Finding Your Sam: Microtargeting in Ministry


“If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.”

Zig Ziglar, American author and speaker

That’s true in ministry, especially when a ministry is over programmed and under focused. In order to maximize our ministry efforts and increase a ministry’s focus, we need to ask: Who is our customer? Who are we trying to reach? One way to establish a clear target market or specific customer is to use microtargeting. Microtargeting, a marketing strategy, uses consumer data and demographics to pinpoint persons or small groups of people that share similar ideals, and impact their behaviors.

To microtarget your ministry’s programs and events, gather data from websites such as My Best Segments or by entering your church’s zip code when prompted. Select the information that is most applicable to your ministry including facts about schools, parents, family status, free lunch, income, technology use, etc. Use this information to develop a persona, a fictional character, to represent the child or family who you are trying to reach. As you develop you persona, describe his or her likes, dislikes, mindsets, skills, goals, and background. To make your persona believable, include some fun, imaginary features and give it a gender-neutral name such as Sam or Shannon. If possible, draw a life-size representation of Sam and keep Sam front and center in your ministry planning area. Using personas puts a face on the kids we are trying to reach.

As you develop new or evaluate existing programs, use your persona as a filter, asking these questions: How does this program resonate with Sam? Which of Sam’s needs are we meeting? How does this event connect with Sam’s existing behaviors? How will Sam feel as this event? How will we involve Sam’s parents? Design your program or ministry event (and marketing) using the answers to these questions. You’ll hit the bull’s-eye with your efforts.

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