Oftentimes, when a church prepares a marketing piece, decorates the foyer, creates a new logo, or builds a web site, the leadership reaches out to get input from people who all have the same perspective. They ask the insiders, those with a front row seat to the church. These people usually have similar opinions and tastes as the leadership and the marketing becomes inbred. It appeals to those that have already bought in, instead of those the organization is trying to reach. These campaigns usually end up looking culturally out of touch and outdated to outsiders and are a complete waste of time and money.
So what can be done? Here are a few suggestions…
Get input from people who do not go to your church. It’s so easy to become isolated in our own little church world. Step outside of it and get input from other people!
Get input from unbelievers. I’m not sure why we shy away from this one. Corporations spend lots of money to get insights from potential customers so why can’t we? Ask your seeker friends what they think of your marketing materials. Ask them point blank what turns them off about it. Your seeker friend is your target audience so his or her input is extremely valuable!
Give them permission to be honest. So many times, we work hard on a project and really hope people will like it. When we ask for opinions, people sense that and are afraid to give an honest answer. Let them know it’s OK to say that it stinks. It will help you produce a more effective campaign and save you from wasting a bunch of money.
One more thing. Here’s a great idea for church leadership wanting to get a fresh perspective on their church. Ask someone who’s never been to their church before to visit and give an honest critique. Have that person take notes about the friendliness of the hospitality team, the placement of the chairs, the quality of the children’s ministry, the cleanliness of the restrooms, how well the platform was lit, the volume of the worship, etc. An anonymous walk-through like that can shed a lot of light! If your friend has a hidden camera, that would really help too! (I have one that I use from time to time.)
So remember to gather many perspectives. Each one matters and will make a difference!