Book Review: Faith-Based Marketing
by Angela Walker
If you have any reason to reach customers in the Christian market (bookstore owner, website operator, pastor, leader of a non-profit organization, etc.), you should have a well-worn, oft-read copy of Faith-Based Marketing in your library. But don't put it on a shelf. Keep it on your desk because you'll go back to it again and again.
With a combined 30+ years of experience in the faith based marketing arena, Bob Hutchins and Greg Stielstra teamed to create an innovative manual to help business people understand and reach this untapped segment. A nationally recognized expert in the area of creative marketing strategies, Hutchins was the creator of online marketing campaigns for the hit movies The Passion of the Christ and The Chronicles of Narnia, while Stielstra directed the marketing for Rick Warren's bestseller The Purpose Driven Life, which has sold more than 30 million copies.
In Faith-Based Marketing, Hutchins and Stielstra provide helpful resources to build a better relationship between business and believers by helping them truly understand and respect each other. The book provides everything business leaders need to understand 140 million Christian consumers and effectively reach them. It explains who Christians are, what they want, and provides traditional, new media, and word-of-mouth strategies to communicate with and engage them and their churches. The book and its companion website also includes a valuable directory of top Christian organizations, churches, and events, to help marketers and business leaders find out whom to contact and how.
Pick It Up and Don't Put It Down
Frankly, I was prepared not to find anything new or interesting between the covers of this book. Having worked in Christian entertainment and media for more than a decade, I've seen many experts succeed with one campaign, only to miserably fail with another. I've heard marketers try to take principles that worked in one situation and apply them to another that is vastly different and expect wonderful results, as though one size fits all when it comes to reaching Christians.
I was pleasantly surprised by what I read in this book, and when I had the opportunity to interview them, I apologized to the writers about my preconceptions.
Hutchins and Stielstra have done their homework and earned their places as top marketers to the Christian community. They realize that Christians come in all shapes and sizes and have taken care to enumerate those differences and encourage us to do the same.
You Can Do It With Their Help
Filled with challenging questions and scenarios (You're hosting an event and plan to invite people from the local Jewish Synagogue, Baptist, Seventh Day Adventist, and Catholic churches. Which day of the week would maximize your turnout?), there is fresh insight on each page. Hutchins and Stielstra have studied the landscape of Christianity and you can benefit from what they've learned.
Examples of campaigns that got it wrong and plenty that got it righ demonstrate that executing a well-crafted marketing plan requires neither huge amounts of money (although that does help) nor large staffs of employees (even though many hands make light work).
If you have any kind of product, person, or event that you want to introduce to Christians, you should study Hutchins and Stielstra's work and take good notes. They will help you identify and understand the Christian Consumer, market to Christians through both time-tried and innovative strategies, and provide key resources you need to know about.
You can successfully market to Christians and market successfully to the 140 million Christian customers under the sure tutelage of Hutchins and Stielstra. Get this book, read it, and keep it close by because you'll be using it often. The book also contains a free subscription to a companion website with bonus content.
Courtesy of a national publicist, Angela read (and studied and underlined and highlighted) a copy of Faith-Based Marketing.