Churches and Marketing

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Church Planting Leadership

As a result of reading a couple of blogs on a regular basis, I’m getting increasingly interested in marketing. As a church planter, marketing is something that I will soon have to be dealing with directly, but I’m amazed to see the key points of crossover between the world of marketing today and the church. A few visits to some key marketing sites online will show you what I mean. Here are some quick links.

I don’t read this blogs directly, but I regularly check a blog called Presentation Zen that recently mentioned them again. (I read Presentation Zen because it is an excellent site about how to effectively present information to groups of people through the use of speaking as well as audio/visual media. It’s right up the alley of any pastor who really cares about communicating in a technological age.)

Marketing is Evolving

You see, the introduction of the internet has created not just an “Information Age” but a “Communication Age” and most importantly, the ways people communicate and their expectations in communication have changed dramatically.

The old style of marketing

The basic argument is that marketing is not a one-way street. The old way of doing things was to research your “target audience” or your “demographic” or something like that, identify the key “felt needs” of that demographic, and then promote your product in a way that touched on those key needs.

The church has been struggling with these concepts for years. Some church leaders say that all marketing is playing to the materialistic, humanistic, selfish instincts of sinful people and therefore should be avoided. Some believe that marketing is just the “way of the world” so to speak and that to reach the market-driven culture, you need to become a market-savvy church.

Granted, there is truth on both sides of that fence; however, what both sides are missing is that marketing is no longer this one-way kind of communication whereby the marketer attempts to target an audience and present a product to them.

The new way

According to these blogging guys (who have written a number of books and articles as well), the new kind of marketing is a conversation that is happening on multiple levels all at the same time.

The key concept is called the era of the cluetrain and it has been promoted in a book called The Cluetrain Manifesto.

The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual

Here are a couple of the “95 Theses” that stand out to me.
* Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors.
* Companies need to lighten up and take themselves less seriously. They need to get a sense of humor.
* The inflated self-important jargon you sling around — in the press, at your conferences — what’s that got to do with us?
* If you want us to talk to you, tell us something. Make it something interesting for a change.

If you change “market” to “community” and “company” to church, it’s something to think about.

The Key Question

Of course, the key question is, “What will church leaders be doing in the midst of this changing culture?”

Associated Books

I haven’t read any of these marketing books, but this is a short list of the ones that seem the most interesting to me right now:

All Marketers Are Liars : The Power of Telling Authentic Stories in a Low-Trust World
All Marketers Are Liars

Beyond Bullet Points: Using Microsoft  PowerPoint  to Create Presentations That Inform, Motivate, and Inspire (Bpg-Other)
Beyond Bullet Points: Using Microsoft PowerPoint to Create Presentations That Inform, Motivate, and Inspire.

The Art of the Start : The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything
The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything

If I get around to reading some of these, I hope to review them here. Do you have any suggestions.


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