I have to start out by sharing my disdain for the term “First Impressions.” At first the phrase is catchy. …And then, you read into it and it appears to be a bit “Shady.” What I mean by that is that the term seems to convey an un-honest reality. We will work hard at the façade and the ‘gimmick’ to get you in, and then it’s business as usual. I will for this blog sake, assume that we are all genuine and truly care for each person that is checking us or God out! I might also throw out a better name for your “First Impression Ministries.” I like “GUEST SERVICES.”
With that said, it is true that people make their decisions based on what they see first. So, in that light, let’s revisit the subject of “marketing.”
At the core of Marketing is:
•The ability to understand how people perceive you
•A vision of how you would like to be perceived
•Making the necessary adjustments to execute the desired outcome
A “GUEST SERVICE MISSION STATEMENT: “Helping people take their next step toward Christ and on toward a life of full devotion. We purpose to create an atmosphere of warmth and personal acceptance; providing a “safe” environment for people to see, know and follow Christ.
First Impressions Matter
•First Impressions are Automatic
•First Impressions are Lasting impressions
•68% of customers who go elsewhere do so because of their perception of indifference
•96% of customers tell others –not the organization about a bad experience
Queen of Sheba – For those who like to see what the Bible says!
When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the LORD, she was overwhelmed. She said to the king, “The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. (1 Kings Chapter 10)
When we begin to consider what we’re “showing” in the little things, maybe we can understand why people do not see our churches the way we do. We know our intentions, they only see our execution.
“Taking It To The Streets” Marketing or communicating to the outside continues to support those on the inside and provides confidence to those “salespeople” who truly love the “company” they work for.
•Style of Service
•# of cars in the lot
•Type of cars in the lot
•Leadership “team” vs. “board”
•External promotion techniques
NEXT: Create An Open Forum for IDEA Exchange on Better Ways/Creative Ways/Successful Ways To MARKET the CHURCH!
Gateway can market by serving people. Jesus healed the sick, fed the hungry, made the bind to see. Jesus met people where they were. Our community is full of lost people in tremendous need.
I’m struggling with this concept a bit. I cannot wrap my head around a marketing strategy that will encompass every segment of the market. All the things listed that influence a first impression leave someone out. The best example I can give is when I invited a client of mine to church he said “Is that the “ultra contemporary” church?” I inferred that this guy had heard about us and had already written Gateway off. Please don’t misconstrue what I am saying. I personally don’t have issue with our worship of the Lord at Gateway. That being said, I don’t know that I would ever attend a church full-time that was more traditional in it’s worship and marketing. I’m not trying to pit one form or worship against another either. I was just using this as an example of how a marketing plan tends to target a segment of the market and can easily disregard another segment. Maybe this is where the people of the church make the difference. I know when Alison and I started coming to Gateway, it was the people that helped us know that we belonged from the first time we visited.
Very well stated Marc, I don’t disagree at all. In previous posts it is both key and critical to recognize that “people” are always the best ‘advertisement.’ I have always heard and said, that ‘it takes all kinds of churches, to reach all kinds of people.’ If that is true, then I have to deal with the fact that we will not reach everyone, but that we will reach the ones that God brings to us and whose needs are met by the ministries we offer and by the people that serve them. In general, we DO want to market to our community so that they are ‘simply’ AWARE, that we are here and ready and willing to serve their needs if they so choose to allow us the privilege to serve them.
To your point, Gateway exists in possibly the ‘worst’ demographic to market to: We are on the border of two worlds: Lancaster County and Chester County. The mindset of the people we get to minister to is very different. Not right or wrong, just different. Always a challenge! Thanks for commenting.
I think the following blog catches 100% of what you’ve been chewing on:
Good thoughts you’ve put out here. I love that people will challenge tradition and push the envelope for the Lord.
Great article, Dan. I really like the “guest services” concept.
Add to the list of perceptions – the building that you meet in. We ditched our building a few years ago because we wanted to be about people and not the building. We are currently meeting in a (dying) church building that does not really reflect who we are. I often wonder what people think when they enter the outdated sanctuary to enjoy a contemporary service. Here’s another one for the list – how full the sanctuary is. We are at capacity. Good or bad? It shows we are growing and a great place to be, but it hinders personal space (if that is a priority for people). Good stuff to think about.