The Knights Who Say Niche for arts audience development



1. an ornamental recess in a wall or the like, usually semicircular in plan and arched, as for a statue or other decorative object.
2. a place or position suitable or appropriate for a person or thing: to find one’s niche in the business world.
3. a distinct segment of a market.
4. Ecology . the position or function of an organism in a community of plants and animals.
adjective5. pertaining to or intended for a market niche; having specific appeal: niche advertising.

All Monty Python kidding aside, I would like to see more artists and arts organizations say niche.  I was looking at a theatre organization’s website yesterday, and despite the photos and marketing jargon being of a unique quality, the description and the overall look and feel of the organization did not separate them from everyone else.  In a time where it seems like there is an arts organization born every minute and a deep ended pool of individual artists of all kinds, having a niche should be mandatory.What makes you unique or different could make the difference in obtaining the right audiences for you and your art.  Taking the time, money and energy to create your niche brand is the best way to put your money and hard work to good use.  You can still be a theatre, orchestra, dance company, visual artist, film organization, etc., etc., without being exactly like another.  People will still recognize the type of art that you do, and they will also recognize why you are special in our world of art.

Take a look around you.  What arts brands stand out for you?  What arts organizations and artists grab the spotlight and are gaining the best audiences for themselves?  I assure you that these are the organizations and artists that are part of the fantastic group of The Knights Who Say Niche!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,


Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists


“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

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Filed under arts management, arts marketing, Audience Development

4 responses to “The Knights Who Say Niche for arts audience development

  1. Great point and perspective!

  2. Absolutely right. Niching has always been a very solid marketing approach, and it wouldbe great to see more arts organisations look at doing this proactively rather than falling into a niche by default. Larger organisations probably need more than one niche – especially if they are looking to expand their audiences – even if they are sub niches of a larger one. If this is the case then it is important that they know which audience falls into whcih niche so that they can communicate effectively. More work, but it would pay off in the end.

    • Thank you, Russell. Yes, sub niches for bigger organizations could be very effective. There is a concern of segmenting our audiences too much by doing this, but if you do not communicate with and present for your various groups of audience members in a way that rings true for them, you may end up losing these different types of audience members. It is more work, but getting to know your audiences well enough to be able to cater to them in this way will be beneficial.

      My one thought I would like to add is it might be a good process to sit down and visualize what type of community you are striving for with your mission. You can’t be everything to all people, and taking the time to decide who you want to be and what types of people would be good audience members can help steer you in the right direction.

      Thanks again for stopping by!

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