Lesson in Business - Know Your Target Market.

Mid-February I received an e-mail from one of the web hosts I use. They’ve just launched a new web streaming service where church ministers can upload sermons in audio and video for visitors to stream. The service was based on a previous service, for Christian musicians, which is going really well. As well as the audio and video streaming, ministers can get all the usual stuff included with a web host account.

Today, I received a second e-mail from the same web host. Only 3 people had responded so far, and the web host company is disappointed. I suppose they’re wondering why ministers, pastors and preachers aren’t jumping at the chance to have their sermons and messages streamed over the internet.

The question I have is whether the web host know their target market well enough in order to try and muster the demand they want for their service. That’s the key to supply and demand – do you know what your target market actually wants, or are you assuming you’ve got the next big thing? Just because you launch a new product, for a specific market, it doesn’t mean the market is ready for it yet!

The way churches work (well. the ones I know of) is that decisions can take months, and then it’s an even longer wait until anything happens. Those involved in the decision process like to have all the information available, know others have tried it first, and really just want to take their time making a big decision. Plus, when it comes to money, there may be other people who need to be involved in the decision making process before a penny is spent. This means it could be a long time after the initial consultation that a decision is made.

What the particular web host should have done is launched the service like they have done, but looked at getting initial buyers in the next 6 months, not 2 weeks. A fortnight is a very short length of time for decisions to be made in churches (even if you assume this is a small purchase), so when you advertise to churches expect a response in a lot longer timescale then you would any other business.