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87 Questions to Ask About Your Catholic Target Audience

Last week, I was sharing in my weekly newsletter why it's so important to know very minute details about our target audience - so we can be relevant and personalized instead of seen as obtrusive.


I crowdsourced for some questions my email subscribers wanted to know about their audience, and we came up with this list together that I'm now excited to share with you!


But first, if you need a recap on what a target audience is, take my free course on Catholic marketing where we go into this concept deeper.


Developing a Character Persona


Okay, so we know what a target audience is...now how do we get to know them better?


A popular marketing strategy is coming up with a character persona, a fictitious person you create to represent your target audience. Because it's a lot easier to write and design with a specific person in mind versus a large group.



For a secular start beyond just the age, occupation, number of kids, etc. demographics, I really like this list from Hello Social Media.


But...there's a lot of nuances in the Catholic faith. God made us all unique and with 1.2 billion Catholics, there's a lot of variety and subsets we can explore and target (because remember, the more specific, the better!).


So I decided to come up with a list of questions you should ask about your Catholic target audience!


Before We Start


The very first thing we need to figure out about our Catholic target audience is where they are in their faith journey, or the Catholic continuum as I call it.


Are they Christmas and Easter Catholics, most Sundays, every Sunday, Sunday+ (every Sunday plus active in ministries/groups), or Daily Mass goers?


Essentially, are they Catholic in name only or is their faith their primary identity?


This question alone will dictate a lot, because marketing to a cultural Catholic is vastly different from marketing to someone who attends Mass daily.


The second is religious vocation. Our marketing to professed religious sisters will be vastly different than to a woman who has been married for 35 years.


Once you know these two, then you can begin to think about these other questions.


87 Questions to Ask About Your Catholic Target Audience


Remember, these are in addition to the basic questions of age, number of kids, occupation, etc. to help you get to know them better from a Catholic perspective!


Mass and Prayer

  1. Do they believe in the True Presence?

  2. How often do they go to Confession?

  3. How often do they pray?

  4. What is their favorite prayer?

  5. Do they prefer to pray in a group or by themselves?

  6. Where are you most likely to find them praying (in the car, at home, in Adoration, outside)?

  7. Do they prefer rote prayers or freestyle?

  8. What is their biggest struggle when it comes to their prayer life?

  9. How often do they pray the rosary?

  10. Do they know what Adoration is? If so, do they have a regular holy hour or access to Perpetual Adoration?

  11. Do they watch Mass online instead of attending in person? If so, why?

  12. If they're less active attendees, why don't they attend? (Time, don't feel welcome, aren't in good standing with the Church, etc.)


Bible

  1. Who is their favorite Biblical figure?

  2. Do they have a preferred translation of the Bible?

  3. What is their favorite Bible story?

  4. Do they prefer to read the Bible physically, digitally, or auditorily?

  5. Are they part of a Bible study?

  6. Do they read the Bible regularly?

  7. Have they done Bible in a Year?


Saints

  1. How familiar are they with the saints? Do they know their stories/pray to them?

  2. Who is their Confirmation saint?

  3. Which saint follows them around?

  4. What saints are part of their "saint posse?"


Church Teachings

  1. Which Church teaching do they struggle with the most?

  2. Are they more likely to turn to the Catechism/church documents or media sources like podcasts or YouTube when they have questions?

  3. Where do they fall on moral/political issues such as abortion, homosexuality, etc.?


Spiritual History

  1. Are they a convert, revert, or cradle Catholic?

  2. If they were a convert or revert, what was the number one theological hurdle they had to climb?

  3. What was faith like in their childhood?

  4. Have they experienced any religious discrimination or pushback/challenge?

  5. Have they experienced any trauma or abuse from the church/its members?


Catholic Media/Culture

  1. What Catholic speaker would they drive two hours+ to hear?

  2. If you opened their phone, which Catholic podcast would be queued up?

  3. Are they rocking out to praise and worship or Gregorian chant (or both)?

  4. Do they celebrate all the feast days/do liturgical living?

  5. Do they read their parish bulletin, email newsletter, or follow on social?

  6. Would they prefer to read a Catholic article or watch a video?

  7. Do they follow any Catholic influencers on social media? Which ones?

  8. How familiar would they be with popular Catholic personalities like Fr. Mike Schmitz, Bishop Robert Barron, etc.?

  9. How familiar would they be with Catholic apps like Hallow or shows like The Chosen?


Rites and Identifications

  1. What rite are they (Roman, Byzantine, Maronite, etc.)?

  2. Do they prefer Novus Ordo or Traditional Latin Mass?

  3. Would they describe themselves as charismatic or traditional?

  4. Would they describe themselves as liberal or conservative?

  5. If female, do they veil?


Community

  1. Do they like their parish?

  2. Are they involved in parish life? Why or why not?

  3. Are they part of any small groups/Bible studies? If they aren't, why aren't they? (Timing, don't fit in, etc.)

  4. What are they looking for from small groups? (Connection, prayer, learning, etc.)

  5. Do they volunteer at the church? If so, what kind of ministry (service, liturgical, catechesis, etc.)?

  6. Do they feel comfortable (or would they want to) talk to their local pastor/parish staff?


Spiritual Life

  1. Are they overall satisfied in their vocation or do they experience difficulties there?

  2. Do they believe in the True Presence?

  3. If they're on the less active side, what impressions do they have about Jesus and Catholicism? How would they describe their faith?

  4. Do they go on retreats regularly? Do they prefer silent retreats, retreats with a specific theme, or big conferences?

  5. On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 1 being not at all/never thought about it and 10 being basically a living saint), how much do they trust God?

  6. If something was ahead of God in their life, what would it be?

  7. Do they belong to a third order?

  8. What gift of the Holy Spirit do they exemplify the most?

  9. What gift of the Holy Spirit could they use to grow in?

  10. Do they have any particular charisms?

  11. What one question would they ask God?

  12. What would they be the patron saint of someday?


Education and Work

  1. Did they attend Catholic school? Religious ed?

  2. If they have children, do they attend public school, Catholic school, homeschool, or other?

  3. Have they received all of their sacraments?

  4. Do they have a degree in theology?

  5. How confident do they feel in their general knowledge of Catholicism?

  6. Have they ever worked in ministry?

  7. Do they work for a Catholic organization?

  8. Do they have a spiritual director?

  9. Have they ever been involved in a year of service or mission work (domestic or abroad)?


Lived Faith

  1. Is living the faith outside of Mass important to them? Do they feel like they are doing it well?

  2. Do they have Catholic decor or apparel?

  3. How many rosaries do they own?

  4. Have they ever talked about their faith with someone who wasn't Catholic?

  5. Is their family as faithful as they are, or are they the odd man out?

  6. Are they more likely to support someone or buy something because it's Catholic or offered by a Catholic?


Faith Expression

  1. Have they ever heard God's voice? What is their relationship with God?

  2. Are they passionate about any particular devotion or practice? (Ignatian spirituality, TOB, Seven Sorrows)

  3. Do they wear a scapular, crucifix, miraculous medal, etc.?

  4. How involved (or interested) are they in evangelization? Are they comfortable sharing their faith? If not, what holds them back?

  5. How involved (or interested) are they in service?

  6. How would they describe Jesus?

  7. How they would fill in this sentence. "I feel abandoned/neglected/unseen by the Church because _____."

  8. How would they fill in this sentence? "The Church needs to ________ more."

  9. How would they fill in this sentence? "I love being Catholic / I am Catholic because _____."


And that's just the tip of the iceberg! There's truly a limitless number of questions you could ask, but I hope that this helps to get you started in thinking of even more!


Take some time to go through these questions and write down the answers for each as it applies to your audience, and watch as you create your new best (imaginary) friend.


Now...how do I find that info?!


Now I know what you're thinking - this is great, but how will I know all of this?!


Two ways: One, you ask or research.


And two, you make it up.


Starting with the latter, your target audience is who you WANT to reach, not who you are currently reaching. So even if you are primarily reaching people who did Bible in a Year, maybe you want to reach people who haven't.


And even knowing that simple fact can help you to personalize your marketing to foster relationships with those kinds of people.


That doesn't mean you would bar anyone who has done Bible in a Year to interact with you! It just helps you refine your marketing so you'll find more of the specific people God has called you to serve and attract them.


And then on the asking side, that is to find out if your current audience matches that profile you've created. So perhaps you have a great audience already and you just want more of them - well great, go ask them these questions! Facebook and Instagram polls, surveys, 1:1 research, and even just paying attention to Facebook group comments can be an incredible way to understand this info.


And research on general trends/stats can also help in knowing the pool of people from which you're drawing and help you create marketing that would appeal to them, even if they aren't part of your current audience.


Bottom Line...Know Thy Audience.


As I always say, Jesus was really personal in His evangelization approach. Like yes, He spoke to big crowds, but His greatest moments of encounter were almost always 1:1. And the more we can market like Him, the more effective our marketing will be.


Still struggling to define who you've been called to serve? I have a unique knack for helping clients flesh this out. Let's jump on a call and figure out who your Catholic target audience is!



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1 Comment


Love this one about RE: 87 target Audience. Touched all the bases KUDOS to you and THANK YOU

Larry P

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