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Snacking Based on the Personas of the Van Gogh Museum

Van Gogh Museum was looking for a target audience strategy which would help the entire organization by taking into account the needs and motivations of various types of visitors as a starting point. For that purpose,  a set of four personas was developed that are applicable in the Netherlands and internationally.


Step 1: Map the needs and wishes of Dutch visitors and potential visitors. We researched the familiarity with the museum, visitor behavior and visit intention in the Netherlands via ad-hoc research. We then combined the findings to identify which values segments are most important in the Netherlands and abroad in other key markets.

Step 2: Upon completion of the target audience research in the Netherlands, we discussed the results with stakeholders from the Van Gogh Museum in an interactive session and we determined the various visitor profiles. There are five values segments in Glocalities, four of which are relevant for the Museum in general and three are relevant in the Netherlands in particular. The fourth segment, which is small in the Netherlands, is very large internationally. Based on the Glocalities values segments, we developed four (inter)national personas.


During workshops, we created the visitor personas and brought them to life. Workshop participants included employees from ten different departments of Van Gogh Museum who are greatly involved with visitors. The personas are a combination of the target audience research data and the knowledge among employees of the Van Gogh Museum.

In the following phase, we conducted target audience research in 15 more countries. We conducted extra analyses based on recent Glocalities data in those countries to add more depth to the personas. We enriched the personas with information about their interests, leisure activities and media behavior. We used this information to compile a persona manual. Subsequently, we launched the personas in three sessions with employees. In those sessions, the employees got to know the personas better, partly through a quiz.


  • There is now a clear picture about (potential) visitors, which Van Gogh Museum employees can refer to in their daily tasks.
  • The Van Gogh Museum now knows much more about potential Dutch visitors: who would be interested in visiting and how can the Museum tempt these people to visit?
  • Employees make use of the personas for various campaigns. The new knowledge helps them compile plans for expositions and events in a more focused way and decision making has become more efficient.
  • The Van Gogh Museum recently initiated a partnership with DJ and producer Armin van Buuren targeting the ‘Ryan’ persona, which proved effective.

“There were huge posters on the wall and we showed films. When it was time for a break, we let the staff choose which snack belonged to each persona. So people went snacking like the personas would.”
Laurine van de Wiel, Head of Marketing Van Gogh Museum.


Roel Schoemaker

Principal Strategy Consultant

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