Transformation Marketing Strategy
Now that you understand the five crucial paradigms which prepare you and your staff with the proper attitudes for propagating kingdom ends through the vehicle of the organization, we can design a marketing strategy customized to your organizational structure, product or service, your staff and your market.
The Model Behind the Strategy
Some time ago, researching ways to more effectively market our consulting business, we decided to search Scripture for what God had to say about marketing. After realizing we weren't going to find it in our concordance, we prayed for guidance in learning if God had anything to say about marketing, and if so, what it was. God led us to Luke 10:1-10.
You know the passage, Jesus sends His disciples ahead of him into the places He was planning on traveling with four instructions. Find a person of peace, that is, someone who is open to interacting with you. Build a relationship of trust and respect with that person. Meet the person's felt needs through God's healing touch. Then introduce them to the Kingdom.
But wait, this is a passage that is always taught as an evangelism passage. What has it got to do with marketing? Remember the Five Paradigms? Work is inseparable from worship. Reclaiming the marketplace is God's plan accomplished through taking the gospel into the dark places. That is what God was showing us. Marketing is evangelism is marketing.
Here's how the Luke 10 passage translates into a marketing strategy in practical business terms.
"The Lord appointed...and sent them ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go." This is important for three reasons. First, you and your organization have been appointed. You are God's delegates, His ambassadors. You have been given specific gifts in the way of your products or services. You have been equipped to prepare the way. Second, He sends you. Your marketing strategy is not capricious. It is not casual. It is Spirit-led. It is part of His divine plan, "to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ." (Ephesians 1:10) Third, He is directing you to specific places – places where He is planning to show up; organizations, companies, cities, industries, etc. where He is planning to show Himself with signs and wonders, healing and delivering and raising the dead! Your marketing plan, then, is not one made up of clever words and creative logos, but with Holy Spirit power. (See 1 Corinthians 2:4-5)
Jesus goes on to say, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves." The "market" is huge and it is not overworked. In business terms, that's good news and bad news. Good news, because there are plenty of "customers" to choose from. Remember that for us, the harvest field represents an opportunity to "sell" both our product or service and the Word of God. The bad news is that what we have to present is largely unknown in the harvest field, so we face a difficult "sell." While the market is not overworked, it is far from "virgin." Our competitor is deeply entrenched in the harvest field and will not take kindly to us presenting a different way of life. Jesus warns us that the going will be tough and there will be strong resistance.
Here is where we see the genius of this strategy. This is where marketplace ministry shines. Markets open up to those who have a unique product or service offering. The market will welcome those who will deliver what no one else can deliver. The advantage goes to the Transformation Business. Why? Because you are offering something no one else can offer – a measurable change in the spiritual climate around your customers in which they experience peace, prosperity, healing, well-being, reconciliation. He has given you a revolutionary, two-pronged marketing strategy. On the one hand you have a unique product or service that meets some immediate, worldly need and on the other, you have a delivery system that meets deeper, longer-term needs that are both worldly and eternal.
Where are the "towns and places" God is intending to go? As it relates to you, He plans to go into places and towns where people need your product or service. He equipped you specifically with the offering that you have and He intends for you to meet people's needs with it, so that you can introduce His "product" to that same market. Your prayer strategy is to ask God to guide you to those markets. This is where you begin to use the tools and technologies the world offers. Identify the markets. Learn as much as you can about them. Then ask God to show you what the needs are beyond those that exist for your product or service.
"Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road." Jesus seems to be communicating an urgency here. Don't waste any time or effort. Identify the best ways to get to those markets. Use effective and efficient communications. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom and guidance on what God's best techniques are. Don't simply use a marketing tactic because it is the latest and greatest.
The Luke 10 strategy offers more practical guidelines. Jesus goes on to give us a way to identify and work the "sweet spots" in the market. "When you enter a house, first say, 'Peace to this house.' If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you... But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 'Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you.'" Jesus is telling us to "prequalify the prospects" by extending free blessings. If people are receptive, we'll know it and can begin building a relationship with them. If not, we are not to waste our time and efforts, but to move onto a more receptive market.
Once we have found a person of peace, He tells us to "Stay in that house...Do not move around from house to house." This is important, because He is telling us to make an investment in that market. The remaining steps are dependent on our showing people we can be trusted, relied on. In business terms, we have to establish our "brand promise," the sense that we are truly what we say we are and can deliver what we say we can deliver. This only happens if we are willing to spend time with people; to set down some roots in their turf.
Once we've earned some acceptance, Jesus says the next three steps are: "Eat what is set before you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, 'The kingdom of God is near you.'" Here's what we believe He is teaching us. Enter into meaningful relationships with people, accepting them and their customs, truly enjoying fellowship with them. "Practice hospitality" as we are commanded to do in Romans 12:13. What will follow naturally is their sharing their needs with you. This is one of the major objectives of marketing, to identify the needs of the market that our organizations are able to fulfill. This may happen first through your product or service, or it may happen through meeting some personal needs. Either way, as people make themselves vulnerable to you, it is the perfect opportunity to introduce them to the resources you carry. "Heal" their needs. Apply the divinely appointed knowledge, skills and goods you have to their situation. Call on God to enter the scene with signs and wonders, healing them in all areas.
Both their worldly needs and spiritual needs will be met – as will yours! "Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages." Reap the benefits of providing your product or service. Enjoy the rewards of providing for their needs. You will have earned the privilege of introducing them into the light (the last step, "Tell them the Kingdom of God is near you") so that they can turn from the power of Satan to God. When you've done that, you will have communicated the reality of the Kingdom of God – certainly in actions, maybe in words. They will be able to receive forgiveness of sins and actively move into transformation with you in their sphere of influence.