Ways to View Market Segments
There are numerous ways to look at segments of a target market.
The savvy manager will not assume that the marketing department of a record label is viewing the full career of an artist in terms of the label’s target market segment. As we know, the traditional function of a label is marketing and distribution with the goal of selling recordings—not necessarily selling tickets and merchandise (although 360 recording contracts have changed this). So it is important that artist managers keep a continuous look at trends in the genre, in music generally, at new product technology, and in pop culture to find all opportunities for their artists that might be in the marketplace. The manager should then adopt those opportunities into the formal career plan of the artist to be sure they have become integrated into the goals set by the manager and artist.
A good definition of market segmentation is “the process of dividing a large market into smaller segments of consumers that are similar in characteristics, behavior, wants or needs” (Hutchison et al. 2009, p. 20):
● The broadest way to view a market segment is to define it by demographics such as age, sex, race, religion, and other similar criteria. This is the segmentation type used most often because it is relatively easy and inexpensive to create a target definition and it can help create distinctive target groups, although it can be somewhat shallow when compared with other segmentation methods.
● Geographic segmentation is another standard method of defining consumer groups, but it doesn’t reveal as much about potential customer groups as other ways.
● Psychographics segmentation is viewing a market segment based on the lifestyle characteristics of the buyers of music and tickets.
● Behavioristic segmentation looks at why consumers engage with a product, how they use the product, and what creates their loyalty to the product.
The last two methods of segmentation that help define the target market for an artist require considerably more thought and ongoing research by the artist manager in order to be useful. However, artist managers who stay current in their understanding of generational attributes of the target market in areas of psychographics and behavioristic segmentation will be able to find subtle ways to reach consumers that competing artists will not. An extension of this is to be continuously aware of changes within peer groups that might establish new attitudes to find opportunities, or to head off a consumer group’s flight from favoring an artist. There is no question that psychographic and behavioristic segmentation approaches can be expensive to include in career strategy development for the artist; however, where resources are available, they can offer a distinct advantage over artists who don’t use these sophisticated tools to more closely define their target market.
An informed understanding of the target market segment can be one of the most productive and efficient tools an artist manager can use in managing the career of an artist.
Excerpt from Artist Management for the Music Business, 3rd Edition by Paul Allen © 2014 Taylor & Francis Group. All Rights Reserved.
About the Author
Paul Allen is Associate Professor in the Department of Recording Industry at Middle Tennessee State University and co-author of Record Label Marketing, also published by Focal Press. He is also a frequent lecturer at other universities on artist management and other music business subjects. His career work has included radio, TV, political management, and the music business.