Doing more with less: understanding the contributions of regional art gallery members through marketing segmentation

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    – The purpose of this paper is to develop insight regarding art gallery members' identification with their galleries through the use of segmentation. The antecedents of a member's identification and subsequent involvement with the gallery are explored. Within the four regional art galleries analysed, the authors identify three different segments within the membership groups which illustrate the ways in which gallery members, who identify positively with their gallery, contribute to the organisation through behaviours such as the donation of time and money.

    – A mixed methods approach was used, including 11 in‐depth interviews with gallery staff and members and a survey (n=433) of gallery members. The in‐depth interviews were interpreted using content analysis and thematic analysis. The survey results were analysed using exploratory factor analysis and cluster analysis.

    – The paper's findings suggest that gallery members can be differentiated in terms of the way that they contribute to their art gallery. Three types were identified: promoters, donors and committee members. A number of constructs were used to distinguish between each of the segments, including: member identification, satisfaction, prestige, visibility, contact quality and domain involvement from the current arts marketing literature. Four other constructs which emerged from the qualitative research were also used to profile the clusters: self‐enhancement, organisational culture, social responsibility and elitism which emerged from the qualitative research.

    Research limitations/implications
    – Profiling different segments in the market (membership) using sociodemographics, attitudes and donating behaviours allows marketers and managers to more effectively target the segments who can positively contribute to the organisation. Moreover it provides a greater understanding of the membership base and how various members are engaging with their institution. Current methods of marketing are becoming less ideal to obtain marketing objectives, with diminishing returns to scale on marketing programmes an issue.

    Practical implications
    – An understanding of the differences between each of these member types will allow galleries to more efficiently use their finite resources. By tailoring offerings to each of the different segments galleries can maximise the value of their membership base. Further, the use of segmentation enables gallery managers to identify segments where members may be less or not engaged and its causes and potential solutions.

    Social implications
    – Many non‐profit organisations with a membership base, such as the art galleries sampled in this research, rely on the contribution of their membership to survive. Therefore understanding the relationship between the institution and the membership is important.

    – The paper is unique in the application of segmentation analysis to examine gallery members. It also furthers the current understanding of identification and its role in the relationship between organisation members and their behaviour as members. That is the role of identification in relationship marketing.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)39-55
    JournalArts Marketing: An International Journal
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    • Australia
    • Art galleries
    • Non-profit organizations
    • Relationship marketing
    • Market segmentation


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