A friend and I went to a Reds game recently. It was a cold night for baseball. It had been raining for several days and thankfully stopped in time for the game. But, it made for a very chilly night.
It didn’t stop the stadium vendors from doing their job though. The only problem…I’m not sure their marketing matched their market.
Especially one guy.
It was almost funny. It was obvious he had a routine. A common cheer. A pitch.
“Ice cold beer….BRRRR….Ice cold beer….BRRRR…”.
It was his trademark. He would shake his head everytime he said “BRRR“…
He was good at it too. Convicting. He had the routine well rehearsed.
I got colder listening to him. Every time he did his cheer, I pulled my jacket a little tighter around my neck. I’m getting colder now, just thinking about his performance.
Now, here’s the problem. I wasn’t in the beer market anyway, but his marketing approach probably wouldn’t have motivated me if I was. I didn’t need anything to make me colder than I already was that night. I needed something to make me warmer. If it had been 90 humid degrees in the shade, he would have had a winning approach with beer drinkers. This would have been your best salesperson of the night.
But, as it appeared, he wasn’t selling much that night. Almost nothing. He even seemed discouraged. (Although now I may be reading into this because it fits the illustration.) Either way…sales were certainly down.
I wondered if it were more than the weather…if in fact part of the reason was his cheer.
Anything “BRRR…ice cold…” doesn’t grab my attention as much when I’m already cold.
I don’t know what the warm beer cheer is, but that would almost seem to have been a better one this night. Maybe even a cheer for hot chocolate.
It reminded me though of how we “market” sometimes…even in the church.
Sometimes our marketing doesn’t match our market
Okay, I’ll get pushback that the church shouldn’t market. (I love hearing from those guys.) Call it what you want, but we have a message we are trying to tell. We hopefully think about how we tell it. If you don’t then you can ignore this post and I will catch you next time. Marketing is the process of packaging a story in a way that others become interested in it. I think we attempt that every week.
Jesus seemed to share His message in a way the audience He was speaking to could more easily understand. That’s why He used parables. It seems to be why He used a lot of farming illustrations. (They were plentiful in His audience.)
I wonder if we, as a church, need to get better at telling our story…marketing our message.
So, with that in mind, here’s my advice:
Make sure your marketing matches your market.
Make sure your story-telling matches your audience.
To do that, ask yourself:
Who are the people you are trying to reach?
Who are the people with whom you want to share your message?
Who are the people needing to know what you know?
Who are the people needing to believe what you believe?
What do they think like? What are they interested in? What motivates them? What inspires them?
What do they need most? What are their greatest fears? With what do they struggle most?
How can you tell the story in a way that they hear and are motivated to respond?
Does your “marketing” match your market?