Reworking Church Marketing

April 13, 2010 by

2010_04_13rework.jpgThere’s a book that recently created a ripple in both the business world and the church world. You may have heard of it… it’s called Rework, by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, founders of 37signals.

37signals is arguably one of the most influential web software companies that’s out there, and they earned their way to the top by breaking all of the rules. They are the brains behind the project management tool Basecamp, contact management software Highrise and collaborative tool Campfire. Many churches use these tools and one church even used them when hiring a pastor.

37signals’ first book, Getting Real, focused on how to develop web applications, and their newest offering provides insights and ideas on how to run a business, market, and change the way people work.

While Rework is written to business leaders and entrepreneurs, it offers a lot of practical insight for church leaders. I did series of blog posts on my own personal reactions to Rework including “Reworking Church Communications” for church communications people.

I’m convinced this book is a must-read for any church leader who wants to lead effectively, work smart and make a greater impact.

There were a few specific insights on marketing from Rework and I’d like to share one of them with you and challenge as you consider your church’s marketing efforts.

It’s this simple idea: Everything your church does is marketing.

Marketing isn’t a line item in your budget or a function of your church communications department. It’s not the special mailers you make for Christmas or Easter or even what you invest into radio or TV ads. Marketing, as Fried and Hansson, put it, is the sum total of everything you do.

  • Every phone call a staff member takes is marketing.
  • Everything you write for your church web site is marketing.
  • Every usher, greeter and children’s worker is marketing.
  • Every word your pastor says [or doesn’t say] is marketing.
  • Every e-mail interaction someone has with a member of your church staff is marketing.
  • Every person who attends your church is marketing.
  • Everything your church does is marketing.

The challenging part of all of this is how much of it is out of our control.

We can try to manage perceptions, set standards and expectations, and create compelling media and slick brochures, but it’s everything everyone else does that truly markets your church.

Church marketing is a team effort that’s not on the shoulders of a single person or department in your church, but the collaborative efforts of everyone (paid staff, volunteers, and attendees) that ultimately defines your church marketing.

Your brand isn’t something you own, manage or design… it’s what’s formed in people’s minds as they interact and engage with your church.

What message are the experiences people have with your church communicating? What does your marketing say about you and your church? What the different aspects of people’s experiences with your church that need to be reworked? Is there a disconnect between what you say and what people experience? Where are the gaps in your marketing?

Feeling challenged yet? Pick up the book and read more.

Post By:

Tim Schraeder

Tim Schraeder is the director of communications at Park Community Church in downtown Chicago. With Tim’s lead, Park is innovating new and creative ways to communicate and engage people with the message of the gospel.
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4 Responses to “Reworking Church Marketing”

  • Mitch
    April 13, 2010

    great post. i’ve always thought a membership class should cover this sort of thing. not trying to define people’s behavior, but simply making them aware. aware that they represent not just our church, but Christ as well. so many people just don’t realize that.

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  • Vin Thomas
    April 13, 2010

    I have been hearing about this book everywhere. I am a big 37signals fan, so I can’t wait to read it myself. Thanks for the review.

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  • Jeremy Davidson
    May 10, 2010

    I picked this book up the week it came out via MP3 and have listen to it through many times. There is a great deal of challenging material that will apply to the way your church operates, not just your marketing.
    As I listened to the book I couldn’t help but think about Simple Church and Good to Great in regards to what your church is doing and how many are over-extending themselves.
    In our marketing efforts it was encouraging to see that we are doing many things that the author would agree with. On the other hand it brought to light many other areas where we have given away control of our message or communicating something very different. With a church, private Christian school, and day care on our primary site and another day care program operating at our satellite campus there is a lot of opportunity for drift.
    The book really encouraged me to be more proactive in communicating with our employees about our message.

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  • Margo
    May 10, 2010

    What have people tried regarding the “drug dealer” strategy in REWORK…giving away something so addictive for free that people will clamour back for more with cash in hand??
    Interesting comparison! Thank you in advance for sharing your experience.

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