A while back, I posted this question to our Facebook Filmmaking Stuff community: Who is your target audience?
The responses were varied. Filmmakers chimed in with everything from “tweens” to “adults over 30.” Many filmmakers responded with the word: “Everybody!” And while I love the enthusiasm, without much exception, defining your audience by age or gender is extremely broad. And unlike the major movie studios, you do not have the marketing budget to support this.
Who Is Your Target Audience?
Every week at least one filmmaker emails me with something like this:
“I made a movie and we just won best picture at a regional festival you never heard of! Since my movie appeals to every man, woman and child on the planet, I want to sell it for a million dollars? How do I make this happen?”
Can you understand why this sentiment is seriously flawed? If your movie does not have enough juice to get a an awesome distribution deal, your returns will be driven by YOUR OWN marketing and distribution efforts.
Let me be very clear.
I have been working in distribution for the greater part of my career, and I can tell you that many awesome movies get crappy distribution deals. In fact, most film distribution deals suck. An without a marketing budget to reach a global audience, you must focus on finding your niche audience.
One of the first places to find your audience is the local newsstand. If there are print magazines devoted to your movie subject, then those subscribers are part of your target audience. In addition to print, you will want to explore the Internet for online publications.
Open up a spreadsheet and add these publications to your list. Your goal is to create a database of the top fifty publications geared towards your niche audience.
Make a list of 5 ideal movie fan categories for your title
Once you create your list of print publications catering to your niche, your next step is to understand your audience. To do this, reach out to the top ten publications on your list and ask them to forward information about their subscriber demographics. Since magazine revenue is based on understanding subscribers, most established publications will have this info available.
From there, you will want to study this info and get to know your audience. Who are these people? Are they primarily men? Women? Teenagers? Do they have jobs? Are they business owners or unemployed? What is the average income? Are they college educated? Do they live in the city or on the farm? Once you have this information, you can create audience profiles for five ideal types of movie fans that you want to target within your niche.
Figure out why these fans should watch your movie.
In addition to getting inside the head of your audience, your next task is to figure out why these people enjoy your genre. Why would they want to watch your movie? What makes your movie unique from the other, competing movies in existence? How will your movie to appeal to viewing needs of your audience?
Who Is Your Target Audience: Action Steps
1. Who is your primary target audience?
Ex: Mid-west, male college kids who love zombie movies.
2. What makes your movie different from competing movies?
Ex: Our movie is about zombies that attack ninjas.
3. Why should your audience spend two hours watching your movie?
Ex: Fangoria says: Funniest zombie movie since Shaun of the Dead!
Taking time to understand your audience will enable you to create an image of your ideal audience member. This information will then be utilized when you create and refine your marketing message. If you have a movie you’re looking to sell, you may also want to check out How To Sell Your Movie.