Kenny Jahng, Godvertiser-in-Residence
From when I was in middle school, my parents exposed me to The New York Times in efforts to increase my vocabulary and widen my field of vision to the worldly matters at hand. Behind the closed bedroom door when I was supposed to be studying the paper, instead of reading the front page, BusinessDay, Circuits and the Op-Ed pages, I was scanning and devouring the advertising.
Everyday, I noticed curious new things about he ads surrounding the articles I was supposedly reading in depth. For example, why did Tiffany’s have an ad in the same upper right hand spot on Page A2, no matter what day or season it was? Or do all the other people who read these news article impersonations (always with a little “special advertising section” crawler placed quietly at the top or bottom) actually notice or know they are not real news but actually crafty marketing ploys to promote the products with implied authority via the “look of news”? Other times, I was fascinated by how some ads “broke the rules” and used multiple spots across different pages, with a continuous message that made sense only when turning the pages to make the connection with each next ad in the series. So many permutations to use in the same area on the page – my mind was captivated with marketing communications.
Later, I found my passion in advertising and marketing in vocation. Working in a traditional ad agency exhilerated me — where else are you called to influence and change a stranger’s perception + behavior regarding an object or service they’ve never seen or used before…and wait, you’re not in the same room with them? Now that’s a challenge!
Managing some of the first online 468×60 banner advertising campaigns in the early 90’s shifted my attention to the digital medium. Since then, technology certainly has disrupted traditional advertising and marketing strategies. Today, my attention is on the Twitter and Facebooks of the WWW as they rewrite the rules for the best ways to connect, communicate and relate with other people.
An MBA in Strategic Marketing & Entrepreneurial Management from business school taught me the difference between being opportunistic vs. being strategic in building comprehensive plans to communicate successfully. With all this marcomm experience as well as through work for both a marketing giant and multiple Internet start-ups, I’ve found that the core tenet stays the same: Great marketing demands crafting clear & dynamic messages that connect with people’s underlying needs.
My experience in the church has somehow struck a similar chord. Whether it be for various ministries, outreach, missions or evangelism…learning the technical aspects of producing clear, dynamic, and relevant communication is ever so critical. I had a lunchtime discussion recently with a seminary phD candidate who pointed to the Willow Creek‘s or Saddleback‘s of the world and argued that there were too many technicians and not enough theologians in the Church. But in my view, for the average local parish, the opposite is true. Isn’t the pastor (usually alone!) competent, knowledgable and excited about the theology found in the Scriptures? But leading a congregation brings with it the stumbling blocks of running a complete small to mid-sized business at the same time. In seminary, there aren’t many “practical theology” courses given these days that teach how to plan and execute the “business operation” that the church can be in itself, manage and inspire committees of volunteers, or even tactically use local advertising for all the events and opportunities for new comers to engage with the church.
Godvertising is centered on a very simple and clear concept to me: The Gospel message is the greatest value proposition there ever can be!
And we need to learn, experiment, teach and share with each other what works best *today* in connecting the Gospel with the rest of the world that is in dire need of it.
This is where I invite you to join the conversation. As a life-long learner, I want to hear what excites you, what you’ve seen work (or what to avoid!) in reaching out and reach up, as well as all those creative outrageous ideas of yours for the Church!
Some suggestions for how you can do that is to put together a review of websites or services that you see are pushing the boundaries for the Church, write a short review of a faith-related book you’ve read recently, point out examples of specific things you’ve seen work in a ministry setting today, or just a simple note discussing what’s on your mind about church marketing today and in the future. Contact me at feedback[at]godvertiser.com to join the conversation!
How appropriate that as I finish writing this piece, I have that soda tv commercial jingle in my head right now….Wouldn’t you like to be a Godvertiser too? 🙂
Blessings & light,