Ask a secular programmer and he’ll give you a detailed description of just who his typical viewer is. He knows that the success of his program is based on how well he knows his audience and his ability to connect with them. He’ll spend huge sums of money to get just the right story line, script, sets, costumes, lighting, even stations and airtimes that will give him the best chance at reaching his audience—it’s just that critical to success.
Oddly, many Christian programmers haven’t a clue of just who their television or radio audience is.
Are they young or old? How young—how old? Do they tend to be married or single? Children? What about their church affiliation—if any? What are the needs they wrestle with daily? Are they Internet active? How fast is their connection?
To design programming around the audience is one of the keystones of success in this very expensive and unforgiving industry. To create programming without this vital knowledge is like a farmer just throwing his seed out in a field. Certainly, he will have some harvest, but only a fraction of the yield if he were to have a better understanding of the soil, the type of seed, when to plant, when to harvest, dominant weather patterns, etc.
Consider the Possibilities…
· Turn your website into a resource gathering work horse. It’s easy to design a pop-up survey that visitors could fill out by easily clicking through answers to various, targeted questions.
· Make sure you’re capturing at least a minimum of demographic information when your audience calls in to your call center.
· Add a simple one-page survey once-per-year to your direct mail stream. Offer an incentive (free book or tape, for example) and a post-paid envelope to increase response.
· Organize a simple “focus group” from people you know in roughly the same demographic you’re trying to reach. Have an independent third-party ask pointed questions about your programs, publications, letters, etc. Remember, the less familiar they are with you, the more honest they’ll be.
· More than anything, learn to be a good listener. The great ones in ministry have always been great listeners. And remember, it’s not about simply airing programs or writing books, it’s about touching lives.