Most pastors and ministry leaders think that having a great message is 90% of the battle. Especially when I talk to people in the non-profit, advocacy, or religious media worlds, they often focus entirely on the message. Their thinking is that if the message is powerful and compelling, it will find the audience. But in today’s world, nothing could be further from the truth. Having a great message is important, but what the advertising world knows that others don’t is that you have to build pathways to your audience. Business leaders understand the concept as building pathways to your customer. The fact is, having a compelling message matters, but in today’s media-driven, distracted, competitive culture, it’s getting more and more difficult for your audience to find you.
Advertisers know they have to find their audience. That’s why they’re always looking for more effective media tools, from online video to kiosks inside stores to putting their message in the most unusual places. Next year, we’ll actually start to see walk up advertising with embedded cameras that can identify your gender, age, and size – then customize the advertising message to you.
While that might seem to be the start of “Big Brother,” there’s no question that these advertisers understand the supreme importance of connecting with potential customers. If you’re a pastor or ministry leader, I’d encourage you to start thinking about better pathways to your customer, congregation, donor, or audience. Always be on the alert to tweak those avenues to reach your audience more effectively. Find experts who can help, and listen to their advice.
Make sure your message is right, but that’s only the beginning. Because no matter how life-changing your message may be, if no one’s listening, you’ve failed.