Saturday, November 08, 2008

What if Starbucks Marketed like a church?

via Brad:

I found the You Tube comments worth even more than the video:

"churches don't need marketing churches need prayer. "

"This is the problem with all the protestant evangelical McChurches all competing for each other. This is what you get for fracturing the Christian Church."

"Church isn't a consumer transaction; it's a relationship"

While I am altogether in agreement with those comments (especially the last one), there are other perspectives. Take a look here for example. According to David Deal,

"Some might find it distasteful for a religious institution of any denomination to so nakedly embrace marketing. But religious institutions are no different than secular organizations that seek to attract and retain members: they need to make themselves known if they’re going to succeed. And like secular organizations, they can choose any manner of tasteful or obnoxious ways to spread their message through marketing."

So, according to Deal, it is not a question of whether or not religious institutions should stoop to the market. It is assumed that "consumer" is the default position of everyone in our society, and that churches, synogogues, mosques and temples reduce to markets. So the question is whether or not religious institutions are in tune with how consumers wish to be treated.

From this perspective, Evangelical churches are using outdated techniques to appeal to and manage their consumers, which erodes trust between church as marketer and potential consumers That means churches need to adapt and follow consumer behavior. (Heaven forbid that they should form it!)

Here's what Deal predictions the consumer of 2018 will be like:

The answer is fairly simple: follow consumer behavior — don’t try to “manage” it. To help the marketer, Lisa introduces the four “Ps” of understanding consumer behavior in the digital world: permission, proximity, perception, and participation:

1. Permission: consumers derive comfort by managing with whom and when they engage. Example: is a closed, invitation-only shopping community.

2. Proximity: consumers tap into networks and affiliations based on on content and association. The notion of curated content is important here. Example: Tina Brown’s The Daily Beast content curator connects people with common interests. Daily Beast brings proximity to its readers.

3. Perception: consumers inhabit multiple personas. Marketers need to engage the persona consumers are willing to reveal and allow consumers to manage their own perceptions. Example: Apple enables consumers to customize our iPods however we want, and we pay Apple for the privilege.

4. Participation: consumers participate in order to feel connected. Example: Sprint and and Suave have collaborated to create In the Motherhood, a community managed by moms for moms.

Consumers use these 4 P’s to manage their fluctuations between core need states. We cannot “control” them. We have to let consumers guide us.

Lisa’s closing thoughts: if you’ve gotten permission from consumers to participate in their world, ask them to share their experience with others. Consumers will act as brand advocates for you – if they like you.

Sigh. Too bad Paul didn't do a better job of asking permission to participate in Philippi, Thessalonica, and especially Ephesus. Think of how many more brand advocates they could have made!

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