An Unexpected Upside to Niche Programming

Programming content for a venue has more impact than probably anything else on sales. A lot of people approach this with the assumption that it’s best to appeal to more people — as many and as broad a group as possible.

The off-Broadway show, "Craving for Travel," was created for a niche audience.

The off-Broadway show “Craving for Travel” aims to reach people in the travel business. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus/Blake Zidell & Associates

Funnily enough, it often works the other way around. Narrowing the focus of your content to a group that can seem unbelievably small can be even more effective. An off-Broadway show called Craving For Travel (bit of an awkward title … maybe there’s an inside joke during the show that makes it make sense) was created by people in the travel business. Their intended audience, at least in part, is people in the travel business.

That seems crazy. Surely that’s not enough people to make a show a success.

I don’t know anything about the results this specific show is having, but I’d like to suggest that there’s a “law” to marketers when it comes to programming for niche or highly targeted audiences.

I call it the Law of Niche Targeting. It goes like this: The probability of attracting a member of a niche audience with niche content is inversely proportional to the size of the niche.

In other words, it’s a multiplication problem. Let’s say the show was created for me, personally. Jim, The Show. That’s a pretty small niche, but there’s an excellent chance I’ll be interested. On the other end of the spectrum, A Salute to Humans!, targeted at all 7 billion of us, has a much bigger relevant audience, but much less attraction to any one of the 7 billion.

So neither is right and neither is wrong. You might have just the show for Hungarian skiers who work in the stock market and raise ferrets, but the market might be too small.

Of course, none of this changes the fact that the content has to be good. That’s a separate challenge!

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