Polls! (huh) What are they good for? Hopefully something, say it again.
What would you ask a national poll if you could? Could you afford to commission one?
This is something that’s come up a number of times in talks around audiences – how do we ask the people who AREN’T attending? How do we ask people from outside of city X what they think about city X? Would it be interesting to see what they thought before and after some big event? And so on.
Survey-based research methods are nothing particularly new to the event and festival sector; and in a forthcoming journal article (Event Management), myself and co-author James Bostock (Derby University) carry out an in depth analysis of past, current and future trends.
Yeah, we may use survey methods a lot in this field, but that doesn’t mean we’re somehow exceptionally good at it or that all the different variations of surveys can just all be lumped together and considered as ‘basically the same thing’. As a proportion, we’re doing ‘less’ surveys, but as the literature expands, there is still more and more research using surveys.
How do you get to know more about what kinds of people attended an event?
Two fairly common quantitative approaches to this question are surveys and segmentation. Regarding the latter, we’re talking specifically about geodemographic segmentation, rather than sales or marketing based segmentation.
What if someone was able to do both and compare the difference in results?
Or is this more like a Ghostbusters ‘don’t cross the streams’ kind of thing? Read on and find out.
(Note this is a longer version of an article originally published on Arts Professional : link)
Leicester Arts Festivals (LAF) is a support network consisting of twenty-four arts festivals and a number of supporting organisations, established in 2014. The festivals range in audience size from the hundreds to the hundreds of thousands, from the recently established to the decades old, and between them covering almost every art form, organisational type and event format imaginable in one of the most demographically plural cities in the UK. Amongst other activities, the network completed a year-long research project, collating baseline data and a comparative analysis of audiences from participating members. From twenty-four festivals, eighteen participated in an organisation survey and six participated in a survey of their audiences. Some interesting highlights and relevant issues for the wider festival and event community to consider are suggested below.
Open Data Kit + Audience Finder = Open Audience Finder?
I’ve worked on audience surveys for a long time and I’m always looking to improve my methods. Relatively recently the roll out of Audience Finder from the Audience Agency has done a lot of good in standardizing many basic questions and methods for a range of arts organizations. (see standard questions: link)
This makes a lot of people happy as they have a basis for comparing and contrasting their results with others. Most of the arts organizations I’ve worked with see the value, one way or another. Everyone has their own tweaks or preferences to suggest but some collaboration around some standard questions is generally a good thing…
Around the same sort of time, I started learning about and putting Open Data Kit into use, for various audience and other kinds of end-user/patient surveys. Hence the combination of the two, and in this post, I will be describing how you, with less technical expertise than you probably think, can use it too.