The Search for Audiences handbook is a tool for helping presenters (venues) build audiences. It details the research techniques CircuitWest and its participating members used for 12 Western Australian presenters in its projects involving focus groups (qualitative) and, in some cases, surveys (quantitative). It provides an overview of the main factors that influenced audience behaviour across the studies, as well as details the research questions posed and research respondents’ feedback. It also provides recommendations regarding strategies for audience development.
In July 2018, the Government of Western Australia funded CircuitWest to deliver grants, training, planning, facilitation and support for research into audience development across 12 regional towns and cities. Development of the project was prompted by feedback from presenters across WA based on a need to grow and better engage audiences, particularly in light of declining audience numbers across the sector.
The project provided one-off support for discrete audience development projects aiming to encourage new approaches to increasing audience numbers through in-depth research, listening to audiences engaged with presenters, collaboration with presenter-partner organisations and information from non-audiences who were not attending performances. The project supported new research projects and innovative thinking with the following aims:
- to create new strategic approaches to audience development;
- to learn how to promote products, works or organisations to new audiences in novel ways;
- to diversify and/or increase earned revenue streams through listening to audience
- to achieve business-objective growth based on insight into audience barriers;
- to deliver feedback for program development; and/or;
- to provide information pertaining to audience development for future marketing activities.
The handbook covers several key areas:
- the art of gathering
- target audience
- community needs
- the mystery