15 Marketing Lessons of St. Patrick’s Day

As a 50 percenter of Irish blood and a serial marketing professional, I thought I’d offer you dear reader, my 15 Marketing Lessons of St. Patrick’s Day to help you find your little pot ‘o gold at the end of a rainbow!

And, I’ll offer them quickly because I shouldn’t even be working this hard today as I’m 17 days away from – and preparing for – St. Patrick’s Day which is one of my many “high holy days” – and there’s a Guinness pint with my name of it at my favorite Pittsburgh Irish pub (Riley’s Pour House) and it’s getting warm! So here you go!

1. Green Marketing Lesson One – Making Money. Always keep money (making it or saving it) front and center of any marketing campaign. If you know anything about the Irish (and I do growing up in a large extended family), the majority have experienced challenging economic times and know the value of a dollar. So, incorporating zero based budgeting into your marketing processes will help you become more creative and help you do a lot more for less. 

2. Green Marketing Lesson Two – Sustainability. These days when you hear brands talk about sustainability, it’s related to the environment, but the basic pure definition of sustainability is “the capacity to endure.” Using the same color in your marketing communications reinforces your brand, makes your marketing work harder for you and enables your marketing to endure.

3. Green Marketing Lesson Two – Color. Design and color can help you communicate a great deal. Red – hot, stop; Blue – cool. etc., Keep in mind that all colors also come in a great deal of shades so don’t be boring and predictable.  Green has about 50 unique shades.

4. Create Multi-Sensory Emotional Appeals (e.g., appeal to people’s five senses of sight, sound, touch, taste, smell). In a prior post about, “Marketing with Sound,” I discussed the awesome power of sound, but you should also consider all of the ways you can appeal to your customer’s five senses. St. Patrick’s Day appeals them all with color, strong visuals of parades, people having fun; taste of ethnic foods like corned beef and cabbage and drink (pints of Guinness and shots of Jameson) etc.,

5. Appeal to One’s Ethnic Heritage. There’s nothing wrong with appealing to people’s ethnic heritage – net, different strokes for different folks.  In fact, it’s a growing and popular strategy due to our mobile society, immigration, single parent households etc.

Some of this strategy’s keys to success include knowing your market well, being aware of unique cultural nuances, being respectful etc.  Disney’s Epcot Theme Park’s World Showcase is a great example of ethnic marketing, but Denny’s Restaurants’ old Pancake promotion is not.

6. Be Inclusive with Your Marketing. As much of an Irish heritage appeal the holiday provides, St. Patrick’s Day is all-inclusive and welcomes everyone to celebrate – everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day!

7. Special Event/Thematic/Celebration/Holiday Marketing. Giving a unique thematic association to your marketing messages makes it easier for your customers to understand you and more immediately recognize you too. Tie-ing in to a major holiday celebration gives your promotion authenticity and a “reason why” you’re holding a sales event.

8. Limited Time Appeal.
Having a hard date against a campaign creates urgency, excitement and traffic. Pretty obvious statement, but many marketers leave far too many campaigns without a clear end date and a sense of urgent appeal.

9. Spokesperson/figurehead/celebrity/image appeal. Having a Saint as your celebrity figurehead ain’t too shabby, but it’s the consistency of using the same appealing celebrity with a unique story is what works.

10. Iconic Marketing – Shamrock – brand, sell, profit. Mickey Mouse’s Ears, Ronald McDonald’s big red shoes, McDonald’s Arches and more.

Shamrocks do the same for today’s holiday – it’s the day’s badge of honor and identification. What’s your badge ID?

11. Rule of Threes. Legend has it that St. Patrick used the common Shamrock to teach the Celtic Pagans about the unique Holy Trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – 3 in 1 Godhead.

However, the “rule of three” symbolism in the good man’s teaching is relevant today as well because people’s minds are noisy and limited. Using the rule of three enables you to get them to remember you and buy-in a presentation or product mix selection. Small, medium, large; gold, silver, bronze; 3 bears; 3 blind mice; 3 Stooges (see more examples/proof here) – trust me – the rule of three rocks.

12. Be Positive. You won’t find a more positive group of people that the Irish. Despite all of their “Troubles” who else tells you that you can find a pot ‘o gold at the end of a rainbow? At Pittsburgh’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade this past Saturday, people throughout the day referred to the cold constant rain as nothing more, “a little Irish mist!”

13. Be Nice. You’d be hard pressed to find a nicer bunch of people than the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day too.

14. Have fun and don’t take yourself so seriously. In this age of “political correctness” the Irish are for the most part a happy and fun bunch and most Irish demeaning jokes bounce of them like water on a duck.

15. Plan Your Luck by Working Hard. In my opinion, “the luck of the Irish” is based on hard work – simple as that. You’ve probably heard the saying, the harder you work the luckier you get!” Well, its true. The majority of Irish are no strangers to hard work and I believe – all things being equal – people that work harder and smarter than their peers will meet with more profitable success in a shorter period of time.

Got to run, my pint is getting warm.

Slan (Gaelic for “farewell for now”)!

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Immaculate Reception Marketing Memories

Sprint PCS Immaculate Reception Billboard

I’m so looking forward to tomorrow, December 23 because its the 40th Anniversary Celebration of the Immaculate Reception. I was 10 years old and was listening to the Steelers Raiders football game on the radio (local broadcast was blacked out) and heard the news LIVE!

What a thrilling end to a game that propelled the Steelers to future greatness. In addition, this single play would change a city and would forever be immortalized as the greatest NFL play in history!

Immaculate Reception Marketing Memories

Ranking just as high on my list of favorite Steelers memories, was back in December 1997 when as the Director of Marketing and Sales Operations for Sprint PCS, I came up with an idea to help us more effectively communicate our digital ‘call clarity’ position.

Sprint’s Immaculate Reception Print Ad

You guessed correctly – it was also around the same time as the 25th Anniversary of the Immaculate Reception.

To clearly position our new wireless phone service in a hyper competitive wireless phone market, I searched and found a high profile customer (football great Franco Harris) whose testimonial and personal brand matched up perfectly with Brand Sprint.

The marriage between Franco’s most famous play in football and Sprint’s unique selling proposition of digital call clarity, helped drive favorable awareness, considerable store traffic and effectively communicated our unique product positioning (the first and only digital phone service in the market). And, the timing was perfect.  The 25th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception coincided perfectly with our new product launch.

Franco Harris and Stephen Wayhart
25th Anniversary of Immaculate Reception
1997 Commercial Photo Shoot

Testimonials are one of the most effective methods of building brands, and Franco’s testimonial helped us to effectively pull together a strong brand building and sales effort.

Our strategy was so on target that Sprint PCS realized record store traffic and sales.

Now 15 years later, I’m proud to say our campaign – like Franco’s famous catch – has been immortalized by the NFL Network in its feature film A Football Life – The Immaculate Reception.

Click here to watch the entire video of the Show and be sure to check out the mark at 31:57 to 32:04 to see one of our ads!

Happy Anniversary Franco and thanks for the memories!

P.S.: See Case Study here. Also, many thanks to my boss Doug Cotton for giving the idea a ‘thumbs up.!’ And to photographer Harry Giglio, designers Kathy Kendra, Mark Power; Mike Cusick Sprint Director of Sales; and Sprint marketing partner Maria D’Abruzzo.

Click here to see a super video treatment of the 40th Anniversary Celebration and marker unveiling of the Immaculate Reception from Steelers.Com

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How to Get Your Pricing Right

I’ve always been a big fan of Tom Peters of ‘In Search of Excellence‘ fame and its because of him that I’ve studied McKinsey a ton. In fact, in many ways I’ve worked hard to build BrandMill as a mini marketing consulting model of the firm – and have always loved McKinsey’s 7-S Framework (developed by Waterman and Peters) too.

At the recommendation of Peters via a Blog post, I read a few books from former McKinsey employee Ethan Rasiel – ‘The McKinsey Way’ and ‘The McKinsey Mind.’ These books were a great help to me (still are) in building the processes of my marketing practice.

One little nugget that was worth a ton to me, was Rasiel’s insight about how company’s price their products.  In short, McKinsey believes most companies price too low because they haven’t taken steps to quantify their value – to prove and clearly communicate their worth.

TELEGRAM ONE – Most brands need to do a far better job at value creation and value communication!

TELEGRAM TWO: Raising prices is the easiest, simplest and least expensive way to profitably increase sales!

McKinsey argues that most brands price too low because they haven’t done enough work to prove (offer real proof – or make brand improvements to add additional proof) that their products or services should demand a higher price. So, most brands lower and lower their price or, discount and discount to a level that customer’s will say, ‘OK, that price seems reasonable.’

In our initial brand engagements we nearly always find two alarming opportunities to profitably build a small business.

First, most brands simply price their products and services following the traditional cost-plus (mark-up) model and never consider these other 10+ ways to find their right price.

12 Pricing Models

  1. Cost-Plus Pricing building price up from cost ‘floor’ generally on a percentage basis
  2. Elasticity Pricing – pricing to take advantage of known or perceived price elasticity or inelasticity
  3. Flexible Pricing – Pricing to meet changing competitive/marketplace conditions
  4. Follow Pricing – Pricing in relation to industry price leaders
  5. Loss-leader Pricing – Pricing an item/items low to attract buyers for other products
  6. Phase-out PricingPricing ‘high’ to remove a product from the line
  7. Penetration PricingPricing below the prevailing level in order to gain market entry or to increase market share
  8. Pre-emptive PricingPricing to discourage competitive market entry
  9. Psychological Pricing –Pricing at a level that ‘sounds’ much lower than it is like $99.95
  10. Segment Pricing – Pricing essentially the same products differently to various markets
  11. Skim Pricing – pricing at inordinately high level to hit the ‘cream’ buyers
  12. Slide-down Pricing – Moving prices down to tap successive layers of demand

…and more here – and more good stuff on pricing here too.

Plus, value-based pricing packages and pricing and revenue management software tools for dynamic pricing rock too!

Second, we find that most small business brands have a tremendous opportunity to improve their unique ‘WOW’ experience (a bigger, more unique and meaningful ‘WOW’ – clearly communicated – should justify a higher price), but lack the process/es and/or a desire to raise their bar of excellence because they get caught up in the day-to-day business at hand.

Face the facts.

You can’t control what your government or competitors do to negatively impact your small business (so stop your whining), but you can control and lead your brand to more profitable times with an improved approach to pricing and innovation.

Right?

Ok – back to pricing.

There’s certainly not enough time/space in this blog post to cover all you need to know about it (hey, we’re happy to help – just call us at 412.401.0555 – or email me at stephen.wayhart@brandmill.com), but we recommend that you make time to improve your ‘WOW’ (The Experience Economy is an oldie but goodie) and read a few good pricing books (and study hard) to help you more effectively do it.

Here are three excellent pricing books we highly recommend.

  1. Full Price, by Winninger
  2. Pricing for Profit, by Furtwengler
  3. The Price Advantage, by Baker, Marn and Zawada

We wish you good luck and great marketing!

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All Hail Duquesne Beer the Prince of Pilsener

Earlier this week, I attended the Pittsburgh American Marketing Association’s annual kickoff dinner at Pittsburgh’s Grand Hall at the Priory. I was delighted to hear Duquesne beer president Mark Dudash talk about how his wife Maria and he are reviving the Prince of Pilsener, Duquesne Beer. Here’s the back story from their Website – it’s a great one too.

Mark’s an attorney and a proud city of Pittsburgh guy like me – in fact, we went to rival highs schools – South Catholic (Beechview – him) and Bishop Canevin (Westwood – 28th Ward – me).  He might not be a “classically trained” marketer, but Maria and he are super smart marketers nonetheless – believe me. They didn’t jump into spending a ton of money in outbound marketing, but rather spent their money on creating a unique, high quality brand – a super premium Pilsener beer – at a fair price. And, with their inbound marketing efforts – via Faceboook – their raving fans are spreading their good word.

During his keynote, Mark repeatedly used words and phrases like, ‘loyalty, ‘having fun,’ ‘conducting your due diligence,’ ‘understanding your product’ and doing the right things right. Believe me…the Dudash’s are doing a ton of ‘right things right.’

When we consult with brands, we conduct a ton of research before we ever recommend marketing strategies, tactics and tools.

In fact, we start every new client engagement with a simple, initial 5 question exercise such as:

  1. Who are you?
  2. What’s your story?
  3. Why should someone care?
  4. What’s your dramatic difference?
  5. How can/do you passionately demonstrate and convey your dramatic difference?

Maria and Mark, may have not known the questions above, but more importantly, they sure know the answers and are hitting the cover off the ball!

I’m a big fan of Duquesne Beer – it tastes great and its a great brand – and will be rooting for them to “stick it to the man” – the man – or men – being the likes of Mr. Budweiser, Mr. Miller, Mr. Coors and more.

Good luck sweet Prince! We’re glad to have you back!

P.S.: Looking forward to you bringing back Ft. Pitt Beer too!

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10 Ways to Build Brand Trust

If you’re looking for a way to truly build your business in a uniquely profitable way, put a plan in place to build customer trust in your brand.

I say unique, because when you consider this chart, you’ll see that many industries are not highly trusted. This online U.S. Harris Poll was conducted on November 8 and 15, 2010 among 2,151 adults 18+.

Trust in a brand (personal or business) is the keystone of all relationships. By doing the right thing/s, you an earn a person’s trust, but it’s easy to lose it – and you can lose it quickly – practically overnight regardless of your past reputation.

Here my 10 ways to build trust:

  1. Be authentic – be real
  2. Lead with integrity and humility
  3. Be honest, don’t lie and always tell the truth
  4. Be objective, fair and consistent in your actions
  5. Don’t gossip – respect people in their absence
  6. Keep your promises by doing what you say you’re going to do
  7. Don’t take people for granted – anticipate needs, don’t just react
  8. Be open and transparent on your dealings and provide clear information
  9. Always do your best and give your engagements everything you’ve got
  10. Be a Servant Leader by putting others best interest ahead of your own

If you follow these 10 ways to build trust in your brand, “they (your customers)” will come again and again.  Trust me.

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New iPad Wine List Rocks

I got my new iPad back in May – a moment in time I’ll always refer to as my “Christmas in May” and am having a love affair with it.

Sure there are things about the iPad that I wished it had, but the positives outweigh the negatives.

When I started to play with the iPad, I started to think thought long and hard about how we can apply it to improve our client’s business.

We do a ton of hospitality marketing work and this past summer, one of our great clients, Kevin Joyce owner of The Carlton Restaurant in Pittsburgh had closed his restaurant for two months for a much needed remodel after 25 years in business.

Kevin called me to go over some new ideas to kick off the new restaurant with a bang –  especially since his reopening was scheduled to take place on Wednesday, August 18 – opening night of Pittsburgh’s new Consol Energy Center with a concert by Sir Paul McCartney.

One of my first thoughts, was what could we do to:

  1. Reaffirm the fact that The Carlton has the biggest and best wine lists (15+ year Wine Spectator Award winner) – Great Wine is a big USP for the restaurant
  2. Complement The Carlton’s new 450 bottle wine library – the restaurant’s soul
  3. Showcase the fact that The Carlton offers the best wine dinners in Pittsburgh

In a snap, we thought, “Create an iPad Wine List to replace The Carlton’s 45 page paper wine list.” Using an iPad wine list would create a “halo” effect of flawless contemporary execution of the Carlton’s 45 page paper wine list and separate them even more so from the pack of restaurants they compete against.

As an aside – I know I may be biased, but I think The Carlton i the best restaurant in downtown Pittsburgh and I thought that fact to be true long before I started working for them…anyway…

Instinctively back in May, we Googled “iPad wine list” and could not find any U.S. restaurant using iPads for menus, but we found a great story about an Australian restaurant that swapped out its menus for iPads.

Kevin and I must have been doing a “Vulcan Mind Meld” at the time, because when we called him, he said he saw the Aussie story  and was ready to rock.

Our iPad wine list is not as aggressive as the Aussie menu – we prefer to walk before we run with the wine list first then potentially move to the food menu – but I can tell you that the iPad has significantly improved The Carlton’s brand image of Pittsburgh’s premier dining and wine establishment and improved wine sales too – customers love it!

We’ll soon cut a brief video explaining how the wine list works, but know these things:

  1. The iPad can be used to help lift your business
  2. Look for products and/or service executions that create brand “halo” USPs
  3. It’s better to phase in technology improvements to your business to flawlessly execute and gain an immediate WOW from your customers before someone else comes along and steals your marketing thunder and you look like a market follower and/or a “me too” brand**
  4. Great clients make great marketing firms

**Note: In the time we started to work on and launch The Carlton’s iPad wine list, there have been major news articles about iPad wine lists in use at Central Park South Gate restaurant (7.2.10),  Bones in Atlanta (9.13.10), III Forks in Jacksonville (8.11.10), but hey The Carlton had the first iPad wine list in Pennsylvania! More news to come as we continue to improve our iPad wine list effort.

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Give the Finger Test to Your Work

A guy rushes into a hospital’s emergency room with blood gushing out of an artery and close to death.

A surgeon on call is immediately summoned and after taking a minute or two, puts his finger on the gusher, sews the guy up in 10 minutes and the patient is good as new.

A few days pass and the guy gets a bill for $25,000 for the 10 minute job. He’s ticked.

He rushes back into the hospital demanding to see the surgeon and they meet.

He says, “Doc…$25,000 for 10 minutes of work (e.g., $150,000 an hour rate) and for a few stitches and a Band-Aid?

“Whoa,” the Doc says, “Let me see that bill.”

“Sorry, we should have been more clear on your bill,” says the Doc. “It should been broken down as $2.00 for the thread, needle and Band-Aid and $24,998 for knowing where to quickly put my finger to save your life!”

Telegram: Next time you’re thinking about justifying your hourly rate, give your work the finger test. No one’s hourly rate is the same especially if there’s no clear substitute for you and your one-of-a-kind work!

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25 Brand Marketing Lessons From My Mom

This weekend is always a great time for me, because it gives me extra time to truly pause and reflect on my super Mom – I adore her (same goes for my mother-in-law too) and am so very blessed to have her in my life. Now, I’ve always been a believer in the Big Guy upstairs, but I’ll tell you if my Mom doesn’t make it to heaven, there just simply isn’t one!

While Mother’s Day comes just once a year, every day should be Mother’s Day for the incredible role they play in all of our lives.

Don’t you agree?

Salary.Com, has highlighted all of the job titles that best define all of Moms’  responsibilities which are (in order of hours spent per week): housekeeper, day care center teacher, cook, computer operator, facilities manager, van driver, psychologist, laundry machine operator, janitor and chief executive officer. I’d add dog walker/caregiver, guardian/protector, nurse/doctor, motivational speaker, cheerleader, life coach, healthcare consultant, gardener (PLUS – “day job’ working mom if it applies) and I’m sure my Mom could list more!

So what is Mom worth?

For me, and I’m sure for you, Mom is priceless, however Salary.Com gave it a shot to actually put a price tag on Mom’s work.

Based on a survey of more than 28,000 mothers, Salary.com determined that the time mothers spend performing 10 typical job functions would equate to an annual salary of $117,867 for a stay-at-home mom. Working moms ‘at-home’ salary is $71,868 in 2010; this is in addition to the salary they earn in the workplace.

Here’s a really cool thing you can give Mom on her special day – a customized paycheck – now you can’t put a price tag on your Mom, but Salary.Com is certainly giving it a go!

In Marketing, strong Brands are what it’s all about, so what you can you learn about brand marketing from Brand Mom? Here are 25 lessons (in no particular order) from where I’m sitting:

  1. Have unconditional love for your family
  2. Tell the truth, admit when you’re wrong and be truly sorry
  3. Leave things and people better off than when you found them
  4. Stand for something – Care
  5. Clean up after yourself
  6. Don’t be a blind follower – lead
  7. Surround yourself with positive people
  8. Do good work and be proud of your work
  9. Perseverance – have resolve
  10. Be a team builder
  11. Be positive and enthusiastic
  12. Be respectful and respect yourself
  13. Be disciplined and follow through on execution
  14. Keep your word – walk your talk
  15. Servant leadership – serve others without looking for payback or PR
  16. Smile, be nice and be courteous – say thank you and please
  17. Speak up, speak clearly and write well
  18. Say thank you and mean it
  19. Plan ahead and be resourceful
  20. Have faith, hope and dreams – think big
  21. Know the value of a dollar – save money for raining days
  22. Learn how to bounce and roll because you’ll fall and fail often
  23. Sweat the details, but don’t sweat the small stuff
  24. Be true to yourself – don’t be someone you’re not
  25. Money isn’t everything, but Family is

Thanks Mom!

How about you? Anything to add?

Happy Mother’s Day Super Moms Everywhere!

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Lt. Col. Allen West – A Marketer’s Dream

I don’t have many favorite politicians – check that – I don’t have a one! And, I’d bet most of you don’t have one.

Until maybe now.

Republican candidate for Congress and former U.S. Army lieutenant colonel Allen West is someone I’ve been following throughout his race in the Sunshine State!

And you should too.

Allen West, is a former U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and is running this November as a Republican candidate for the United States Congress in Florida’s District 22.

Watch this video of West in action. No notes – pure passion and conviction – clear message coming from experience – a complete mastery of the power of video and the mastery of the public speech!

When the Republicans and McCain and Co., got outgunned and derailed by the Obama campaign in the last presidential election, there’s no question that one of big contributing factors was that they were far behind in mastering the New World Order of interactive and social media marketing tools.

In the next election/s, you’ll see that everyone will be on the SMM bus. And, it will be somewhat of a level playing field in terms of marketing execution since most everyone will be wearing a pretty nice SMM tool belt and carrying a well equipped toolbox.

Check out West’s Web site and you’ll see its complete with all the appropriate SMM tools however, his talent, integrity, character and clear brand message and performance rules.

Certainly money helps, but in this online, always on world we live in, citizen journalists can help West even out the playing field for his underfunded brand.

Watch out for the Allen West’s of the world (performance based brands with character, integrity and trustworthiness) and remember that tools are cool, but tools don’t rule because anybody can buy them and learn how to use them.

To excel these days, recognize that for today’s informed consumer, what truly matters is a clearly communicated and meaningful brand promise delivered from a trustworthy, proven brand. Guaranteed.

P.S.: I call Lt. Col. Allen West a Marketer’s dream because it’s so easy to promote a brand you believe in. I’ll bet West wins in November – this American Patriot prays and hopes that he does – we need more good people like him in government.

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The Unique Selling Proposition of Brand Jesus

I’ve been a practicing (and far from perfect) Roman Catholic and Christian all my life, and for over 25 years, I’ve been a practicing (also far from perfect) marketing professional.

For the past few months, I’ve been working on a lot of brand positioning exercises and marketing audits as well as attending a weekly bible study. As I’m preparing to enter Holy Week and Easter – my favorite time of the year – my professional and personal life is colliding in an interesting way.

I’ve been thinking about Jesus’ ministry and his time on earth a lot lately. And, I’ve been thinking about him as a brand too. And, when I think of him as a brand, his radical and remarkable message and unique selling proposition is clearly one of unconditional love, tolerance and forgiveness – but, love is his foundational core message. And, he demonstrated his core message of love by living it out loud through his actions and by making the ultimate sacrifice.

I say radical and remarkable because if you closely study The Sermon on the Mount, you’ll see what I mean. C’mon…turning the other cheek is one heck of a radical concept! Even today!

When I try to stand outside of my faith and look at Christianity as a product,  it’s amazing that it has spread throughout the world and has welcomed 2 billion adherents without depending on large scale ad campaigns, social media and the like.

Christianity has spread because one person – Jesus – started it by speaking his message of truth, being authentic, transparent and following a singular focused devout message of pure unconditional love for everyone.

It’s a great lesson for all of us people of the world and marketers too.

Happy Easter to all of you.

P.S.: With all due respect, this post is not meant to be sacrilegious at all, but merely an essay in effective branding/messaging. Also, for those of you interested in religious marketing lessons, I came across this Blog – Church Marketing Sucks – and found it pretty interesting. The site’s goal as stated is to…“frustate, educate and motivate the church to communicate, with uncompromising clarity, the truth of Jesus Christ.” Another interesting post is here, Jesus Is Not a Brand; Why it is dangerous to make evangelism another form of marketing, by Tyler Wigg Stevenson.

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