A celebrity once described his fame this way:
95% of the world has no idea who I am. To the other 5% I'm the Beatles.
This is an accurate viewpoint of life in the modern world. The vast, VAST majority of the people will never, ever know about your work in the arts.
They will never know a thing about your theatre. They will not have a clue that your dance company exists. Your book will be completely unfamiliar to them.
That doesn't mean that your marketing is failing, or that your career is off track. It just means that we live in a big world with a lot going on. To expect any random person to know about your work unless you are Apple, Walmart, Beyonce, or something similiar is borderline insanity.
That is why it drives me crazy when I hear someone say something along these lines:
"My best friend/neighborhood/work colleague/whoever hasn't heard of Art Thing X"
The implication is always that if someone hasn't heard of it then somehow it doesn't exist. It can lead to well meaning people and organizations burning a ton of resources trying to build a sliver of awareness in people that may never give a damn.
Maybe it's because technology has become such an important part of our lives but too many of us treat our artistic careers and organizations like they are Buzzfeed. We act like the goal is to keep bringing in more and more bodies. We obsess over it.
But the true power and growth a career arc needs always comes from the proverbial 5% that love you . . . that see you as the Beatles.
So the next time you mention your work to someone and they say "never heard of you" take it as a badge of honor. They probably aren't your audience. Then go spend a little more time cultivating the audience you have.
Note: You have a little over a week left work with me one on one and improve your arts marketing. Several spots are already gone so if you want in, sign up. Details and sign up are HERE.