A while ago I posted “Every member a marketer“, wherein I describe that every member of the church, or any organization for that matter, is in a constant state of marketing their organization – especially when it comes to religion. Wherever you go, whatever you do, you’re marketing. People will judge your organization based on your words and actions, and often, that’s the only message they’ll get, and usually the strongest one at that (actions speak louder than words).
The point is to always be aware of who we are and what we stand for. But we do have to be careful of marketing without a message. When you market without a message, you’re basically passing along a communication without leaving a real message.
Let me provide a recent (ongoing) example.
Much of the traffic to my blog comes from search engines, and I peruse the phrases people use to find my site regularly (they’re often very interesting). A couple months ago I began to find a lot of people searching for “why can’t Mormon’s swim”, or some similar phrase. I did a post on it here – answering the question.
But just now as I was browsing through search phrases for the past few days I found: “Why can’t Mormon’s swim on Sundays”, “Mormonism swimming”, “Do Mormons swim”, “Can Mormons have recreation on Sundays”, “Why can’t Mormons swim on the Sabbath”, “Why Mormons cannot swim on Sunday”, “Why Mormons don’t swim on Sundays”, “Can Mormons wear bathing suits”, “Why don’t Mormon Missionaries swim”, “Mormon Swimming”, and “Mormons and water, no swimming on Sunday”.
This is marketing without a message. It’s very clear that we’re communicating something about swimming, and possibly about Sundays, but really the only thing that is standing out in their minds is that we don’t swim, which isn’t true.
The MESSAGE, that should follow the marketing is that we do swim, we love to swim (at least I do), but we don’t swim on Sundays, because we feel that Sunday is a holy day, a day of rest, a day for families, a day for emotional, spiritual, and physical recuperation. That Missionaries don’t swim because they are required to work full time in teaching the gospel of Christ. They do get one day a week to prepare for the rest of the week by cleaning, doing laundry, and even recreation, but that even then, swimming is not permitted for several reasons, not the least of which is modesty and the need to keep their minds single to their ministry.
But all too often when asked if we want to go swim, we simply reply no, rather than taking advantage of the opportunity to send a message. Certainly sometimes it’s not appropriate, or the right setting, etc. for such communication, but whenever possible, we should actively seek the opportunity to explain WHY we do or don’t do certain things. That’s marketing with a message.
So the next time someone invites you to swim on Sunday. Don’t just say “Sorry, I can’t”, instead say “Sorry, I believe that Sunday’s are special, and don’t swim on Sunday”, or even go the extra mile and invite that person to do something more suitable to your belief. Then you’re sending the message that you would like to be with them, but just shouldn’t spend that time swimming.
Either way, as you go about your life marketing, think about the message.
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