Stop Wasting Money On Marketing

December 3, 2007 by

This is part 1 of a 4 part series on using your marketing budget effectively.

Whoa, hey now! I thought this blog was all about marketing. What’s with the title?

Notice I didn’t say, “Stop spending money on marketing.” I said, “Stop wasting money.”

Here’s the deal. It’s really, really easy for churches to waste money. In fact, I think it’s much easier for churches than for comparably-sized businesses. That’s because businesses have a bottom line–making money. It’s easy to tell if you’re making money, and it’s easy to tell if the money you spend is helping or hurting. But churches don’t really have a bottom line that can be easily measured, and measuring is the key to not wasting money.

So, if you’re not measuring the results of your marketing efforts, then you are wasting money; but you can change. In my eight years of full-time church communications work and my current work marketing our company’s content management system, Light, I’ve wasted a lot of money on marketing. And I’ve learned from my mistakes. So, based on my experience, I’ve put together a simple, three-step process to help you. We’ll continue with three more posts describing this process. Stay tuned.

Post By:

Tim Wall

Tim Wall used to be a full-time pastor of technology, communications and what not. Now he leads worship at his church, he blogs (sometimes), and he also works for Element Fusion, a company that builds web-based software products like Sky and Light.
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5 Responses to “Stop Wasting Money On Marketing”

  • Richard Gaspard
    December 4, 2007

    I totally agree. I’m the Media Director of Crossroads Church ( in Lafayette, LA. I produce a local 30 min. weekly broadcast for the church. On our Newcomers card, visitors are asked to check if they’ve seen the broadcast. 13-18% of all newcomers have viewed our program, and for 2008, I’ll be able to measure what percentage of those newcomers become regular (giving) attenders. I’ll then be able to furnish to our board the financial impact the TV show has on our church (not just $ going out, but what is coming in).

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  • Ben
    December 7, 2007

    @Richard: With all due respect, that assumes the goal of the church is to have money coming in. What if your research show it costs a $1000 per salvation? And, what if that new convert doesn’t not instantly give?
    I think we as Christians have the best message in the world to “market,” but we must always remember what the end goal is.

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  • Suz
    December 13, 2007

    Would this count as marketing?
    This autumn, community gardeing ministry put on a big festival in our one acre plot. A few hundred people attended, most from the neighborhood or garden volunteers. Since then about five people we saw at the festival have become church attenders. Also, After some new people came to help us distribute food to needy neighbors of the church befor last Thanks giving, two more of those couple have started coming to church.
    Does the money we spent on the festival count as marketing expenditure?
    Is five new souls enough fruit for this tree to bear? Especially when marketing wasn’t the stated objective of the event. That stated events were to celebrate the hard work of the volunteers and to build community. New folks coming to church was icing on the cake. Should we include it in all our event evaluations from here on out?
    Before Thanksgiving and Christmas we distribute food, household items, and toys to needy famiies in our area. This year we will serve 140 families if we can get enough volunteers on the ground. After each of these distributions we usually have a few of the volunteers who had not previously been exposed to our church come to worship with us. Should we consider such an event marketing? The budget for these holiday distributions is pretty low. I usually make a few pots of soup for the volunteers and we have homemade cookies and hot chocolate for the recipients refreshment.
    How do I quantify these results? How can I tell if we are wating money. Because these ministries serve a lot more than just increasing the financial bottom line. But thanks for a thought provoking essay.

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  • James Dalman
    January 8, 2008

    Great post Tim!
    Here’s the downside of marketing – everything you do is not trackable. Take the gardening festival for example. Maybe some of the participants told their friends who end up visiting the church a half a year from now. And it’s possible that the person may not remember how they heard of the church – it just popped into their mind. This happens frequently.
    Now this isn’t saying we shouldn’t try to find out how a visitor heard about our church, just that we have to understand that sometimes you can’t exactly “count the cost” on some communication tools.
    Here’s another challenge I would like to issue on this topic. Does everything we do at church have to have quantifiable measured results? The current trend I have observed specifically over the last two years is that church is becoming a business. We compare so much of what businesses determine makes their venture successful that Christians are losing what it means to be “the Church”. If we continue to stay on this consumerism trend that many church leaders have coveted today, we will be hard pressed to find anyone who will be interested in being a part of your church tomorrow.
    BTW – if you are investing money into reaching your community it is never a waste. There may be a better way to accomplish more effective results but we can never stop using God’s money to reach His people. In the end the results are not up to us.

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  • Chris
    March 7, 2008

    Good post; it’s difficult to properly ascertain the effectiveness of your marketing campaign because churches simply aren’t businesses. True, it’s often a good idea to bring some business practices in to help the running of the church, but quite simply, making money is not (or at least, should not) be the sole purpose of a church. You can make television commercials, put up billboard posters, print church brochures and things like that, but you’re never going to be able to really tell what effect this is having on the congregation. The best thing to do is to look for ways to reduce the amount of unnecessary expense.

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