Session 2: Market Research

What and Where is Your Market?

When you develop a marketing plan, you can strategically broaden and diversify your audience and client base. Understanding your target audience is key to this development. Find what and who else is out there, and ask the right questions before you launch into a new market with no grounding.

Market Research Basics

8 Ways to Conduct Market Research

Conducting market research is critical to matching what you do, to the person who will buy it by helping you:

  1. Know your customer. If you know your customers or potential audience – that is, what they like and don’t like – your chances of being successful are enhanced tremendously.
  2. Know who is not your customer. Some people will never be interested in what you have to offer. You shouldn’t be wasting effort either trying to reach those people, or worse, trying to change what you do dramatically to reach those people. Stay focused. Do only what you are good at and attract those who want it.
  3. Know where your customer is.

Read the handout for more information

AEI Market Research Basics

Research Questions

1. What questions can you ask yourself to get a deeper understanding of your audience? You can start with those listed in the handout above.

2. To what degree do you know what your audiences think of you and your work?

3. How can you find out how people perceive you, your creative practice and their interactions with you?

4. Market research might feel artificial, intrusive or uncomfortable as an individual artist or sole proprietor. What are some strategies you can employ to conduct market research that feels more authentic to you and your brand?


1. Write down three questions you have about the people who engage with you and your art.

2. For each question, write down one research strategy or method that you plan to employ that could begin to answer that question.

3. Create a deadline for completing this analysis.

C4 Atlanta, Competitive Advantage

Market Research

Equally as important to understanding the people who will buy your work (or tickets to your show, copies of your book, etc.) is understand who else is solving that same problem. To get a better understanding of how you are different than your competitors, there are a number of research strategies and questions you can ask. Read the Market Research handout in the previous session for more information about primary research. You can also find research about the local arts economy and the players that make up each industry in our Research Library.

Reflection Questions

  1. Who offers the same type of work you do?
  2. Who outside of your peer artists, writers and performers are solving the same “problems” as you and your work? I.e. where else could they be spending that money for a similar experience.
  3. In what ways is your work different from theirs?
  4. How else is your work benefiting the people who experience it in addition to the initial “problem” in question 2?