Most of you know that I am a “PK” (a preachers kid). I draw many of my business and marketing practices from things I learned growing up watching how a church was “pastored”. After all, there isn’t a vocation that uses marketing more passionately, or that is more personally rewarding, yet challenging, than religious service, unless it would be politics!
The worst thing that can happen to a religious congregation that is thriving, is for a charlatan to come in and deceive or trick people (we have seen this depicted in the movies). The next worse thing is for people to gossip and spread lies and discontent about the leadership or the program (bad PR). Nothing hurts the cause more than some one person to misrepresent the truth and spread dissatisfaction.
Today, I want to talk to you about lessons I learned in Sunday school (yes, you read that right), and relate it to how well your team is working for you when they are out representing your brand. Let’s look at your business marketing in the same light as I have described above, not as a religious organization, but as your company with the same need for passion, commitment and honesty, and how well you want to be represented in the market.
When you send a team out into the marketplace to represent you, you want them to bring well-being to every contact, provide answers, and offer an emotional connection and solution to the prospect’s pain. You want them to develop loyal supporters of your brand and bring in clients for life. Am I right? Is your team doing this for you, or, is your team misrepresenting you and driving people AWAY from your brand?
When I was a little girl and went to Sunday school, I always loved to attend “children’s church” or my Sunday school class that was led by a colorful, charismatic leader. The teacher was prepared to teach us an illustrated bible story supported by colorful illustrations and cut outs placed on a felt board. Intricate pop up books, cartoonish movies, and/or coloring books kept our eyes, ears, and hands busy and focused while she/he explained the story and it’s meaning. The entire plethora of illustrated characters and support materials adorned in the finery of the ancient bible characters and time period, helped to engage our imaginations and engrained these bible stories into our minds forever! The imagery tools were the key to keeping our attention. The passionate delivery of the story with the help of the tools is what embedded the stories into our minds, drawing an emotional connection and bringing them to life.
Is your team helping you or hurting you? Are they prepared to deliver your brand message with passion and expertise? Do they believe in your brand? Do they have the tools that will provide an emotional connection? Even if you alone are your team, you need to look at these questions when planning your marketing. Outfitting your team with the right tools necessary to represent your brand in the market, like all good business practices, takes strategic planning. Here are three tips that I believe are essential in preparing you and your marketing team for excellent marketing. Be careful, you just might change the world!
1 – Find the right person. Whoever is delivering your message and representing your brand should be passionate about you, your product, and your service. They should be able to deliver an emotionally charged message to your prospects supported by educated content. Think of your favorite Sunday school teacher or your most memorable teacher from school.
2 – Get personal. Your team must know you personally. The more time they spend getting to know you, the more passionate and effective they will be when representing your brand. This happens through consistent and ongoing meetings and outings where they actually spend time with you one-on-one. Spending time with your team, educating, training, directing, and charging them with your goals, your vision and message, is imperative to building a great team that will represent you effectively in the market. Having an emotional and intimate connection with your team is as important as the Sunday school teacher believing in what they are teaching.
3 – Develop appealing and memorable marketing collateral. Some of you may not understand that old-school word – collateral – it’s hardly used anymore! Good marketing collateral is the printed marketing materials developed to educate and share the story and mission of your company. It is the “leave behind” that you make available to your prospects when you meet with them. Design your marketing collateral to be memorable and to provide a visual and emotional stimulation of your brand. Too often businesses eliminate good marketing collateral from their overall marketing plan in order to reduce expenses. It’s easy to do this in today’s age of technology, but just giving out a web address does not have the same impact that an illustrated tool can have that you can review and explain in person. Don’t be lazy here, and don’t be cheap. There are cost effective ways this can be done without costing an arm and a leg. Don’t leave it up to the prospect to do the research and learn about your business, leave behinds are still a very important part of marketing and sales.
In summary: The passion, the well-prepared presenter who has an emotional connection to your brand, and illustrative tools that are effective in telling your story so that it is emotionally engrained into their minds, are all good places to start when giving your overall marketing strategy a check up.