Not all audiences are the same, and we need to be specific in our understanding of different groups – why they attend, why they might not and how we can best persuade them, in order to engage them i.e. what messages will be most effective. By segmenting audiences into groups of people who are most likely to respond to a similar message, we can design our marketing activity accordingly. Segmentation is a compromise of efficiency – grouping people so that we avoid having to make a bespoke offer for everyone that is too expensive or a general offer for everyone that is too bland.


  1. Start with what you know
  2. Add in some trusted sources
  3. Test it out with venues
  4. Ask the audience

This is a simple process which you can use to build understanding of your audience groups and draw together a picture of each of them (literally or descriptively). It may take a matter of months or more than a year to get the fullest possible picture of your audiences. The timescale will depend on the resources you have to develop your segmentation and the opportunities you have to observe and engage with them. However, for many touring companies it may not be necessary to go all the way, as a little information and a good conversation with a venue or partner may be all that is required.

1. Start with what you know

You probably already know quite a lot about your audiences, based on your observations, conversations and

instincts. For example, based upon the types of events you deliver you will have an idea about the kind of arts activities they like; you will probably also have seen for yourself what sort of age groups tend to enjoy your work; and perhaps will have seen the same faces at different performances, which will tell you if they attend often, are prepared to travel and are your ‘loyal fans’, or maybe have some direct connection to you/your company.


List your key audience groups and describe their characteristics and your assessment of their relationship with your work or similar work. These should be equivalent to light sketches of the types of people in each group. Involve your colleagues and use whatever information you have available, however anecdotal. To inform your thinking look at some of the characteristics of audience groups within the segmentation sources such as:

Audience Spectrum segmentation


Acorn segmentation

Culture segments segmentation