Museums, consumers, and on‐site experiences

Rémi Mencarelli (IAE, Université de Bourgogne, Dijon, France)
Séverine Marteaux (CERMAB‐LEG, Université de Bourgogne, Dijon, France)
Mathilde Pulh (IUT Dijon GEA, Université de Bourgogne, Dijon, France)

Marketing Intelligence & Planning

ISSN: 0263-4503

Publication date: 11 May 2010



One conclusion is widely shared by professionals in the cultural sector: consumer motivations have changed and in particular their relations with cultural products and services. This paper seeks to analyze different trends applied to museums in order to improve the understanding of this “new” cultural audience.


For this trend marketing analysis, seven consumer orientations have been identified (without claiming they are at all exhaustive) after an extended review over the shape of contemporary consumer habits. Besides, the authors wanted to know the opinion of the cultural managers. Each consumer orientation has been evaluated by taking a sample of French practitioners from different areas of the museum sector.


The paper is interesting in that it highlights the gap between actual management practices and practitioners' judgments.

Research limitations/implications

The first limitation that should be borne in mind relates to the exploratory character of this paper. In an extremely shifting environment, it is difficult to claim to have successfully identified all of the consumer trends that may criss‐cross the cultural sector. The second limitation of the research is the cultural contingency of the empirical validation. This was done in a French context.

Practical implications

The environment (especially the competitive environment) in which cultural institutions find themselves should urge them to take account of changes in modes of cultural consumption in order to reach individuals through an attractive and coherent discourse. Museums have to continue to open up to their audiences. It is not, of course, a question of forcing a change or complexification of the core cultural offer (exhibition), but rather a contemplation of what can be done around that core.


The paper offers insights into the evolution of the relation between museums and visitors by analyzing seven consumer orientations. The authors illustrate how museums stray from their original image as a high cultural place. They then show that museums are also revitalizing themselves by redefining the role played by the visitor: from a passive individual to an actor fully interacting in the museum's offer.



Mencarelli, R., Marteaux, S. and Pulh, M. (2010), "Museums, consumers, and on‐site experiences", Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 28 No. 3, pp. 330-348.

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