Sometimes we get questions from our Contact Us page. When we do, we try to answer the query. Sometimes, the question is broad enough that it warrants a blog post of its own. Such is the case with this query …
“I read your target audience post and it made sense to me. Given our church’s resources, I think that our church’s target audience needs to be what are called ‘Dones,’ that is, people who were once in church but have since quit for whatever reason.”Faithful Effective Church Blog Reader
Good start, but here’s a serious issue. You’ve chosen such a broad target that it’s not possible to do effective marketing to them, let alone design a worship service for them. When you target everyone, you reach no one – that’s a marketing axiom that is absolute.
A twenty-something with church experience who’s left the church has almost nothing in common with a sixty-year-old who’s left the church. You won’t “catch” them with the same bait. For instance, the learning style of the twenty-something is highly interactive – they tune out from lectures if they can’t participate/interact on multiple levels. On the other hand, the learning style of the sixty-year-old is image and video driven – but they’ll get pretty uncomfortable if you ask them to interact with each other. Can the two worship together? Yes, but if they’re a first-time guest and you can’t connect/relate with the learning style, it’s unlikely you’ll return. In addition, the twenty-something likely listens to Hip-Hop (it’s the #1 music genre in the US as of 2019) – and the sixty-something definitely doesn’t listen to Hip-Hop. Build a service for the sixty-something, the twenty-something can’t relate … and vice versa.
And that’s just learning style and music decisions you must make to reach a target audience. Then there’s technology, sermon content, hospitality expectations, dress, schedule factors, children options, marketing mediums, … and that’s just a few of the many options you have to customize to your target audience.
So, let’s try again with a more refined target … it’s okay to target the Dones and it’s fine to have two target audiences (traditional and non-traditional), but BOTH requires an understanding of a more focused target audience with different strategies for reaching them … because the only thing an 18 year-old Done has in common with an 85 year-old Done is that they’re both Done. You will never catch them both using the same marketing strategies.