Implementation Part 2
Our Communication Strategy: Target Audience, Target Message
One of the authors I read in Christian Education class made a statement similar to the following:
If we do not take time think about what we want to teach people and how we want to teach them, the best that we can hope we occasionally do what we are trying to do. God’s word and God’s people are too important to be that random.
I believe there is a similar point to be made about marketing and communication. If we are not clear about what our message is, and to whom we are targeting our message, our best hope is that occasionally we have the right message for the right audience. God’s word and God’s people are too important to be that random.
I know it can be tricky to talk about the work of the church in business terms, but I think there are some important lessons that we can draw.
Target Audience: While P&G wants everybody to buy and to use Tide, they have a sense of who is most likely to be shopping for detergent, and they tailor there advertisement to that specific audience. (Please note that their marketing specificity does not stop them from selling Tide to any and everyone who wants to buy it).
For this strategic plan, I want to think about choosing as our target audience people who have Christian experience or exposure, but who are wrestling because the Black church seems out of touch with what’s happening in the world or the questions they have about what is going on in the world.
That may look like people who have stopped going to church, or people who only go to church on occasion. It also may be people who physically attend church out of habit or obligation, but their heart is really not in the church. Any of these actions may indicate that someone is looking for what we have to offer.
Target Message: Once you have the audience identified, you have to think through what is the message is authentic and has the ability to connect personally to their circumstances. To return to the Tide analogy, if P&G claimed Tide was able to cure cancer, that could definitely connect to many people’s circumstances, but it would be inauthentic. If they claimed Tide was the most extensively tested detergent in the market, that may be authentic but it would be hard to find the connection to people’s circumstances. But when Tide says, “if its got to be clean, its got to be Tide” that speaks both to what Tide will do (clean your clothes), and why you should buy Tide (most of us have had clothes with the one stain that we just hoped would come out).
If our target is audience is people who are Christians, but for whom church is becoming less relevant, then the message we might send is, Beloved Community Church is a place where people are connecting their faith and their lives in relevant ways.