Photographer:Fotograaf: Students preparing for their presentations in AINSI
Surveys for cultural organisations conducted by European Studies students
Cultural organisations in Maastricht are all dealing with the same problem: what’s the best way to gain a bigger audience? In other words: help us with our marketing! And the helpers in this case are third-year students of European Studies, who last Tuesday presented their surveys and recommendations in the AINSI theatre.
Quantitative Data Analysis: this doesn’t sound like the greatest and sexiest course. But it is, according to its popularity among the more than 100 students of European Studies who chose to do this optional follow-up training. As part of the course, they conducted a series of small-scale surveys for cultural organisations in Maastricht, and presented their findings last Tuesday. In the audience was their coordinator Dr Giselle Bosse, other tutors, fellow students, and representatives of cultural organisations including the Natuurhistorisch Museum, AINSI, Week In Week Uit, RTV Maastricht, Toneelgroep Maastricht and Huis van Bourgondië. The goal of the course, says Bosse, is to advance the students’ quantitative research skills through learning to conduct and analyse surveys. But it’s also “practical experience, which is important as a final-year bachelor’s student”.
Observant attended the morning presentations, which focused on Toneelgroep Maastricht and RTV Maastricht. Theatre company Toneelgroep Maastricht wants to know if hotels and bed and breakfasts in Maastricht are willing to cooperate with it. The company has posted flyers in several locations, but do guests really notice them? A group of students visited hotels in the area and left a questionnaire for the hotel managers. One surprising outcome – and not a particularly nice one for the Toneelgroep itself – was that many of the hotel employees had never heard of the theatre company and its productions. And half of the respondents had never recommended the Toneelgroep to their guests. Nevertheless, they are willing to cooperate. So what to do? The students’ advice is to approach the hotels personally. “Leaving a flyer on a table is not enough.”
Next up is RTV Maastricht, the local public radio and television broadcasting station. Its main question is how to gain higher popularity among students. An important obstacle is the language: “With English ads and content you can reach an international audience”, two student researchers say. And a tip when it comes to promoting the website: try to use social media like Facebook or Twitter. Of the 54 UM students they approached, 63% use Facebook. Fellow students focused on other questions about RTV Maastricht’s marketing activities. After talking to 73 UM students, they concluded that the broadcaster should become more visible in student life, especially in the first year. Further, it would be good to involve students in programme production, for example with internships or student projects.