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Sustainability 2018, 10(3), 774;

Marketing Research for Cultural Heritage Conservation and Sustainability: Lessons from the Field

Department of Education, Cultural Heritage and Tourism, University of Macerata, P.le Bertelli 1, 62100 Macerata, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 January 2018 / Revised: 24 February 2018 / Accepted: 8 March 2018 / Published: 12 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cultural Heritage Conservation and Sustainability)
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This paper investigates the contribution of marketing research to cultural heritage conservation and sustainability, based on the assumption that the comprehension of the meaning of cultural heritage by new and extended audiences is a prerequisite for the future survival of tangible and intangible heritage. After discussing steps and achievements in the scientific debate on museum marketing, current gaps and possible further developments are considered. Since the early 1980s, marketing research has investigated visitors’ profiles, motivations, and behaviors, and has progressively focused on improving the experience of cultural heritage, especially through the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in museums and heritage sites. A literature review suggests that scant attention has been paid to qualitative research that is aimed at investigating the knowledge and skills of visitors and non-visitors and their understanding of the value of cultural heritage. Moving from these results, and taking into account recent data about the attitudes and opinions of people in Europe on cultural heritage, the field research focuses on the perception and communication of local cultural heritage among young generations. The results of six focus groups conducted in 2016 with undergraduate and postgraduate students (University of Macerata, Italy) are analyzed. The research findings reveal a number of difficulties and limitations with regard to communicating and understanding the value of heritage. In order to better investigate these gaps, the outcomes of this preliminary study could be tested and put to cross-analysis using different methods. However, they do provide useful evidence for understanding the link between audience development and cultural heritage sustainability. View Full-Text
Keywords: museum marketing; audience development; sustainability; focus group; cultural heritage; museums museum marketing; audience development; sustainability; focus group; cultural heritage; museums

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Cerquetti, M.; Ferrara, C. Marketing Research for Cultural Heritage Conservation and Sustainability: Lessons from the Field. Sustainability 2018, 10, 774.

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