Thursday, March 3, 2016

Lessons From a Marketing Campaign

I have an incredible circle of friends who are talented, hardworking, generous, and fun! One of these folk is a VO talent I got to know while serving Greensboro First United Methodist Church. I had no idea a few years ago that ""voice over" was even a job. It made sense once I thought about all those voices I hear on radio, in stores, on Pandora, etc. It's been fun to follow Kelley over the years and to listen more closely "at the voices" to hear if that's a friend talking to me.

Recently Kelley got my attention again as she launched a campaign directed at/for #Jeep. What is intriguing to me in this is that it's personal, matches Kelley's life, and somewhat blurs the line between typical advertising and a friend telling their story about a product. Kelley even got the attention of Adweek. She combined her interest, her friends and their talents, and reached out in a novel way with her marketing. Check out her risky, bold, authentic campaign. If you are a #Jeep person or #JeepFamily you may especially enjoy #KB4Jeep.

I told Kelley that I wondered what church could learn about running a marketing campaign. We both recognize a difference between an advertising company and the work of the church, but I've always thought the church can learn much from creative, generous, fun people that will make us stronger. So, while I wouldn't advise a church to lose it's distinctives I know that we must be savvy about reaching out to our community and world in risky, bold, authentic ways. It's a glutted market out there, with many aggressively reaching out to people, and the church must have a plan that embraces the individual and church need for connecting with the community.

I asked Kelley to share 3 principles of a creative campaign and she advised:
1. Research, research, and research your target some more.
2. Immerse yourself in your target's brand culture.
3. Make sure any marketing effort is reflective of the target's brand personality.

I translate this in some missional ways for a congregation as:
1. Learn the people, and the people groups, of your community. Don't think you are done learning!
2. Immerse yourself in the community. It may be that you, or your church, may only represent 1 or 2 people groups in the community. Go deep with community engagement to know the culture.
3. Learn to communicate in effective ways with the people group/s in your community that you know and can reach. Speak the language of the people so that the words, deeds, and community communication of the church are in alignment. Otherwise you are talking a different language.

This is intriguing as I think about who a congregation is and who we might be trying to reach in our community. Our challenge today, in our secular, cynical world, is building real relationships as we love God and love our neighbors as we do ourselves. As I transfer these marketing principles to the life of a church it opens up some good possibilities for a church. Sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ that meets people where they live is still our calling, and we can do that in ways that connect the congregation and our community.

Check out Kelley's campaign and then imagine what risky, personal, authentic marketing plan your congregation might develop.

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