Picture, if you will, a meeting. The meeting is between me and you. We are meeting to discuss publicity and marketing options for your upcoming play/performance/concert/art exhibition/CD launch.
I say to you:
“So, who’s your audience?”
And you say…..
Oh, please don’t say “Everyone.”
This scenario has come up for me a few times in the last few weeks, so I thought I’d dedicate a blog post to it.
Look, we all want everyone to love us and come to our shows (“They like me! They really like me!”), but it’s unrealistic. Most of the shows I do publicity for are not appropriate for my 7-year-old son, or for someone’s granny. So, if you cut off the top and the bottom, you’re left with the middle, which is still pretty big.
It’s also incredibly expensive to market to “everyone.” It means taking out a billboard, or an ad on the side of a bus, or a full-page ad in your daily paper. That’s a lot of money if you’re a small business, and you probably can’t afford it.
We’re afraid that if we “niche” our work to a specific audience, we’re excluding the rest of our audience. And this isn’t necessarily true. But if you bill your show as the greatest comedy ever written (which, in my estimation is a horrible sales pitch to start with, but stick with me for a bit), and people come to your show, and don’t find it funny at all, then you are in a bad situation. You promised something that you were not able to deliver.
On the other hand, if you let people know that it is a comedy in the style of Monty Python, well, then, now we’re getting somewhere. At the risk of alienating 90% of my audience, I have to confess I’m not a huge Monty Python fan. So, if I went to see a show that was billed in that style, I’d at least know what to expect, although most likely I wouldn’t go.
Who would go? People that like Monty Python! And there’s lots of them. Not only that, but you can figure out where people who like Monty Python hang out (online and otherwise) and target your marketing directly to them. Which is actually a lot easier to do than marketing to “everyone.”
So, the next time you are planning something that requires getting people in through the door, ask yourself:
1. What kind of people would really like this event? Get as specific as you can with your demographics: age, sex, income, profession. You may not have access to all this information, but do the best you can.
2. How do I get in touch with these people? Where do they hang out online, or in real life? Is there some kind of a networking event that they would be at that you can get yourself into?
3. What kind of campaign would appeal to your ideal demographic? Speak their language, and use graphics or images that will appeal to those kind of people.
4. Finally, if you have someone in your inner circle that fits your target demographic, you might want to test it on them before you get started, and get their feedback.
Your goal is to have people see your marketing material and say “Oh, I so relate to this–I see myself in this–it appeals to me.”
That’s the first step to getting them in the door.
Nice one Coleman. Great advice as always.
I like #4 on your list. I like to create profiles that come from talking to real people. It’s a lot easier to do especially when you don’t have the luxury of doing your own market research campaign.
Profiling allows you to get to things that have real impact when creating marketing materials. Rather than just guessing about what you think people would be interested in.
Thanks for the post!
Excellent post. I’m so glad I stumbled on this as I sit here working on a mad dash, finish it up, marketing campaign to open our community theatre season. You’ve given me pause to ask myself, have I REALLY reached the target audience for Buddy Holly Story? Is social media really effective in reaching them? Who did I leave out and how can I contact them.
Time to sit back and spend some time thinking rather than doing. I feel a brain storming “What’s your perfect patron look like” for X performance….
Thanks for motivating me all over again!
Wow. Ally, I think you just made my day.
PS. don’t do it alone. Do it with someone else, it works much better that way.
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