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Who Is Your Target Audience?
By Michael Allison - 10/23/2002 - 11:54 PM EDT

Over the years a lot of people have asked me - "What do I need to know all of this business stuff for? I'm a musician, not a Wallstreet Executive!" Then there are those that say things like - "Hey dude, just tell me how to sell my music and get signed without learning how to run a business first." Well the truth is, music is a business too. If you don't understand the simplest form of running a business, your likelihood of being eaten alive is way higher than someone who at least understands the basics. I also like to write these articles for those who are true Do It Yourself'ers. Some folks can't rely on the dream of someone coming along and making them a star overnight. I believe that the more you know about what you do, the better off you'll be in the long run. That's what this article and those that will follow are going to try and help you with. Of course no amount of preparation will make you a big success, but it sure won't keep you from it. That's true with everything.

I wanted to start off with one of the most important aspects of marketing. Figuring out who your target audience is. Why is this important? Well, unless you want to waste all of your marketing money and time on people who could care less about you or your music, then it's very important that you follow along. In my opinion, one of the biggest reasons for the huge amount of failure with internet businesses was that target advertising wasn't implemented as it should be. People were spending tons of money placing their banners and ads anywhere that received a ton of hits. Though that may seem like the right thing to do, the biggest areas aren't always the best place to advertise. Especially since you don't know who is there and who isn't. You know nothing about their demographic profile. This is the first step in planning any marketing campaign.

A demographic is a set of objective characteristics that describe a group of people. In your case, people who will be willing to listen to or buy you music. Those characteristics include things like age, sex, race, interests, location, and sometimes education and lifestyle. The most important characteristic is age. Most of today's music is sold to teens. That is why record companies are so enthusiastic about bombarding the airwaves with teen acts. That doesn't mean that older people don't listen to music also. It also doesn't mean that they don't listen to the same music as their teenagers. So for the first characteristic chore, you need to decide what age group would prefer your style of music. That shouldn't be too difficult.

Characteristics such as race, sex, interests, education and lifestyles should be fairly easy to understand. If you do have trouble, you can always email me and ask for help. One of the problems for many is understanding why location is so important. Well, if you were to attempt to promote your electronica rock band in an area that was mostly a country music location, you probably wouldn't do to well. That's why location is so important. It's also why certain styles of music seem to get started in certain areas. Alternative/Grunge in Seattle, Glam Rock and Metal in LA - well you get the picture.

Now that you have your demographic, you need to figure out where these folks are and how to reach them. Let's say that your demographic is for white 15 to 22 year old males, many college educated, with an interest in politics and social subjects. You've decided that these people can live pretty much anywhere, but are mostly found in larger cities. So how do you get their attention? That's what you need to figure out. Are they in certain clubs, coffee shops, bars? Do they frequent campus parties, sporting events, charity drives, school functions, hang out in the local park, in certain chat rooms or website forums, what? Where do they get their music from? Is it mostly radio? What station? Is it mostly TV? What channel? Is it mostly internet? Magazines, clubs, newspaper articles? Where is it? Obviously you'll need to do some research. That can be as simple as asking them what they do and where they hang out. This is also why certain characteristics are so important. Knowing many of these characteristics such as interest will answer many of these questions for you. Once you figure that out, that's when you start building your marketing campaign around that information.

Hopefully now you understand why knowing your target audience is so important. In my next article, I'll show you how to build your marketing campaign around this information. Right now, you need to peg down your demographic. Don't be too broad either. Narrow it down as close as possible. That will make everything to come a lot easier for you.

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