Diversity in the museum/heritage sectors

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touchingcloth
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Diversity in the museum/heritage sectors

Post by touchingcloth » Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:38 pm

Oh, hello.

At work* we are having a bit of a drive to help our clients measure the diversity of their customers, and part of that is looking into the state of the art of things outside of our own sector, and of the sectors of interest we've identified I've said I'll have a look at the museums/heritage part of our broadly speaking arts/cultural clients.

Does anyone have any experience of how diversity of visitors can be measured in these sorts of places? I've found a lot about why having diversity among your customers is a good thing, very little of the hows.

There are lots of mentions of the Equality Act 2010, so is the best (or a viable) approach asking visitors to self-declare with ONS-type categories for some of the 9 protected characteristics of that act? One downside which strikes me immediately as lacking with that approach is that socio-economic factors are not catered for directly by the act, when to my mind diversity should include things like income, education, family upbringing, yada yada.

That's enough waffle for now, with any luck some of you have academic or statistical background in the specific thing I'm looking for so DO MY JOB FOR ME YOU c.nts**

--------------------

*We make software for arts organisations.

**Not actually my job, just a thing at work which has piqued my interest.

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Re: Diversity in the museum/heritage sectors

Post by bolo » Thu Jul 30, 2020 1:40 am

I have fairly often been asked my zip code when visiting U.S. museums "so we can understand where our visitors are coming from". I don't know how this is commonly used, but various kinds of census and social survey data are available aggregated by zip code.

In the UK, perhaps the first half of the post code would serve a similar purpose?

This would be a lot quicker than a more detailed questionnaire, and might be seen as less intrusive.

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Re: Diversity in the museum/heritage sectors

Post by touchingcloth » Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:32 pm

Our clients typically will collect address details from customers. UK postcodes breakdown into Area, Districts and Sectors which get progressively more granular, but they’re relatively poor as socio-economic markers by themselves as you’d want to know someone’s age, education and income levels to get an idea of whether a person is deprived or just currently living (or having their mail delivered to) a deprived area.

It’s definitely useful information for clients to gather just not so much for this particular purpose. But you hit the nub of the problem: how to collect data which is detailed enough to be useful to a business while not being a burden or intrusive for customers.

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Re: Diversity in the museum/heritage sectors

Post by discovolante » Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:42 pm

I don't have any practical suggestions but at the risk of stating the extremely f.cking obvious, I assume all this is being done with proper oversight of GDPR compliance? I (genuinely) don't know how much of this would be 'your problem' but I guess it's something you'd want to know before you started doing all the work.

Sorry again if I'm teaching a duck to swim, I do not know anything about what's involved behind the scenes in software design.
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Re: Diversity in the museum/heritage sectors

Post by basementer » Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:44 pm

touchingcloth wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:32 pm
Our clients typically will collect address details from customers. UK postcodes breakdown into Area, Districts and Sectors which get progressively more granular, but they’re relatively poor as socio-economic markers by themselves as you’d want to know someone’s age, education and income levels to get an idea of whether a person is deprived or just currently living (or having their mail delivered to) a deprived area.

It’s definitely useful information for clients to gather just not so much for this particular purpose. But you hit the nub of the problem: how to collect data which is detailed enough to be useful to a business while not being a burden or intrusive for customers.
Experian's "Mosaic" categorisation of UK postcodes was quite detailed when a credit card company I was contracting for used it in 2001...
https://www.experianmarketingservices.d ... aicprofile
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Re: Diversity in the museum/heritage sectors

Post by touchingcloth » Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:53 pm

basementer wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:44 pm
touchingcloth wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:32 pm
Our clients typically will collect address details from customers. UK postcodes breakdown into Area, Districts and Sectors which get progressively more granular, but they’re relatively poor as socio-economic markers by themselves as you’d want to know someone’s age, education and income levels to get an idea of whether a person is deprived or just currently living (or having their mail delivered to) a deprived area.

It’s definitely useful information for clients to gather just not so much for this particular purpose. But you hit the nub of the problem: how to collect data which is detailed enough to be useful to a business while not being a burden or intrusive for customers.
Experian's "Mosaic" categorisation of UK postcodes was quite detailed when a credit card company I was contracting for used it in 2001...
https://www.experianmarketingservices.d ... aicprofile
Thanks for that! Looks like one of those things where you can send a load of address details off to Experian for them to run it through their proprietary segmentation (places like The Audience Agency offer similar services for cultural organisations, or Royal Mail for anyone who wants to tidy up mailing lists of badly spelled and formatted addresses). Bookmarked.

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Re: Diversity in the museum/heritage sectors

Post by Gfamily » Thu Jul 30, 2020 7:41 pm

A response from a niece who works in a regional midterm museum.
Well I'm not sure. We have lovely older ladies who work for a data collection service and they face to face interview visitors about 3 times a year. Say 2 of them working 8 times over a month. Numbers of replies very. For that we ask things like who they are here with (families audience, overseas audience, non-booked adult education etc) this is a tiny dataset but they're very nice and old and get great amounts of data from their small pool or interviews

With schools we base it on the Indices of multiple deprivation - which is generated I don't really know how but ultimately it's how many free school dinners they have signed up. When we target schools with bursaries etc. We go for the lowest IMD. Someone had reported on every single IMD school in the XXX City region and highlighted which ones hadn't visited 2015-2017. I've done the check for 2017-march 2020 and across 3 local boroughs we have only 3 that haven't visited now so we have great engagement overall.
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Re: Diversity in the museum/heritage sectors

Post by touchingcloth » Thu Jul 30, 2020 7:56 pm

Gfamily wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 7:41 pm
A response from a niece who works in a regional midterm museum.
Well I'm not sure. We have lovely older ladies who work for a data collection service and they face to face interview visitors about 3 times a year. Say 2 of them working 8 times over a month. Numbers of replies very. For that we ask things like who they are here with (families audience, overseas audience, non-booked adult education etc) this is a tiny dataset but they're very nice and old and get great amounts of data from their small pool or interviews

With schools we base it on the Indices of multiple deprivation - which is generated I don't really know how but ultimately it's how many free school dinners they have signed up. When we target schools with bursaries etc. We go for the lowest IMD. Someone had reported on every single IMD school in the XXX City region and highlighted which ones hadn't visited 2015-2017. I've done the check for 2017-march 2020 and across 3 local boroughs we have only 3 that haven't visited now so we have great engagement overall.
Thanks to to you and your niece - amazingly kind of you to have asked her!

That chimes with some stuff I've read. A lot o museums sound like they aim to get groups visiting from every single local school, which is probably the most effective way of ensuring that for that age group at least your visitors are as diverse as society at large. Captive audience.

It's quite obvious that that would be a major part of museum's engagement plans seeing as education is usually in their remit, and with many of them being free it's easier to persuade a wide range of schools to visit compared to, say, theatres.

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Re: Diversity in the museum/heritage sectors

Post by Gfamily » Thu Jul 30, 2020 10:23 pm

Their infographic
PSX_20200731_002141.jpg
PSX_20200731_002141.jpg (385.21 KiB) Viewed 314 times
My avatar was a scientific result that was later found to be 'mistaken' - I rarely claim to be 100% correct
ETA 5/8/20: I've been advised that the result was correct, it was the initial interpretation that needed to be withdrawn
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Re: Diversity in the museum/heritage sectors

Post by touchingcloth » Thu Jul 30, 2020 11:46 pm

Thanks again!

The socio-economic breakdown is interesting. The groups 1-8 suggests they're probably using NS-SEC rather than NRS (with 6 groups), or the Great British Class Survey/Calculator (remember THAT BBC demographics thing from a few years back?), so given just how many classification systems there are and how I feel like I don't fit neatly into a single category in any (2/3 NS-SEC, B/C2 NRS, Establish/Technical Middle Class GBCS), it's probably not entirely possible to ensure diversity of socio-economic stuffs in a particularly accurate way, especially given that we work with clients outside of the UK as well.

I love that the "motivation for visit" breakdown has:
  • 9% - to bring the children
  • 5% - children wanted to attend
I don't know if that means I should read the first one as "children did not want to attend" or "forced the children to attend".

I think between this and the telescope thread I owe you several avuncular beers.

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Re: Diversity in the museum/heritage sectors

Post by plodder » Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:14 am

run an experiment in the cafe with battered sausage on the menu as see how popular it is compared to the vegan protein pots.

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Re: Diversity in the museum/heritage sectors

Post by Brightonian » Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:30 am

I often (pre-covid) visit museums, art galleries etc. and my motivation is often to use the café (maybe do a bit of work on my laptop), use the loo and visit the shop. I do a quick cursory tour of the exhibits just to prove I'm not a Philistine.

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Re: Diversity in the museum/heritage sectors

Post by Gfamily » Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:47 am

plodder wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:14 am
run an experiment in the cafe with battered sausage on the menu as see how popular it is compared to the vegan protein pots.
My niece is checking in and reports that Sausage and Mash is #1 in the food options.
They recognise that as a general museum (and closer to the shops) they attract more of a locals and families audience.
There are a couple of other museums in the city, each with its own specific focus, they are where the tourists are more likely to go. My niece's museum has a neighbouring art gallery, and that's where older people go.
But vegan pots might do well.
My avatar was a scientific result that was later found to be 'mistaken' - I rarely claim to be 100% correct
ETA 5/8/20: I've been advised that the result was correct, it was the initial interpretation that needed to be withdrawn
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Re: Diversity in the museum/heritage sectors

Post by Bird on a Fire » Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:07 am

plodder wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:14 am
run an experiment in the cafe with battered sausage on the menu as see how popular it is compared to the vegan protein pots.
pfffft they've got vegan sausage rolls in Gregg's now, you old fart.

It's 2020, "giving a crap" isn't a useful class indicator.
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Re: Diversity in the museum/heritage sectors

Post by plodder » Mon Aug 03, 2020 7:22 am

Diet is still very much a class thing.

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Re: Diversity in the museum/heritage sectors

Post by touchingcloth » Mon Aug 03, 2020 8:20 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:07 am
plodder wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:14 am
run an experiment in the cafe with battered sausage on the menu as see how popular it is compared to the vegan protein pots.
pfffft they've got vegan sausage rolls in Gregg's now, you old fart.

It's 2020, "giving a crap" isn't a useful class indicator.
plodder wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 7:22 am
Diet is still very much a class thing.
I think this is true. I know vegans of all classes, but it’s only really in very recent years I’ve become aware of vegans from working class backgrounds in any great number, mainly because I think up until recently being a vegan was pretty difficult to stick to, and being able to stick to a difficult diet is a luxury not everyone can enjoy.

My reading around the subject in the OP shows that vegans and veggies are very prominent among the museum-going population. My hunch is that this because museums are quite middle class whether that’s because they’re looking at the Industrial Revolution and therefore reflect the lives of the emergent middle class, or if they’re focussing one earlier periods then will skew towards the upper classes because it’s those stately homes, relics and writings which have survived, and maybe today’s middle classes enjoy the aspirational side of that (I have no research to back this up).

So for museums I think one way to build a diverse audience is just to reflect more diversity in their exhibitions so that people from other backgrounds actually give a sh.t. But even that can’t be the whole answer because going to a museum, standing and looking at the exhibits and going “hmmm” is inherently a middle class thing, and one which I am personally comfortable with thanks to having been dragged around by my parents to look at exhibits and go “hmmm”. I can imagine that if you didn’t do that as a kid then most museums would seem like very odd places indeed.

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Re: Diversity in the museum/heritage sectors

Post by plodder » Mon Aug 03, 2020 9:13 am

especially if they're packed full of children called Jaquinda eating keenwa and grown immaculately presented adults talking confidently about things you've never heard of.

Nothing like as intimidating as art galleries though, which are almost exclusively populated by our overlords from planet zog.

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Re: Diversity in the museum/heritage sectors

Post by touchingcloth » Mon Aug 03, 2020 9:27 am

plodder wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 9:13 am
Nothing like as intimidating as art galleries though, which are almost exclusively populated by our overlords from planet zog.
You could make an argument that the kind of art which gets seen in galleries is the least challenging on fall art forms, and things like paintings or sculptures are often less open to interpretation than music, poetry, film, theatre because the media doesn’t lend itself to expressing thoughts as clearly. Less so with installations, but 90% of paintings hanging in galleries aren’t, I don’t think, trying to do much more than be nice to look at. So it’s weird that most people would probably agree that music, poetry, film, theatre are things that everyone should be able to engage with to some extent even if they haven’t studied to be able to understand them completely, and yet you’re right that art galleries are put on this pedestal.

Of course there are challenging paintings out there, just most of what hangs in most galleries aren’t that.

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Re: Diversity in the museum/heritage sectors

Post by bagpuss » Mon Aug 03, 2020 9:47 am

bolo wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 1:40 am
I have fairly often been asked my zip code when visiting U.S. museums "so we can understand where our visitors are coming from". I don't know how this is commonly used, but various kinds of census and social survey data are available aggregated by zip code.

In the UK, perhaps the first half of the post code would serve a similar purpose?

This would be a lot quicker than a more detailed questionnaire, and might be seen as less intrusive.
First half of postcode in UK probably wouldn't be anywhere near detailed enough, they can cover a fairly substantial area. Type BN1 into Google maps and you can see that covers the very centre of Brighton, plus a sweep up through the north of the city out over a chunk of the downs, including both Sussex uni and Brighton uni Falmer campus. Not sure of the demographics of that chunk of Brighton these days but I'm pretty sure you're going to get quite a variance in that area. Probably other postcodes have even more variance. You'd probably need at least the digit of the second half as well, so probably just easiest to ask for full postcode - many places do, although I don't know how much refusal there would be and how that might skew the results.

touchingcloth wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 11:46 pm
I love that the "motivation for visit" breakdown has:
  • 9% - to bring the children
  • 5% - children wanted to attend
I don't know if that means I should read the first one as "children did not want to attend" or "forced the children to attend".
I know you're not being entirely serious, but I'd read the first one as "wanted to take the kids somewhere, thought they'd enjoy it here" whereas the second is "kid(s) specifically asked to come here". So the bagkitten knows or knows of most of the museums, etc, around here now and will specifically ask to go to some of them. But the first time we went, or when she was younger and didn't know/think to ask, it would have been the first. More a lack of knowledge than a lack of want, I would say :D

touchingcloth wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 8:20 am

So for museums I think one way to build a diverse audience is just to reflect more diversity in their exhibitions so that people from other backgrounds actually give a sh.t. But even that can’t be the whole answer because going to a museum, standing and looking at the exhibits and going “hmmm” is inherently a middle class thing, and one which I am personally comfortable with thanks to having been dragged around by my parents to look at exhibits and go “hmmm”. I can imagine that if you didn’t do that as a kid then most museums would seem like very odd places indeed.
Getting schools to take kids has to be a big part of the answer, I think. Because no matter how diverse a museum's exhibits are, if people just don't think of going to museums as a thing they would do, they're not going to go. Kids are a big way in - schools take them, they find out about places, then ask their parents to go again ("children wanted to attend"). Pester power works, manufacturers and retailers have used it for years to sell all kinds of stuff, why not use it for good? Then, of course, you have to look at entry costs - free but donations requested seems like a good way to go, and appears to be working for a lot of places, although of course I don't know what goes on behind the scenes in the way of finances.

How you then get to those people who don't have kids and wouldn't otherwise go to museums, though, I don't know. Maybe temporary or one-off shows or attractions that seem less museum-y but get people through the doors and give them a comfort factor of knowing the environment, seeing that there are other things there that might interest them and tempt them to return to look at the museum another time. I'm thinking of things like live music or other performances, fun challenges or competitions, open days with organised art/craft/learning sessions. But I'm revoltingly middle class, so I'm probably only thinking of middle class things - you'd be better off asking the people who don't come about what sort of things they do with their free time and what might tempt them in.

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Re: Diversity in the museum/heritage sectors

Post by bagpuss » Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:04 am

touchingcloth wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 9:27 am
plodder wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 9:13 am
Nothing like as intimidating as art galleries though, which are almost exclusively populated by our overlords from planet zog.
You could make an argument that the kind of art which gets seen in galleries is the least challenging on fall art forms, and things like paintings or sculptures are often less open to interpretation than music, poetry, film, theatre because the media doesn’t lend itself to expressing thoughts as clearly. Less so with installations, but 90% of paintings hanging in galleries aren’t, I don’t think, trying to do much more than be nice to look at. So it’s weird that most people would probably agree that music, poetry, film, theatre are things that everyone should be able to engage with to some extent even if they haven’t studied to be able to understand them completely, and yet you’re right that art galleries are put on this pedestal.

Of course there are challenging paintings out there, just most of what hangs in most galleries aren’t that.
That's a good point. I personally don't enjoy art galleries all that much, not because I find them intimidating but because I find them terribly dull. My own personal theory is that people end up pontificating about art mainly because there's bugger all else to do with it other than stand, look, move on. Music, live poetry readings, film, theatre all have a live performance aspect which gives at least something to engage with. That said, though, I also find classical music concerts extremely boring - I love classical music but there's not enough to do. Listening to music is something I like to do while my brain is engaged elsewhere. Live music gigs where people are singing songs are different, because I can sing along. Other audience members tend to disapprove of singing along with, say, Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No 2, and it's usually not light enough to see to do the Guardian cryptic crossword.

This dullness probably has a lot to do with my serious ignorance of art. I'm sure it's a lot more engaging if you know about different styles of art, ways of painting/sculpting, etc. But I'm very much not alone in my ignorance and if you want to tempt more people in then you need to add some kind of activity or something that will appeal more than looking at a series of pictures and thinking "like that one, don't like that one, that one's grim, like that one, not another haystack, ouch that looks painful...". A lot of places have got very good in recent years at providing activity trails suitable for various ages of kids. For example, find and count all the toy mice hidden around this NT property; find the originals of all these photographs; find the answers to these fun/interesting questions; etc. But I haven't come across anywhere that does something similar for adults and I don't know why not. I've found visiting places much more fun since we've had the bagkitten and get to do these things with her, so why not have some aimed at adults too?

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Re: Diversity in the museum/heritage sectors

Post by bagpuss » Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:06 am

touchingcloth wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:53 pm
basementer wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:44 pm
touchingcloth wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:32 pm
Our clients typically will collect address details from customers. UK postcodes breakdown into Area, Districts and Sectors which get progressively more granular, but they’re relatively poor as socio-economic markers by themselves as you’d want to know someone’s age, education and income levels to get an idea of whether a person is deprived or just currently living (or having their mail delivered to) a deprived area.

It’s definitely useful information for clients to gather just not so much for this particular purpose. But you hit the nub of the problem: how to collect data which is detailed enough to be useful to a business while not being a burden or intrusive for customers.
Experian's "Mosaic" categorisation of UK postcodes was quite detailed when a credit card company I was contracting for used it in 2001...
https://www.experianmarketingservices.d ... aicprofile
Thanks for that! Looks like one of those things where you can send a load of address details off to Experian for them to run it through their proprietary segmentation (places like The Audience Agency offer similar services for cultural organisations, or Royal Mail for anyone who wants to tidy up mailing lists of badly spelled and formatted addresses). Bookmarked.
Meant to add earlier that CACI's Acorn classification is similar. https://acorn.caci.co.uk/

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Re: Diversity in the museum/heritage sectors

Post by touchingcloth » Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:15 am

bagpuss wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:06 am
touchingcloth wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:53 pm
basementer wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:44 pm

Experian's "Mosaic" categorisation of UK postcodes was quite detailed when a credit card company I was contracting for used it in 2001...
https://www.experianmarketingservices.d ... aicprofile
Thanks for that! Looks like one of those things where you can send a load of address details off to Experian for them to run it through their proprietary segmentation (places like The Audience Agency offer similar services for cultural organisations, or Royal Mail for anyone who wants to tidy up mailing lists of badly spelled and formatted addresses). Bookmarked.
Meant to add earlier that CACI's Acorn classification is similar. https://acorn.caci.co.uk/
Yup, Acorn is one which I didn't mention explicitly in this post but is the same sort of idea:
touchingcloth wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 11:46 pm
The socio-economic breakdown is interesting. The groups 1-8 suggests they're probably using NS-SEC rather than NRS (with 6 groups), or the Great British Class Survey/Calculator (remember THAT BBC demographics thing from a few years back?), so given just how many classification systems there are and how I feel like I don't fit neatly into a single category in any (2/3 NS-SEC, B/C2 NRS, Establish/Technical Middle Class GBCS), it's probably not entirely possible to ensure diversity of socio-economic stuffs in a particularly accurate way, especially given that we work with clients outside of the UK as well.

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Re: Diversity in the museum/heritage sectors

Post by discovolante » Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:58 am

At the risk of being a common philistine, some of Blindboy (of Rubberbandits fame)'s podcasts about are are a really good entertaining basic intro to different styles and periods of art. No doubt more sophisticated connoisseurs would pick up on errors and consider them too simple but he doesn't claim to be the world's leading expert, although at the same time he did go to art college so he does at least have a bit of a clue of what he's talking about.
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Re: Diversity in the museum/heritage sectors

Post by bagpuss » Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:16 pm

touchingcloth wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:15 am
bagpuss wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:06 am
touchingcloth wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:53 pm


Thanks for that! Looks like one of those things where you can send a load of address details off to Experian for them to run it through their proprietary segmentation (places like The Audience Agency offer similar services for cultural organisations, or Royal Mail for anyone who wants to tidy up mailing lists of badly spelled and formatted addresses). Bookmarked.
Meant to add earlier that CACI's Acorn classification is similar. https://acorn.caci.co.uk/
Yup, Acorn is one which I didn't mention explicitly in this post but is the same sort of idea:
touchingcloth wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 11:46 pm
The socio-economic breakdown is interesting. The groups 1-8 suggests they're probably using NS-SEC rather than NRS (with 6 groups), or the Great British Class Survey/Calculator (remember THAT BBC demographics thing from a few years back?), so given just how many classification systems there are and how I feel like I don't fit neatly into a single category in any (2/3 NS-SEC, B/C2 NRS, Establish/Technical Middle Class GBCS), it's probably not entirely possible to ensure diversity of socio-economic stuffs in a particularly accurate way, especially given that we work with clients outside of the UK as well.
Ah, I've been working in B2B too long, I'm out of touch with socio-economic classifications. I'm all about SIC and NAICS these days <yawn>

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