mining to encourage greater risk-taking and underwrite greater artistic freedom
  • Horizontal subscription: new thinking for 21st-century audiences
  • Test Drive the Arts: how to attract thousands of new audience members

In the afternoon, McIntyre visited the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which co-hosted an afternoon museum-focused session, highlighting how to map and measure:

  • Visitor Modes: leisure families, learning families, sightseers, third spacers, self-improvers, experts, aficionados, sensualists
  • Visitor Behavior: browsing, following, choosing, searching, researching
  • Visitor Engagement: orientation, exploration, discovery, immersion
  • Visitor Outcomes: social, intellectual, emotional, spiritual

Following his lecture, participants visited the Philadelphia Museum of Art's galleries to put the techniques they learned into practice. Below is one of the many responses we received from participants.

"Andrew's overall message was gratifying. He believes that museums can enrich human life and that collections hold the power to teach and enlighten. Central to unleashing the power of objects is combining curatorial knowledge with an understanding of the audience to offer meaningful, resonant experiences for visitors. I was pleased to hear that Andrew believes the best museum directors are passionate about their subject and natural communicators. I appreciated his call for a realistic approach to exhibitions and programs that allows for a variety of visitor motivations (social, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual)." —Laura Keim, Curator, Stenton & Wyck