21 November 2010
Seven Things I Learned About Marketing and Life From My Dad
Some people think that marketing is a bad word, particularly when it comes to church. It’s not for me.
My father was in marketing in one way or another for his entire career. When I was growing up, he worked at Provident Bank of Maryland. I used to go with him on visits to bank branches, production meetings, and I even in got to be in a few commercials.
Later on, my dad went into the radio business, working as a general manager and in sales. I went on radio remotes, hung out in the office, and even got on the air a couple times. These are seven great lessons I learned about marketing (and life) from my dad.
1. It’s All Relationships
For my dad, marketing was always about people - developing relationships of trust with your clients and customers. I’d see how he interacted with clients and customers and people at the bank. It was the same way he interacted with people outside of work. It was real, authentic, human, and it was all part of a whole. The product, the media, and the profits were important, but not as important as the people. In those (and all) relationships, trust and loyalty are paramount and your handshake and word should be as binding as a contract.
2. The Personal Always Transcends the Commercial
For my dad, the personal relationship always transcended the business relationship. Even though he moved a couple times and is now retired, my dad has remained friends with people long after they were clients or colleagues. People will be your friends longer than they will be your clients (or members). Treat them accordingly.
3. Don’t Just Tell Your Story, Live Your Story
No matter where he worked, my father could tell the story of the place - whether is was a community bank or a country music station. He could tell you what they were about, what made them unique, why it mattered. He not only told the story, he internalized it. He lived and breathed it, so that it became his own. What is your congregation’s story? Spend time with your people and find out. Embody what makes it unique.
4. Promote Others Like Crazy
My dad’s job was to help his own company make money. And yet, he cared about his client’s success as much as his own. He recognized that their success was wrapped up together. Investing in the success of others is not only good business, it is a great way to live your life.
5. Master Different and New Media
Starting out, my dad used multiple types of media in his marketing at the bank: radio, print, and television. Mid-career he became a specialist in radio, mastering the medium. You can’t rely on just one type of media to communicate and you have be ready to learn - and master - new ones. Today that’s social media.
6. Know What Others Are Doing
When he was in radio, my dad and his sales team would monitor other competing radio stations to what they were doing and who was advertising with them. They did this to stay competitive, but they got new ideas too. Follow what others in your field are doing. Learn from them and use what works for you - and give credit where credit is due.
7. Have Fun
For goodness sake, have fun! Marketing is about creating unique experiences, building new relationships, trying new things, and capturing people’s imagination. Be creative. Be bold. Have fun!