Authored by: A M2DMMer serving in Eastern Europe
Right Message. Right Person. Right Time. Right Device.
In a small country in Eastern Europe, over a period of five days, 36,081 people engaged with a spiritual ad in their language. This ad was strategically created with the intent of finding a potential Person of Peace (PoP). To give this group of people the opportunity to engage with spiritual content over a period of five days, it cost $150.
While to some, $150 may seem like a drop in the bucket, over time it “ads up” (pun intended). Every cent spent is important. This is true not only for the sake of wanting to honor God by being godly stewards of the funds given but also because every cent that is spent is another chance for a person on the path of lostness to get a glimpse of the path of light and change their course. Therefore, every cent has value and deserves to be handled with both thanksgiving and intention.
While Media to Movements is meant to accelerate finding spiritually seeking people, the question that begs to be asked is, are there other things, certain intentional components that can be used to accelerate this process even further and make every cent count?
One of the most important and valuable tools to help us make the most of the Kingdom opportunity that has been given us is called a Persona; a concept borrowed from the world of marketing.
Remember, the job of the content creator is to get the right message, in front of the right person, at the right time and on the right device. It’s this very thing that a Persona helps us to do.
What is a Persona?
Simply put, a Persona is a fictional character created to be a representation of your target audience. This fictional character is then the person to whom the media content is targeted. Sounds fancy, huh?
A Persona is a fictional character created to be a representation of your target audience.
Understanding Felt Needs
If you are an evangelist in any language, tribe or country, you likely have already utilized the basics of a Persona time and again. Have you ever sat with someone over a meal or coffee, heard them express a need and then showed them a pathway from their problem to knowing Jesus? Have you ever stood across from a pair of hungry eyes and outstretched hands and lovingly reached out to offer help by way of food or funds while breathing a prayer in Jesus’ name? You met them. You saw them. You entered into their world. You heard and identified their need. And then you acted in the name of Jesus based on the information you had gathered.
You’ve done this many times on a micro level. The concept of a Persona is simply taking these steps– meeting people, seeing them, entering their world, and hearing & identifying their need– and applying them on a macro level.
Just as you think about and know the felt needs of your language conversation partner, the Persona embodies and represents the felt needs of your target audience.
The Persona embodies and represents the felt needs of your target audience.
Just as you can bring your neighbor closer to Jesus because you know his felt needs, you can bring your target audience closer to Jesus because, with the help of the Persona, you understand their felt needs.
In the marketing world, the best way that they have found to connect with their audience, know their felt needs and create relevant content is by creating a fictional person intended to represent the felt needs of their target audience.
This fictional person is called a Persona.
Super Bowl Example
Also in the marketing world, no big-time campaign is started without this fictional character; or Persona. Knowing their audience is paramount. Think about the [tooltip tip=”The Super Bowl is the biggest sporting event in the United States and is well known for its tv commercials during the broadcast of the game”] American Super Bowl [/tooltip] commercials for a moment. It is highly probable that the marketing departments of Doritos and Bud Light do extensive research to compile a Persona for their target audience every year. This is a large part of what makes Super Bowl commercials so genius. They know their audience– many of whom are chip-eating, beer-drinking American football fans who watch tv shows like Game of Thrones and take pride in their cars, their food and just want to have a good time. And then, they target their commercials to this specific audience.
Just as the Persona helps the Doritos marketing team to connect to their audience, make money as their YouTube videos views spike, and ultimately see Doritos in the hands of the masses, the Persona will help you to connect with your audience, increase the number of those exposed to the Gospel and increase the number of those responding to your local believer online, to the praise and glory of Jesus Christ our Lord.
However, before we visionaries get too excited, it must be noted that no matter how on point the Persona and no matter how great the content we create, finding Persons of Peace is impossible without the power of the resurrected Christ working in the hearts and minds of the target audience. The Persona can and will help us to make the media content relevant and context appropriate but it is our Almighty Father who draws hearts.
Develop a Persona
If at this point you are asking questions like, “What does a Persona look like? How long does it take to write?” you’re not alone. Consider taking the course on Personas, a conglomeration of resources from the business world, field best practices, Mobile Ministry Forum, and Media2Movements .