Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Church Marketing

If you work for a retailer, like me, marketing is something that you just have to do. To sell products you have to be visible to your customers, which means advertising and marketing. I also think about marketing because of my hobbies. If I want to be a writer or a musician, especially at a professional level, then I need to be able to market myself as such. If you are in a church that wants to reach out to people do you need to be able to do marketing, especially considering the growing numbers of internet-savvy generations? I would venture to say for churches that you have to be able to do marketing, whether you like it or not.

Marketing gives people a sense of who you are as a church. It triggers emotion in people. Advertising gets people to the events you plan. If you advertise and people find it off-putting, they will not come to your event and are less likely to ever come to your church. If you do not advertise then the only way they will find out about you will be through word of mouth (a form of marketing) and the sign in front of your church (again, whether you like it or not, a form of advertising).

These days a lot of marketing gets done through websites, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace (ick), and the like. To have someone who can regularly update these things with events like clothing drives, concerts, and movie nights can be invaluable. The thing about online social media is that much of the marketing is done by having that initial connection with people, both members and visitors, creating an entry point at all levels.

The challenge lies with managing time around these things, for they can become a hindrance to your work schedule and an excuse to not interact in person. I know they are for me. They keep me from doing things that I should be doing, and really that I would rather be doing. What are your thoughts on church marketing?

Monday, October 26, 2009

More Free Food

Earlier this year I alerted you to some free food offers, which didn't even include the free burger and ice cream you can get on your birthday. This year KFC tried to give away free chicken, but thanks to the marketing power of Oprah, they had too many customers, ran out of chicken, and had to cancel the promotion. Today they are trying it again. For today only, you can get one free piece of grilled chicken. You may have to wait in line, or they may have annoyed enough customers that the promotion has worked against them. Who knows? But hey, free food.

Working in marketing can be challenging, especially when a promotion goes sour. You risk the danger of actually turning away customers who may never come back again. Bad commercials can offend people, which is one reason I can't eat at Carl's Jr. even though I think their food tastes good. A bad promotion can do the same thing. When customers think you are so inept that you can't create a valid coupon or have enough product to back it up, they are more likely to think you are inept in other ways.

I think I feel a post on church marketing coming...

Monday, October 19, 2009

NaNoWriMo Every Day

I have been doing a lot of writing over the past year or so. Most of that has not been on this blog. Some of it has not even been on my writing blog. I have been working on a novel for several months now, slowly chipping away on the word count while forming characters and plot. In the past I have mentioned participating in National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo. While I have participated in this venture a couple of years, I never really quite made it to the final word count. I think it must have been the mental block most people run into when they try climbing the 50,000 word mountain for the first or second time.

The thought of spending 30 days of agony trying to write at least 1,667 words every day makes me sort of cringe, especially knowing how much free time I actually have, how much of that I want to spend with my wife, and how many stupid distractions there are to keep me from the goal. I am now fairly certain that the 50,000 word goal has nothing to do with writing a good novel, but has everything to do with the discipline of writing through the distractions, the boredom, the pain, sort of like one does at a job. That's the ultimate goal for many who participate in this thing isn't it? They want to be writers. If someone really wants to be a full-time writer, they need to be able to write every day, regardless of how they are feeling about it. I think it is for this reason that I will be dusting off my NaNoWriMo chops and giving it another go, not that I think I will be a full-time writer any time soon, but if the option were there I would like to know that I could do it.