The New Evangelization calls us to utilize the proven techniques of the world of marketing. That is not a dirty word! In 1977, Pope Paul VI said the following:
It is our wish also that the Catholic Institutions, in their various kinds and according to their specific character, will follow with constant attention the development of the modern techniques of advertising and will know how to make Opportune use of them in order to spread the Gospel message in a manner which answers the expectations and needs of contemporary man.
That was 35 years ago! If you’re still having trouble uttering the words marketing, advertising, and evangelization in the same breath, it’s time to get over it!
This inspiration comes from a workshop I attended at the Hofinger Conference in New Orleans this week. I attended a workshop by Maureen Wales who began her own company called Catholic Marketing Initiatives. She presented “10 Proven Pointers” to help you initiate new or bolster current diocesan, parish, or school marketing plans. These same strategies can and should be applied to our parish religious education programs and other parish/diocesan efforts as well. She identifies these pointers as:
- Set an objective for your marketing effort
- Know yourself (your brand, logo, tag line, etc.)
- Know your audience (focus groups, interviews, surveys, etc.)
- Create your message (say it in as few words as possible)
- Really reach your target audience (segment your audience and identify the best way(s) to reach them)
- Create your 18-month marketing plan (what you will do and when you will do it, benchmarks)
- Put a timeline in place for implementing and assessing (checkpoints) the plan along the way
- Know the 4 R’s of marketing communications; readability (strong visual content), recall (clear/memorable copy), ratio (concise/appropriate presence), and results (compelling/call to action)
- Maximze the power of the essential components of good marketing communications (headlines, subheads, graphics, body copy, identity, call to action, contact info, proofreading)
- Become a marketing “groupie” (what gets YOUR attention? use those examples to shape your approach)
What are you doing to market your parish religious education program or parish/diocesan initiative?