Understanding motivational constraints to membership at the Southbank Centre

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The motivational construct has been explored from a variety of perspectives including products, services and the cultural industries. Motivational constraints and barriers however have been less explored and overlooked from customer behaviour and arts perspectives. The purpose of this paper is to address this gap by exploring motivational constraints to cultural membership at the Southbank Centre (SBC) drawing on the marketing and leisure literature. Data were collected using an interpretive, qualitative approach and five focus groups were selected from Southbank Centre (SBC) bookers who are not members. The analysis of the respondent narratives reveals the complexity in exploring motivational barriers and led to the identification of four constraints including : 1) Structural: perceived as poor value for money and programme limitations; 2) Attitudinal: membership schemes are elitist and gentrified; 3) Lack of awareness: of the Southbank Centre's membership scheme; and the marketing communications for membership are confusing and unclear; and 4) Emotional and Aesthetic: lack of connection with the buildings' and brand identity. The non-members tend to uphold one constraint more resolutely than the other, signifying that motivational constraints are more complex than merely disliking a venue, or preferring an alternative one or perceiving the membership as poor value. This study contributes to understanding of customers in the field of motivational constraints in an arts context, as previous research has focussed on leisure or motivation for conducting behaviour rather than barriers.

The results are discussed in the context of previous studies into museum consumption, services and leisure motivation and constraints literature. The authors discuss how these findings may be transferred to other settings and the managerial implications for understanding customer behaviour are considered.


Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1362/147539211X13210329822581

Publication date: December 1, 2011

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