Marketing museum networks: theoretical considerations and empirical evidence

by Tonino Pencarelli and Simone Splendiani

13th Toulon-Verona Conference (ICQSS), Coimbra (Portugal), September 2-4, 2010.


The aim of this study is to analyze the role of museum networks within the cultural districts.  We use a systemic approach that allows us to study the phenomenon of museum networks as institutions for the conservation and enhancement of Cultural Heritage, but also to study the factors of social and economic development of local contexts in their entirety. This approach involves territorial marketing and cultural network marketing, created either through top-down or grass roots processes, in a logic of subjects’ mutual interest in searching for greater effectiveness and operational efficiency. After a brief literature review on museum networks – aimed at delineating the boundaries of the object of investigation – the study focuses on some experiences from the Marche Region to understand which models of governance and management should be considered and which factors could promote the competitiveness of the networks and territory. The analytical model highlights the need for an integrated approach to marketing capable of combining traditional issues with relationship marketing and internal marketing. The point of departure is to consider museums as service companies in so far as they can profitably use typical instruments of service management in order to increase the quality and value the cultural offerings they have.  This will benefit both users – visitors – for the area  and the cultural district within which the museum network is inserted. The analysis of case studies reveals wide prospects for improvement towards a more relational approach to marketing and to the full adoption of the principles of service management.



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