We had a great conversation with part of the South Florida area team today. New Student Outreach is right around the corner and people are trying to figure out how to include freshmen into the life of their chapters.
During the course of the conversation, the difference between advertising and marketing came up. Now, this may strike you as a strange conversation for a group of missionaries and ministers to have, but we love the business world, learn from the business world and believe that God is just as present in the world of business as He is in the world of campus ministry. As Kuyper said "There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, 'Mine'!”
I've learned a lot about marketing over the years.
And I can say with confidence that while the evangelical Christian world, at least in my neck of the woods, deeply values advertising, I'm not sure how they feel about marketing.
And marketing makes a huge difference.
Advertising is about getting your name out there. Publicity. Brand recognition. Buzz.
Advertising is necessary. Advertising really helps established ministries. Advertising is an essential tool. But advertising isn't enough.
Advertising will get your name out there, but it may not get people through the door.
Marketing, on the other hand, focuses on movement. How do you take a person from Point A to Point B to Point C to Point D? In the business world, this involves taking someone who's aware of your brand and getting them to try a sample then buy the product then become brand-loyal then recommend your product to a friend.
In ministry, we're trying to help people make movements too. We want people to make a Christian friend then become aware that we're on campus and come to a gathering or Bible Study and make a commitment to follow Jesus and engage in his mission to bless the world. Movement. A to B to C to D.
Marketing is all about movement.
Once you're established, advertising smoothes the marketing process.
But a lot of us will find ourselves tempted to sit back, print out some fliers or mailers, get our name out there and wait. And some people will find us. People bet huge sums on advertising for a reason.
But nothing replaces an invitation.
If we're going to connect with freshmen this year, it will be because of marketing, because we're building relationships and invitaking them to move. Further on and farther in.
What would it look like to shift your strategy from advertising to marketing?