Valentine’s Day, Church Marketing Style

February 1, 2005 by

There’s a neat article by Jim Trippon over at the PRWeb on Valentine’s Day Tips: “Does Saying ‘I Love You’ Mean Maxing Out Your Credit Cards?” He’s got some truly cool ideas for how serious, loving people might want to celebrate the day in a more meaningful manner than buying shiny rocks or new appliances. I’ll leave it to you to check out the meat of the article–it’s good stuff, trust me. But I want to suggest that in the two weeks left before Valentine’s Day you could actually use this fantastically secular event as a starting point for some church marketing.

First of all, why bother? Why even mention a foofy, Hallmark Card non-religious holiday from the pulpit? My brothers and sisters in church marketing, we call it “leverage.” Your members are already thinking about Valentine’s Day, so help them think about it in a way that will benefit your church. Now… on to the how. Here’s three ideas to get you started. You’ll think of more once I show you how easy it is:

1. Agape Gifts.
Instead of giving a trinket, give a gift that shows you both share the love of God. Make cards available that couples can buy and give to each other after making a donation to a special church fund for [fill in the blank].

2. Honey-Do Raffle.
Have members donate gift certificates for chores they’ll do and hold a raffle or auction where the winners get to “cash in” the items and get the chore done. The link to Valentine’s Day? The winners get to give the certificates to their “honeys” as Valentine’s Day gifts.

3. Valentine’s Day Dance.
For the kids, for the couples, for the seniors. Valentine’s Day is the schmaltiest holiday on the books. Go over the top and totally do it up. Require a coat and tie for the men. Serve punch in the old cyrstal bowls. Play goofy old music. Or goofy new music. Whatever. Just do something to make sure that people associate the holiday with having fun at their church, instead of simply spending money on stuff that isn’t meaningful.

That’s the whole point of what we call “experiential marketing.” Giving people a “feeling” of a product or service that helps them identify with it well beyond what might be expected. If you can help your members get more out of Valentine’s Day than a maxed out credit card or a hastily grabbed handful of flowers… that’s a successful marketing program.

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Andy Havens

Andy Havens brings 15 years of experience to the table and is the founder and president of the marketing firm Sanestorm, as well as a number of different blogs. He lives in Columbus, Ohio, with his wife, Christina, and his son, Daniel.
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