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Booking Entertainers: Know Your Target Audience

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Want a packed house at your next live music event? One key to make that happen is to make sure you are booking entertainers that are a good fit for the people you wan to draw for the live entertainment event and vice versa. Music comes in all different genres and styles ranging from country to traditional rock, hip hop to jazz. This also means that audiences come in many different demographics and psychographics as well.

All successful marketing campaigns target a specific audience characteristics. A target audience is a group of individuals who have certain things in common with each other that sets them apart from other groups. You do not want to waste money by booking entertainers that won’t appeal to your target audience for your event.  You want to book a band that fits their desires and wants for live music events. Booking entertainers that are the right band or solo artist that match your audience is key to having a successful event!

Booking Entertainers: Start with Target Audience Demographics

DEMOGRAPHICS: This typically includes 6 main elements… Geographic Location, Gender, Race/Ethnicity, Age, Marital/Parental Status and Socioeconomic Status (GGRAMS). If you are trying to get millennials to an concert event, you might not want to be booking entertainers that are unlikely to appeal to them, such as Tony Bennett. If your audience is going to primarily include people from the upper crust Eastside of Manhattan, booking entertainers like a grunge band might not be the right fit either. The more precise you can target your audience, the better.

Consider these demographics as you consider booking entertainers.

  • Geographic Location – Is your target audience one of the urban, suburban, or rural nature? Would you bring a hip hop band to rural Texas? Yeah, me neither! What about pairing contemporary classical music entertainment with a group of single 21-year-olds in LA? Nope! That type of live music would not work with this geographic demographic.
  • Gender – What is the anticipated composition of male vs. female for the audience? Knowing, for example, the majority of your onlookers will be women is not enough. You need to dig deeper because you may find that they are predominantly single young struggling mothers vs. married and retired senior women of wealth. The more you know, the better the results.
  • Race/Ethnicity – What is the predicted ratio of Hispanic, White, African American, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, Middle Easterner, Two or More Races, etc.? TSE books entertainers for  Grito Festivals each year.  When booking entertainers, we must keep at the forefront of our minds that this is a celebration of the Hispanic culture.  For instance, in Baytown, TX Hispanics make up 40 percent of the population. TSE books Tejano, Norteño, Mariachi and other live entertainment that will appeal to this audience.
  • Age – Will the audience be predominantly of a younger generation, older generation, middle aged, or an assorted mixture of millennials, baby boomers, and Generation X? In that case a cover band that can play music popular over several decades might just be the right medicine for your live entertainment concert. If you dealing with a decidedly older crowd, don’t expect them to stick around until closing. You are better starting the entertainment earlier for this demographic age group.
  • Marital/Parental Status – Will your spectators be mostly married couples, singles accompanying other single friends, or again, a blend? Do they have children or do they lack that responsibility? These make a big difference because the needs of raising kids and sharing a household often trump the desires of people when they were living the footloose and fancy free single life.
  • Socioeconomic Status (SES) – SES is based on income, education, and occupation, and it is broken down into 3 divisions…high, middle, and low class. So, which of these levels do you hope to attract to your live music event? Knowing the SES of your audience, and hence income levels, will tell you what they can afford, whether or not social status is a factor for attendance, and if proposed ticket pricing strategy will work. If you are booking entertainment for a fundraising gala you would not charge the same price as if you were booking entertainment for a lower income social strata.


Examples of Booking Entertainers that Match the Audience

The key is to know the audience who will be attending or who you are trying to attract. You want to match audience demographics to the entertainer and therefore, book entertainment to match the audience. If you are booking entertainers for a dance hall in a small Texas town, Tribute to George Strait would be a great fit. Have a wedding reception coming to your venue, Mambo Jazz Kings would bring down the house. Talk about a perfect match, how about Beatlemania64 for a 50th high school reunion? Now those are crowd pleasers!

So what are the signs of a Engaged Audience? The following Audience Behaviors Show You Are Booking the Right Entertainers

  • High participation with lots of dancing
  • Singing along, smiling, and laughing with friends
  • Posting their experience on social media
  • Texting or calling other friends immediately to come join them
  • Staying for the entire performance
  • High sales of alcoholic beverages
  • High sales of band merchandise (if applicable)
  • Seeking interaction with band members during breaks
  • Asking date and location of the band’s next performance

It is imperative to keep in mind that the make up of audiences are rarely a monolithic group of people who think and feel things in the same way. When booking entertainers, remember audiences are comprised of people with diverse interests, attitudes, behaviors, needs, problems and motivations. Effective entertainment booking begins with understanding your target audience. From Adele to ZZ Top and from Willie Nelson to Sam Smith, matching the right entertainers and audience makes or breaks a performance!


About the author

Picture of Robert Brecht

Robert Brecht

Doctor Bob brings a diverse background in production, marketing, and business management to his position as Managing Partner of TSE Entertainment. His responsibilities include overseeing TSE’s services other than talent booking. He also manages the marketing and business operations side of TSE.
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