Types Of Music Consumers

May 22, 2016

Was reading through the April/May issue of ad rag B&T and came across this little consumer-themed DIY paper fortune teller:

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Nice touch, hey? I remember doing these in primary school but can’t actually remember what we wrote on this inside. Especially since I spent all eleven years of school in single sex institutions, so there was no crushing on boys for me!

The B&T paper fortune teller was not about high school heart throbs, but rather types of consumers. These were the possible choices:

  • The Troll – a.k.a. every brand’s worst nightmare, a.k.a. dicks, a.k.a. arseholes with too much time
  • The Researcher – weirdos like me who watch YouTube videos of people using stuff before I buy it
  • The Social Crusader – charity/brand partnerships were made for these kinds of folks
  • The Bargain Hunter – zombies you see lining up outside MYER at 4am on Boxing Day
  • The Pragmatist – sensible people
  • The Anti-Consumer – ad blockers are like water to these peeps (read: 100% necessary)
  • The Shopaholic – new stuff now, all day, err’day
  • The Loyalist – hardcore brand advocates (or maybe too lazy to stray)
  • (Side note – I think this is also missing a new type of consumer… Users who purchase/use items for prestige and how it’ll make them look on social media. You have no idea how many times I’ve been at brunch and my fellow diners order certain food because it’ll Instagram better. But I get there’s only space for 8 consumers. And also this is a joke thing they printed in their magazine and I’m probably the only person who actually cut it out. Okay, byeee.)

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Cute gimmick, but made me think about how marketing music as a product is so different to other industries. (NB when I say music as a product, I’m referring to an experience like recorded music and live music, whether it’s a music video, album on vinyl, Spotify stream, festival or concert. Not so much things like purchasing guitars, mixing software, piano lessons or rehearsal studios.)

You can’t apply these consumer stereotypes when it comes to something so subjective and wildly personal as experiencing music. There’s no such thing as a Bargain Hunter, unless you maybe count jerks who illegally download music. The Researcher doesn’t really exist with music, because you can read a thousand reviews about an album, but you physically need to listen to it to decide if it floats your boat.

When I think about the different music consumers I’m trying to target for a campaign, I imagine them less as archetypes and more as varied individuals who sit on different points along three different spectra. And where a single music fan is on these scales depends on what the music product is (e.g. a guy who goes to Meredith without fail but needs at least three bands he likes to consider Splendour, but will Instagram the shit out of both festivals if he’s there). These are:

Fans ←→ Not Invested

Fans are the folk we all love… Those gorgeous people who frantically refresh the ticketing page of their favourite festival when tickets go on sale (regardless of lineup), or folk who pre-order an album three months before it’s released. Not invested people aren’t haters, they just need a lot more than a name to get them to commit to a music product. Fans generally give us higher CTRs and lower CPCs. Not invested people can sometimes eat up advertising budgets because they need so much convincing.

Trendsetters ←→ Slow Burners

Think of music nerds who love discovering new music via Paul Lester or Indie Shuffle, compared to peeps who need to hear a song on Triple J daily for two months before they like it, or need all their friends to be going to a festival before they land a ticket for themselves as well. I think social media advertising works better on slow burners than publisher advertising because they can see if their mates are interacting with a band/festival on that platform. Stats-wise for slow burners, think targeting groups that clock up high frequency scores.

Vocal ←→ Silent

Regardless of where consumers sit on the above two scales is unrelated to how vocal they are about music. Some people will tweet about new albums (even if they hate it, or maybe especially if they hate it), tag themselves at music festivals and Instagram pictures of what’s spinning on their record player that moment. Silent characters just go about their music consumption without involving other people. Dollars from both types of consumers are great, but vocal consumers are more likely to act as brand advocates and take part in activations. Silent consumers also tend to just click on website links on Facebook advertising without also liking or commenting on the post.

Maybe I’m just thinking about things too much, but I definitely find it useful to figure out who I’m trying to reach and at what times. For example, no point targeting hardcore fans during week three of a campaign because they’ve probably already dropped some cash on whatever it is I’m trying to get them to look at.

Shoot me an email if you know how I can put three scales on a paper fortune teller ;)

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