MHM’s expertise in audience research played a pivotal role in supporting the success of Auckland Zoo’s South East Asia Jungle Track campaign. By leveraging insights from their Visitor 360˚ research project and utilising MHM’s Culture Segments framework, the Zoo developed a compelling campaign that resonated with visitors.

Identifying opportunity ­through segment understanding

Prior to the campaign, Auckland Zoo identified the under-representation of the Affirmation segment among their visitors and recognised that reaching Affirmation can be key to reaching families. Affirmation is a segment who value learning and are keen to ‘do the right thing’, which aligns well with the Zoo’s conservation-led mission, but sometimes lack the confidence to try a new activity. This, coupled with their desire for fun, meant the Zoo was well-placed to serve them, but something in their approach wasn’t getting the desired outcome. The Zoo needed to target Affirmation more specifically and deliberately.

Optimising marketing for Affirmation

Auckland Zoo embraced an Affirmation-first approach to support the opening of the South East Asia Track’s Swamp Forest Habitat. Breaking from tradition, the promotional campaign was executed in two phases. The initial phase focused solely on delivering informative content via trusted mainstream editorial channels to explain ‘why’ the Jungle Track was developed and ‘how’ it provides a new way to experience the Zoo. This approach was optimised for Affirmation, a segment that favours logic – they like to know ‘why’ – they need time to plan and look to authoritative sources for guidance and assurance.

An extract from the Zoo’s marketing campaign

The second phase of the campaign focused on paid outdoor and online advertising, aiming to spark action by highlighting the benefits of the newly opened track. Affirmation is a segment that doesn’t like surprises and feels more comfortable when they know what to expect. Therefore, the Zoo designed promotional images to illustrate the experience visitors would have onsite and copy to appeal to this Segment’s interest in facts and self-development.

A successful outcome

The campaign achieved notable results, with Auckland Zoo experiencing a significant increase in visitation once the Swamp Forest Habitat opened. Affirmation visitors were significantly more likely than others to say they came specifically to see the new Habitat, and there was a shift towards Affirmation among visiting Members. These positive outcomes underscored the value of utilising psychographic segmentation to tailor engagement strategies that effectively connect with visitors.