What I’m Reading: Church Marketing 101

I have to admit I find myself constantly reading, but I feel like I rarely finish a book. Most the time I find myself scanning the table of contents and just picking out the chapters that look interesting or helpful to me.

While this maybe time effecient I feel like I might be missing new ideas and thoughts because it maybe in a chapter that doesn’t appeal to me. Anyway, I’ve been reading through Church Marketing 101 by Richard Reising.

I think the title of the book was a poor choice. I don’t know if it was Mr. Reisings choice or the publisher. But the subtitle “Preparing your church for greater growth” seems more fitting. I picked up the book because I’m the media director/ technical arts/ creative guy at my church. The first 6 chapters are good, but I struggled with applying it to me. The chapters about understanding how your church is perceived. It’s good stuff but as someone who doesn’t have the place to set the temperature of a group it’s hard for me to apply.

I read the first chapter that got me thinking about application for me over the weekend. It was the marketing secrets of the big boys. He brought up several things. These are my thoughts processing through what Reising said.

Be a student of culture. Get out of the office and get around the people who are your target audience. Don’t read a book about culture because by the time it’s gone through the publishing process it’s out of date. Reising gave Mountain Dew as an example. Another one that popped into my mind was MTV if you ever say Frontline’s “The Merchents of Cool”. If you haven’t you can watch it free here.

Nailing the Perceived Need. When presenting your message the real need isn’t always the most important thing. Everyone needs a life changing relationship with God through Jesus Christ. But not everyone realizes it or is motivated enough to act upon it. It’s in hindsight that we see our real need. Try to identify the perceived need. His example was Nike. Nike doesn’t market the quality of their shoe. They market an image. An image that says that we can be great. We want to be great so we bought their shoes even if we are only walking around the mall.

Living In An Experience World. The experience is becoming more important than the product. Example: Starbucks. Starbucks sold an experience of community and charged $4 for that experience + a cup of coffee. Now that experience has become so iconic that people pay $4 for the coffee through the drive through. I’m not the biggest fan of Starbucks. I prefer the coffee from a smaller chain Dunn Brothers. Dunn Brothers has great coffed and free wifi but they still are lacking something in the experience. But there is still something about hanging out at a Starbucks. For churches we don’t just provide a product (Jesus) we provide an experience as well. This is different from a performance.

Segmentation. He gave the example of the Gap. The Gap owns Old Navy, the Gap and Bannana Republic. They wouldn’t be as succsful if they merged into one store. As a church we can’t expect one service to appeal to everyone in our community. So either other churches have to fill those needs or sub ministries of the church. I couldn’t help thinking about the Gap’s financial problems as I was reading this. Anyway…

Those 4 points have given me some brain food to think on as I create and design promotional material for our church. I’m going to be asking myself: 1) What is the real and perceived needs 2) What is the experience we are promoting 3) What is relevant in culture

As I said this is just my mental throught process as I read through this book. I hope to finish the book up in the next day or two. I’ll post if anything else inspires me from this book


June 26, 2007. Books.

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