A few thousand years ago, God used a 4-step marketing process to get Moses to obey God’s will. From Madison Avenue marketing gurus to the simple neighborhood pizza parlor, businesses are still using this exact same 4-step process. While they may not be giving God the credit, the proof is in the scriptures, we just need to look for it. Rev. Dr. Mani Chacko looks at the book of Exodus to find the similarities…
If you do a word search in the Bible for the words “marketing” or “advertising” it will yield no results. With all the divine wisdom held in those pages, why aren’t these words found? Is God saying, “Do not advertise”? Is He saying, “Do not market the church”?
Before we can write this whole idea off as a waste of church resources, we need to take a closer look at what marketing is all about.
A few thousand years ago, God used a 4-step marketing process to get Moses to obey God’s will. From Madison Avenue marketing gurus to the simple neighbourhood pizza parlour, businesses are still using this exact same 4-step process. While they may not be giving God the credit, the proof is in the scriptures, we just need to look for it.
We will take a quick look at the process, then look at the book of Exodus and find the similarities.
1. The first job of marketing is to CAPTURE ATTENTION:
In order to offer solutions, services, or products you must first gain the attention of your audience. If you don’t do this first step, the whole process fails.
A common misconception in our society is that “sex sells”. Sex sells nothing; it captures people’s attention. Have you ever wondered why you keep seeing commercials pushing the limits of censorship with risk and often times even violent images? Unfortunately, it is because our society has become desensitized to the point that advertisers and marketers must continue to increase the shock-value to get our attention.
I once saw a church marketing piece that featured a graphic of a man’s large, muscular, tattooed arm (the tattoo was the church’s logo) coupled with a message that said “All of God’s people are welcome here ”. I was later told that it was one of the most successful campaigns they’ve run. They thought out of the box, untypical for “churchy” advertising. While this may not be the message or personality of your church, there is something unique about your church – share it through your advertising! Don’t be afraid to push the limits a bit; it might just reach people on a whole new level!
2. The second job of marketing is to ENGAGE the AUDIENCE:
Engaging the audience just means keeping the attention of your listeners long enough to educate them on what a particular product or service has to offer. It is important that these steps are carried out in the correct order. Once you get the audience’s attention, you need to keep it. The term “attention span” refers to how long you can keep someone engaged. While a great attention-getting image or headline may work at first, it still needs to engage (hold the attention).
3. The third job of marketing is to EDUCATE:
This is where advertisers tell you about all the benefits of their product and how it is guaranteed to make your life better. They establish “the need” and then meet the need with a solution! For example, you might not have thought you needed the product 60 seconds ago, but now that they have created a need and offered a solution, you discover you can’t live without it! If they weren’t able to keep your attention, they wouldn’t have been able to establish a need and pitch the solution.
4. The fourth job of marketing is to create a CALL TO ACTION:
A “call to action” is when marketers create an action step such as “Buy Now” or “Call Today”. By this point they have you. If they have done their job correctly then they have captured your attention, engaged you long enough to educate you on their benefits, and created a need for their product. If you listened to all the great things their product will do for you then you are ready to bite. All it takes at this point is a call to action, a way for you to respond!
Now that we understand what marketing is, we will look at the Bible and see exactly how God used this 4-step process in order to get Moses to follow God’s will. This is clear in Exodus 3 where the story of Moses and the Burning bush is narrated.
God uses the first step in the marketing process: He captures Moses’s attention with the burning bush.
(Exodus 3:1-3) “Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father -in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. (God captures his attention) So Moses thought, ‘I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.’”
A bush burning on the side of a mountain would be a huge attention-getter for any one. Once God gets Moses’ attention, he then uses the second step in the marketing process: He engages Moses.
(Exodus 3:4) “When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, ‘Moses! Moses!’ And Moses said, ‘Here I am.’” (God Engages Moses) After God has his attention and has begun to engage Moses, He then uses the third step in the marketing process: He educates him on who He is.
(Exodus 3:-5-9) “‘Do not come any closer, ‘ God said, ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.’ Then he said, ‘I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.’ At this, Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look at God. The LORD said, ‘I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them.’” (God Educates Moses) Finally, God has educated Moses on who He is. He then uses the fourth step in the marketing process: He tells him what to do, or makes him an offer. God presents Moses with a call to action!
(Exodus 3:10) “So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” God tells Moses what to do – God creates a call to action.
We can analyse story after story and see that God systematically used the principles of marketing to accomplish what He desired. If these principles are good enough for God to build his Kingdom, then why shouldn’t they be good enough for the Bible Society and the Church to do the same?
Marketing is a science and one that is equally applicable for the Bible Society and the Church as it is to any product, service, or business. When implemented correctly, these well -thought-out steps can effectively produce desired results.