Consider “This Is Marketing” like a 101 course: Review

by | Jan 29, 2020 | Reviews

“This is Marketing” by Seth Godin aims to help marketers of any ilk use marketing to solve other people’s problems. With a philosophy around the good that marketing can do, Godin’s book showcases marketing as a craft learned over time. While organizations benefit from growth, the focus should be on solutions that help real individuals. And after all, isn’t that what the church is all about? In our case, it’s the Gospel message.

What a great time to serve as a church communicator and marketer! Never have people been as accessible as today – a trend that continues to climb. The tools lie at your fingertips. With just a decent phone and a connection, you can produce content for your audience.

“This is Marketing” gives an easy-to-understand overview 

How can you convey to others the importance of marketing? Or perhaps, how can you better understand the ideal role of a church communications and marketing team. You aren’t alone in asking these questions. If you check Google Trends, you’ll see that the search phrase, “what is marketing,” has seen annual growth since 2004 and from all across the country.

“This is Marketing” by Seth Godin answers this question through a blend of illustrations and breaking down common marketing jargon in a way that makes marketing feel both accessible and noble. Consider this your Marketing 101 course, providing you with the foundational knowledge you can apply anywhere. The short chapters on small pages make it a relatively quick read. It’s jam-packed with great examples of why this work is essential. His illustrations and examples showcase marketing concepts in a way that is easy to understand and recognize in everyday life.

Philosophy of marketing for good.

Marketing is a tool used for growth. Tools, by their nature, are neutral. Depending on the intent of the one wielding the tool, the result can be for good or for harm.

Godin champions and highlights the good while acknowledging the bad apples that can make people uncomfortable with the idea of marketing. This discomfort can be found in organizations large and small, not just churches, although it’s certainly prevalent.

“The way we make things better is by caring enough about those we serve to imagine the story that they need to hear. We need to be generous enough to share that story, so they can take action that they’ll be proud of.” P. 19.

Read that again and think of your church’s mission. This philosophy aligns pretty well. To bring the message of hope in Christ Jesus to a broken world with broken individuals who need to hear it. And then to be there, to disciple them so that they, in turn, spread the Good News.

Much of talk around understanding the dreams and aspirations people have. The growth they want to see in themselves. Those hopes and dreams are something the church is concerned with too! Successful families, closer relationships, peace, and contentment in times of trouble.

Many businesses will use marketing and these philosophies to help people solve their problems. And for some problems, that’s ok! But the deeper issues, who better than the church to show care and compassion, and “to be generous enough” to reach out and show the way.

Funnels and other jargon explained.

People seem to develop a rich vocabulary around subjects that can mean little and cause confusion for “outsiders.” And sometimes, even for insiders. For example, ask those you work with what a “Narthex” is.

Marketing has a language all its own, and Godin uses terms and phrases throughout the book using illustrations, examples, and analogies that make it easier to understand.

Some highlights:

  • A whole chapter titled “Smallest Viable Market.”
  • A break down of how to reach the right people using goals, strategy, and tactics (my personal favorite!)
  • Brand marketing, and specifically how it works so you can decide when to use it
  • The Funnel

Some of these terms likely relate to activities you already know. Outreach to your local community (rather than the entire state) would be serving your smallest viable market. Making sure your logo is correct and consistently used is a form of brand marketing. Following up with guests who visit within an invitation to come back is a part of a funnel.

Having a common language allows you to connect better and learn from other church marketers and communicators and marketers in general.

A note for experienced marketers/communicators.

If you’ve been in the marketing arena for a few years and want to level up on your skills, this book isn’t for you. Although you might pick up a nugget or two.

HOWEVER, if you find that you struggle with how to explain concepts to others on your team or those in leadership, you’ll be able to glean examples from this book. Or better yet, get them a copy to read!

Much like the Book of Proverbs, “This Is Marketing” serves as a collection of thoughts. With concepts grouped in a way that makes sense, you can readily refer to the book again. 

By the end, your copy will likely look like mine, with notes, passages underlined, and perhaps a drawing or two.

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