Culturally active families research for the Science Museum Group

Audience segmentation had identified similar family types as a target for growth for the three northern museums in the Science Museum Group (SMG) – the National Railway Museum, National Media Museum and Museum of Science and Industry. A need for research to better understand how to attract these ‘culturally active families’ was identified by SMG. Qa Research utilised a qualitative methodology to carry out this research, which produced recommendations on the marketing approaches and messages that could best be used to attract this audience.


The aim of the research was to understand culturally active families’ decision making about where to visit and how a museum could best have an impact on the decision making process of this audience, in order to attract such families to visit.

Undertaking the research

Focus groups were conducted with culturally active families in different locations. All respondents were recruited free-find by Qa based on multiple criteria. An additional focus group was conducted with ‘culturally active young adults,’ aged 16-34, with no children.

Respondents were given two ‘pre-tasks’ to complete ahead of attending the focus groups and during the groups a range of activities were used to understand drivers of behaviour and pull out key principles when marketing to this audience. Use of these approaches by Qa’s experienced researchers led to the collection of richer data than discussion alone would have provided.


Qa produced a detailed report of the findings which included visual representations of data collected via the activities undertaken in the groups. The conclusions and recommendations section of the report made suggestions on how the Science Museum Group might appeal to ‘culturally active families’ to visit through different information sources, including word of mouth, online, leaflets and posters.

A workshop presentation of the findings was also made to the marketing teams from all three museums with discussion afterwards on how to action the findings.

What the researcher said:

Nick How at Qa said: This research was interesting as it took a step back from testing specific marketing materials to focus more on generic principles from a better understanding of the needs, wants and decision making processes this segmented audience goes through. It was clear museums are increasingly competing for quality family and leisure time – not just against other museums, but time spent together – so any marketing needs to convey a visit will offer good value for the family time spent together.”

Contact Nick How, Research Director (Head of Tourism Research) for more information: or 01904 732212