Target Market 101 and the Power of Finding Your Best Target Market.

Target Market 101 and the Power of Finding Your Best Target Market - Melinda Massie Marketing blog

Choosing your target market is one of the most important facets of any marketing plan.

After all, it doesn't matter how fabulous your endeavors are if they don't get in front of the people that will enjoy them the most.

To help you with your target market, this week I'm sharing an excerpt on target market from my first marketing workbook - The Performing Arts Marketing Crash Course: Marketing 101 + Plan.

Target Market

What it is:

Your ideal audience.

Why you need it:

My favorite saying to encapsulate the target market experience is, “I’m not everyone’s cup of tea, but I am someone’s double whiskey.”

You need to decide your target market mainly to narrow down your marketing and get specific. You can’t be everything to everyone, nor should you be.

Trying to be everything to everyone dilutes your brand and message. You will cease to be unique. Furthermore, you can easily waste a lot of time, energy, and money if you try to market to everyone.

When you determine the right target market, everything flows more easily. Decisions are easier because they’re all aimed at what will appeal to and attract your target market.

For organizations, getting sales and donations is easier because your target market is already primed to support you. For performers, it’s easier to get hired because you’re attracting the companies that are the best fit for you.

What you need to know:

It can be hard to think about excluding people--and that potential--but choosing and tapping into the right target market for you is very powerful.

Think of it like casting. Everyone who auditions might be fabulous, but that doesn’t mean they’re the right person for the part. However when the right person for the part is cast, magic happens.

Though I know this, and have known this for decades, I’m always reminded of the power of the target market when I give workshops to performing arts people vs. groups that aren’t my primary (or even secondary or tertiary) markets.

I often teach marketing classes for TCU’s Extended Education department. My students in those classes are a wide mix of occupations, demographics, and business levels. Typically the only thing they have in common is that they chose to take my class.

Their receptiveness to me is as across the board as they are. Some dig me. Some dislike me. Others are indifferent. A couple say they’d like to work with me directly after the class is over, but it’s rare that I ever see or hear from them again.

Compare that to the times I do marketing courses for performing arts. In these classes almost 100% of the room is engaged, taking notes, and asking questions. Most also sign up for my newsletter and indicate they want to work with me after the class is over. Many stay after class to thank me or even tell me that I said exactly what they needed to hear, right when they needed to hear it.

The only difference in these classes is the market. My delivery to each class was no different. The material was no different. But the performing arts people are my target market and connected with me much better than the random business owners and hobby-ists.

Target market is real and powerful.

For your marketing plan:

Define your target market. Get into as much detail as possible. The more details you have, the more it can shape your marketing message. Know them as well as your best friends, because ultimately that’s what they are.

Things to consider include:

  • Who are they?

  • What are their demographics? List every detail you can think of--gender, income, interests, etc.

  • What motivates them?

  • What challenges are they facing (related to your niche)?

  • What is their pain?

  • What questions are they trying to find answers for?

  • What keeps them awake at night?


Pro tip: if you need a starter on who your audience is, look at the demographics details in your website and social media analytics.


Note: the challenges and pain points questions are typically for service providers and products so that they can show how their service/product can relieve that pain. For the performing arts industry, by knowing those things you can share how you’re an escape from their everyday problems. When I was a dance teacher, something that was a major benefit to my students was that dance was a mini-vacation from all of their problems--work, bills, car troubles, whatever bad things happened in their day. No matter what bad things were going on in their lives, none of that existed while they were on the dance floor. You can do a similar pitch to your audience, in that going to a performance is like a mini-vacation!


Pro tip: if you run with this mini-vacation idea, really run with it and go “full staycation.” Collaborate with nearby restaurants and hotels on package discounts. Run a contest to win a staycation package. Put together a gift basket of local treats from local businesses. Collaborating with local businesses is a great way to reach new audiences and expand your marketing reach.


Also know that it’s possible to have a few different ideal markets.

If you offer different types of programs and/or products, create a segment for each program/product. Example: school programs, young professional programs, and general show audiences are going to each have their own market. Outline descriptions of people in each.

You can also group by primary, secondary, and (if necessary) tertiary if you have some that will be your main aim, secondary aim, and then still related but on the outskirts.

Have you defined your target market yet? If not, why not? If so, who are they? Share with us in the comments below!

Like this excerpt and want more? Check out The Performing Arts Crash Course: Marketing 101 + Plan today!