Less Advertising, More People

February 20, 2009 by

Granger Community Church has realized they can reach more people with less advertising. Executive pastor Tim Stevens explains. Every month they used to mail out thousands of postcards to their community plugging the upcoming series. At first it worked, but now it’s just noise.

So instead of adding to the noise with 12 mailers every year, they’re going to focus on two big series each year and do a big push for those.

It’s a brave idea. A good way to shake things up and try something new. And they’re able to do it because they paid close attention to the result of their advertising. It’s no-brainer stuff (tracking your numbers), but that’s the important stuff.

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks

When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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10 Responses to “Less Advertising, More People”

  • Pat
    February 20, 2009

    I’m not sure how this is such big news? The previous church I was at did this exact thing. We had 3 major series, a couple medium impact series, and several smallers series. We allocated appropriate energy to each depending on their intended impact.
    It can’t be because Granger is the first church to do this. No knock to GCC, I think they’re a fantastic church making a huge impact in their community and in North America. I just think we worship them a bit much with stuff like this.

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  • Sean
    February 20, 2009

    How is this brave? When I close my eyes and think of the word brave, I picture foreign missionaries, front-line military… not going from 12 to 2 mailings per year.
    I agree with Pat, GCC passes along helpful stuff, lets not worship every move. Lets not over-glamorize our job. People make decisions like this every day.

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  • Casey
    February 20, 2009

    It is always helpful to rethink how we do things. I pray their two big series are meaningful and receive a wonderful response. It is more difficult for smaller churches to rethink things sometimes because a small amount of people do the bulk of the work. Those who do, typically are stretched to the max and try and manage. The more people are involved, the more opportunities there are to pray for direction and rethink things to prevent stagnation.

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  • Michael Buckingham
    February 21, 2009

    While I agree that this isn’t revolutionary, I hope it does help the smaller church, with smaller budgets to see that you don’t have to do it all to be effective.
    We will often advise a church to focus on a number of large impact points versus spreading thin through the year.
    It’s also good to point out that these big moments don’t need to be the big hitters like Easter, Mother’s Day, Christmas…all churches hit those hard. Maybe you should hit St. Patricks day, hand out scratch off cards and talk about how eternity isn’t about luck, or create your own big series/event and go big.

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  • Julie
    February 22, 2009

    How can “brave” and “no-brainer” describe the same idea? Also, who knows whether less advertising will result in more people. A question mark at the end of the title would have made it less misleading.

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  • Tim Cote
    February 22, 2009

    Brave would be completely bailing out on “mail” all together and move toward more of a social networking based campaign to make the community aware of your major programs. Seems like this would target the largest group of unchurched and fallen away church goers out there.

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  • Kevin D. Hendricks
    February 23, 2009

    Pat, it’s not “big news,” it’s an example of a church’s marketing strategy and how they’re making changes that at first glance don’t seem like they’d work (less advertising=more people? how’s that work?).
    For the record, I’m not saying Granger is awesome and we should all emulate them. They’re trying something we might be able to learn from. As to why them, I came across a blog post explaining what they were doing and why. That’s always helpful, no matter the church. If you see other churches doing that, please share.
    Is it brave? I just meant that taking a strategy you’ve effectively used for years to bring people to Jesus and revamping it takes some guts. It’s not brave like doing missions work in Sudan (duh), but sometimes it takes some bravery for the church to do something new. Is that a bit sad? Yeah, but it’s still brave.
    And Julie, I meant “no-brainer” to describe the concept of paying attention to the results of advertising. It’s a no-brainer to track the numbers, it’s brave to act on them when you have an entrenched habit. I’ll edit the post to better reflect that.

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  • Ryan
    February 24, 2009

    Tracking results and implementing their suggestions. That is the key to any marketing strategy. Kudos to Granger! Pat, you’re right, change is hard for churches. At least it is for mine.

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  • Ted
    February 25, 2009

    My church has diverted ad dollars into an Easter DVD give-out — we’re shooting and editing it now — our members, staff and interns will hand these out everywhere they go. The disc sleeve has “FREE DVD!” on the front, and our phone # and website on the back. WAY better than the junk-mail approach, I think.

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  • Church Advertising
    June 1, 2009

    When you stop to think about it the pastor of this church really is brave. It takes a lot to change your way of doing things. Honestly I believe this will be a good move.
    Once the community is saturated it is time to pull back and get ready for a big punch. Just make sure you don’t stop advertising all together though.

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