Clever Marketing or Hucksterism?

In an interview Seth Godin, Tony Morgan asks "Do you think marketing should be important for churches?"

Seth replied, "Nearly everyone who markets something suffers from the following conceit: other people do marketing, but my product is so amazing and magical and important that marketing isn't necessary. Nowhere is this idea easier to embrace than in a church."

Am I really that out of touch with reality? Do people actually think the way Seth is suggesting ("my product is so amazing and magical and important that marketing isn't necessary")?

I don't think churches fail to market because of some inflated sense of self. I think they fail to market because either (a) they don't understand the value of marketing (b) they don't know how to market or (c) they see marketing as somehow disingenuous and thus incompatible with the Gospel.

I'm much more concerned about the churches that DO market but use horrible methods. For example, I was recently asked by a megachurch to create a poster for an upcoming event. One line that really bugged me was this:

"Registration is free. $30 manual required for all attendees."

Is it just me, or does this smack of insincerity and hucksterism? If you think your price will be a deterrent, why not say that the event "costs $30 and includes an X-page manual valued at $$"? Of course, maybe in this case the manual isn't worth $30 or more...

Maybe I'm just being too picky.

Any thoughts?
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About Eric Wilbanks

Brand strategist. Wordsmith. Change architect. Training specialist. DiSC Certified. Family guy (hot wife and 4 cool kids). Love my Bible, guitars, baseball, and MMA.


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