Curious In Carbri: Knowing Your Audience

by SaskMusic

August 26, 2013 in Ask Percy

Dear Percy,
I’ve been hearing a lot about “knowing your audience”. Why is it this so important?
- Curious in Cabri
Thank-you for the question Curious in Cabri. The artist to fin, er, I mean artist to fan relationship is very important in today’s music industry. A vital part of a successful career is to create and maintain this relationship with your fans. Knowing your audience helps make the most out of your marketing and promotional efforts. Ok, so in order to do this you need to figure out who “they” are. Let’s dive right in shall we?
Things to think about when defining your audience:
Where and how do your fans shop? What do they buy?
How old are they?
Are they male or female?
How do they consume music? Do they buy CDs, vinyl, or download?
Where do they work?
What income level do they fit into?
Do they go to bar shows or all-age shows?
What do they drink?
What type of clothes do they wear?
Where do they live? Rural or urban?
I know what you are thinking, “But Percy, how am I supposed to know all of this information?” and “How is it even possible for you to type out this article?” Well, never mind the latter and listen here my friend, there are different ways to go about researching your audience. First, look at who is attending your shows and buying your merchandise. Who is talking to you after shows? Who is asking where you’re playing next? If you have yet to play shows and/or create merchandise, look at other artists similar to your style and ask yourself these same questions.
Use the current marketing tools you already have in place, such as your website, MySpace, Facebook page, YouTube account, etc. Many of these social networking websites give you insights into who is viewing your profile.
My band Percy and the Swimming Stampeders did some research into our fanbase and we discovered this:
“Judging from what they saw at their shows the majority of Percy and the Swimming Stampeders fans range from their late fifties to early seventies. There is an even split between male and female fans. They tend to buy CDs. They are rural based and most work in the agricultural industry. They fit in the middle income range. Button-up shirts and blue jeans are staples in their wardrobes, which are purchased from large discount department stores. They attend events, such as barn dances and town hall events.”
Now this may sound a bit tedious and yes, we are generalizing, but it’s helpful in building career strategies. For example, knowing the places where your audience goes, will allow you to make the most of your advertising efforts. It gives you an idea of which stores to approach when looking for consignment deals. When booking tours, you will know what type of venues suit your band most. All of this information is also useful when looking for band sponsorship. It doesn’t make sense to approach a liquor company for sponsorship if you know that most of your fans attend shows in coffee shops. Remember, you don’t want to swim upstream, so be smart with your decisions and do your research.
Of course this should be taken with a grain of sea salt. There will always be an exception as some artists have different groups of fanbases and target more than one particular market. However, using these examples as a general outline will give you a good start.
Knowing your fanbase is just one segment in creating a marketing plan, which by the way, is a good idea for all artists to have. When you apply for funding and/or business loans you must have an idea of your targeted market. If you surf on over to you can find documents to assist you. The“Marketing Plans for Artists” document was very helpful to me when I was creating a plan for my band.
Ok, I need to scoot now, “Whale of Fortune” is on.
Swim on music lovers,
About Percy:
Occupation: Office know-it-all
Sign: Pisces
Hobbies: Synchronized swimming and reading industry articles
Favourite food: Soybean meal
Favourite film: Jaws
Favourite song: “Ocean Man”: Ween