University of Cambridge Museums

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Marketing COLOUR: evaluation

Colour 2016The Fitzwilliam Museum’s second major exhibition for 2016 was COLOUR: The Art and Science of Illuminated Manuscripts, which celebrated the Museum’s bicentenary with a stunning display of 150 illuminated manuscripts from its collections. Objects on show ranged from the prayer books of European royalty and merchants to local treasures like the Macclesfield Psalter, from an alchemical scroll and a duchess’ wedding gift to the ABC of a five-year old princess.

Over the course of the exhibition exit surveys were conducted by volunteers between 11 – 16 October 16 (term time) and 25 – 30 October 16 (half term) to gain a snapshot insight into visitors of the show. 228 participants took part in the survey, which gave the Museum a good data sample – the most notable results as follows:

  • colour-poster-refreshThe top forms of marketing people had seen before visiting the exhibition were posters (32%) and lamp post banners (30%). It is notable that word of mouth also scored very highly, which is usually indicative of a successful campaign as people will have seen marketing material and read press articles, then spoken to their friends and family.
  • 85% of visitors to the exhibition rated the show as excellent, with a further 14% saying it was very good.
  • Over half of the people who visited looked at digital material in the exhibition, and of those 95% thought it enhanced their experience.
  • 58% of people came specifically to see the exhibition (just above the average, which is usually 50-55%). However this was notably lower than 70% for Death on the Nile, possibly showing a difference in popularity of subject matter.
  • Most people who visited the exhibition were 35-44 & 55+. The last exhibition survey that was conducted for Death on the Nile showed a growth in the 35-44 age group, so it was really good to see that this trend has remained for COLOUR.

It is also worth recording that for this exhibition we trialed producing a flyer to promote the show, rather than an exhibition and events leaflet, as a significant saving in print could be made. The flyer served to raise people’s awareness of the exhibition to encourage them to come and visit and to find out about the exhibition’s event programme online, or by picking up the Museum’s standard What’s On brochure on site. The flyer proved to be just as successful as the exhibition and events leaflet for Death on the Nile, as 4% of visitors to this show and COLOUR were cited as having picked up print, and all of the exhibition events for COLOUR sold without difficulty. The difference, however, was that the savings in budget could be used for other profile raising elements of the marketing campaign, and so is an approach we are keen to continue using in future – so long as evaluation continues to point to it being successful.

The Fitzwilliam Museum currently relies on volunteers to collect data, and will be looking for more people to help with surveying our first major exhibition for 2017 Madonnas & Miracles: The holy home in Renaissance Italy (7 March – 4 June). Should you be interested in helping out with surveying, please email Tracy Harding.

Tracy Harding, Marketing Coordinator, Fitzwilliam Museum

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This entry was posted on February 23, 2017 by in Behind the Scenes, Culture, Goal 1, Goal 2, News and tagged , .
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