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How Can You Grow Your Target Market?

gamalhennessy Community • Jun 11, 2020

The combination of media competition, comparative value, isolated distribution and negative perception create an environment that suppresses growth in the market (See What Factors Limit Growth in Comic Readers?). In fact, there are economic indicators that suggest the size of the single-issue comic book market is shrinking.

According to a 2018 study, only 4% of Americans read comics on a regular basis. If there are 330 million people in the US, that’s just 13 million people overall. Industry analysis and comic shop owners claim the Big Two are pursuing tactics that attempt to squeeze more and more money from a limited group of devoted fans while their corporate owners only look to sell their content to the mainstream market in other media. At the same time, fundamental flaws in the direct market distribution model have plagued the industry for decades creating a closed system where the majority of growth comes from variant covers, crossover events, and narrative reboots that don’t fundamentally change the industry dynamics.

But comic book sales are not limited to comic book shops. In the same way prices in the real estate market rise and fall depending on what city you’re in and what part of the city you’re in, different elements of the comic book market are growing. The library market is increasing. The manga market is increasing. Graphic novel sales overall are increasing relative to single issues.  Digital sales are gaining momentum. The growth in other comic sectors and the popularity of comic ideas outside of the comic medium show that there is a potential audience hungry for your story, as long as you are willing to find them and build a relationship with them. You can’t rely on the growth of a particular sector to sell your book. The answer isn’t to just avoid comic shops or make graphic novels. You need to go out and build a market.

Where Does the Growth in the Target Market Come From?

Because you have limited resources, you need to focus on those groups of people who will be more open to your message and ignore those who won’t read your book no matter what you do. For our purposes, we can divide the world into four distinct groups in relation to your book. Each group will have qualities that make them more or less probable to join your market and enjoy your work based on their relationship to your medium and your message.

The Core Market: This is your main focus in terms of marketing.
o Positive: They fit your ideal reader profile and enjoy the medium of comics.
o Negative: They are going to be the smallest group and depending on your ideal reader profile, the size of this group might be getting smaller.
o Negative: There may be several different existing books competing for their attention.

The Potential Market: This is your largest source of new readers.
o Positive: They fit your ideal reader profile.
o Positive: They are not reading your competition
o Negative: They are ignorant of or resistant to the medium of comics.

The False Market: This group offers the illusion of growth but lacks real potential. They include the overall comic book market, other comic creators, and your family and friends who do not fit the ideal reader profile.
o Positive: They are interested in either reading comics or you as an individual. They may support your work out of courtesy or obligation, but not actual enthusiasm.
o Negative: They do not fit your ideal reader profile.
o Negative: They drain on your attention and resources without growing your market. They can also create emotional stress if you feel they are rejecting your creative project.

The Non-Market: This group is outside of your direct influence.
o Positive: This is the largest group of people because it can include the entire population of wherever you distribute your book.
o Negative: They do not fit your ideal reader profile and they are ignorant to or resistant of the medium of comics.
o Negative: They are the most expensive group to reach.

Once we divide the world into these four groups, it becomes easy to see where you should direct your efforts. Cultivate and nurture the core market and then reach out to engage the potential market for growth. Your core market and your target market will make up your overall target market. Avoid both the false market and the non-market to conserve your time, energy and money by not wasting them on fruitless efforts.

If you'd like to learn more about comic book marketing, be sure to sign up for our free webinar on June 25th. We'll show how all this information translates into new readers for your comic. 

Have fun with your comic

MCLent 1 year ago

Great article. Looking forward to the workshop on the 25th.


Christopher admin supporter 1 year ago

thanks @MCLent!