Recently I was sitting in a room in with a group of South East Asians who are putting together a bang up media strategy. I am really proud of these guys. This strategy is well thought out from the time a person connects with the one of the four media organizations until the field worker picks them up to start a Discover Bible Study (DBS). This small group is highly focused, and the data shows that of those who are vetted for field follow-up, 30% end up starting a DBS. Keep in mind that these are Muslims who are starting these DBS groups.
One of the key features to this group’s success is that they are seeker-centric in their media strategy. Reflecting back on the concept of New Media, the seeker directs his/her conversion pathway, with the media strategist helping the seeker by giving the information that they need at they time they need it and encouraging the seeker to engage with their reference groups (remember Fishbein?). This is all done in a highly resistant Muslim context.
Adjust to your audience's journey
When Jesus conversed with the Samaritan woman in John 4, he engaged her on the issues of shame and her desire to find “living water” to satisfy her thirsty soul. In the previous chapter Jesus met with Nicodemus on his terms by meeting at night and discussing his issues of theology. In both cases, the end goal was for the seeker to understand righteousness by faith, yet in these two encounters Jesus adjusted his “communication” strategy to match their pathways.
To be clear, we always want to make sure the seeker gets the “full gospel,” righteousness by faith, but it is done in such a way that we don’t answer extraneous questions that the seeker does not care about. If you feel this is fairly rudimentary, it is—it is just a natural way of interacting people. God is drawing people to Himself (John 6:46), and we are helping them along their God directed path. One media organization calls this a “media strategy of one.” I like that.
Persona is central to the New Media strategy. Persona is a composite sketch, representative of people who you want to reach (remember “who is your audience”). In the Gospel of John examples above, we have the “thirsty woman” and the “theologian.” Kingdom.Training has a great course on persona. As we discussed before, the work we do is with high-level decision-making where identity change is essential. Most marketing material on personas are based on “adding something” to one’s identity structure. Hence, I prefer to expand the persona concept to consider “spiritual pathways” and not just persona in its usual definition.
To more adequately discuss the issue of persona, I have linked another article on personas. You will observe in the article that persona based strategy is not static.
You will always be improving on understanding seekers’ various pathways.
What you learned from one campaign will inform you on the next campaign. This is the essence of New Media – it is data driven and is continually learning to do things better. It is adaptive.
Use keywords to identify conversion stage
I want to highlight an important part of persona strategy: keywords. I cannot emphasize this enough. Keywords will be used in search engine optimization such as Goggle Ads, but key words will also be useful in identifying what conversion stage your seeker is currently in. I would encourage you to read the book eMarketing Strategies for Complex Sales. They do a great job of explaining persona in high-level decision-making.
Track personas through the funnel
In the next article I will put persona into a funnel strategy for high-identity conversions. In another article I will discuss a way to measure a seeker’s conversion journey through a “modified Sogaard scale.” You can use these practical tools (persona, funnel, and modified Sogaard scale) in your media strategy.
Keep in mind, New Media is about strategy. It is not like “bolting on” Facebook to broadcast strategies. It is a whole different animal.