What Does Data Say About Your Institution?

Katie Dune

In a market where data and information floods the online sector, it is important for institutions, here the focus is on museums, to best interpret and strategically analyze their situation. While building on theories and tactics set forth in Rohit Bhargava’s book Likeonomics, I set out to create a community engagement plan for the Chemical Heritage Foundation that would not only attract a new audience, but also alter their current public perception as an institution. While the Chemical Heritage Foundation produces current research, hosts fellows, and participates in international conferences, it has been named one of the “12 Great Museums You’ve Never Heard Of.”While any press is good press, it reminds us that while the museum’s mission may be solid and brilliantly executed, they are not reaching a wide enough audience throughout the museum field. 
In developing my plan, my goal is to target families with children in the local center city area. This demographic is the most difficult to attract to the museum as they are closed on the weekends and close early during the weekdays. By using GIS technology, geographical information systems, provided by Policy Map, I was able to determine where in the targeted area these families resided, as well as target areas to market to. The map below shows the percentage of families with children in the Philadelphia area. While this data may not show significant values around the museum itself, it does present important information on where to directly market for the institution’s programming. By using this data, the museum may more efficiently attract this demographic. 

courtesy of Policy Map

Through tactful research and strategic implementation, museums and other non-profit institutions may benefit from knowing the community in which they lie in. This data may help to justify campaigns, support market research, and further develop audience engagement. With this information, the Chemical Heritage Foundation may better present itself to the demographic and psychographic audiences in which it seeks.