A freelance career in the creative arts
A freelance career in the creative arts

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4.1 Audience segmentation

Audience segmentation is the process of dividing the potential audience for your product or service into groups.

Red, green and blue pins being separated into individual colour groups.

A small business or sole trader often won’t have the time or resources to cover their whole potential audience, so breaking your audience down in this way can help you decide which segments to target first. You might diversify into other segments as your business grows.

An example of audience segmentation is the Arts Council’s Audience Spectrum tool (2020), developed for them by The Audience Agency, in which they segment the UK population into ten distinct groups (Box 1).

Box 1 Audience spectrum tool

Metroculturals − prosperous, liberal, urbanites interested in a very wide cultural spectrum.

Commuterland culture buffs − affluent and professional consumers of culture.

Experience seekers − highly active, diverse, social and ambitious, engaging with arts on a regular basis.

Dormitory dependables − from suburban and small towns with an interest in heritage activities and mainstream arts.

Trips and treats − they enjoy mainstream arts and popular culture influenced by children, family and friends.

Home and heritage − from rural areas and small towns, engaging in daytime activities and historic events.

Up our street − modest in habits and means. Occasional engagement in popular arts, entertainment and museums.

Facebook families − younger suburban and semi-urban. They enjoy live music, eating out and popular entertainment such as pantomime.

Kaleidoscope creativity − mix of backgrounds and ages. Occasional visitors or participants, particularly community-based events and festivals.

Heydays − older, they are often limited by mobility to engage with arts and cultural events. They participate in arts and craft making.

(Arts Council, 2020)

The Arts Council (2020) explains that this tool ‘allows you to discover, compare and benchmark your audience with the whole population, something that has never before been possible.’

This particular tool is perhaps of most relevance to creative businesses that are focused on events, where the audience is physical and present. But if your creative business doesn’t have that type of audience, the segmentation process can still be valuable.

Having read through the ten groups outlined in Box 1, consider how you might segment your own audience. Perhaps you could come up with your own segment titles and definitions!

For example, a scenic artist might segment their audience into theatres, film producers, TV producers, theme parks and museums. The skills and experience they choose to highlight in a CV or portfolio might be slightly different, depending on which segment they are targeting.

Someone making textile art might segment their audience into galleries, gift shops, individuals buying gifts for others, individuals buying for their own home, the elderly, teenagers and seasonal purchasers. The segment they decide to target might impact on the colours, content, degree of nostalgia, price point, etc. of the work they plan to sell.

Find out more about the Audience Spectrum and similar tools through links in Further research.

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