Do you feel like you’re going in circles with your church marketing tactics?
Have you tried doing a lot of techniques from different marketers but it still doesn’t work?
If you want to find the answers for the right way to church marketing, listen to our podcast below.
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Kenny: Hey friends, welcome back. It’s Kenny Jahng here with the Church Butler, Lunch and Learn session. We are in a groove, right now because the last couple of sessions had been really productive. Thank you for the feedback that you guys have been sending our way. We’d definitely love the thumbs up in the reviews. Today is going to be another one. It’s almost like the cherry-on-top, our series of the run that we’ve had. I’m really pleased to introduce to you, Josh Chambers. Welcome to the show, Josh.
Josh: Thanks for having me.
Kenny: So, Josh, we’ve got this session here where we go back and forth. We call it Lunch and Learn, and we bring in experts like you, tip-top shape experts at the top of their game, and introduce them to our audience and just share a little bit, either best practices or something that you do or a resource. And today, it’s a little bit of both. I wanted to share with them a resource that you have built that I think could be very instrumental to many of the church communicators that are listening and watching to us today, but before we go there, I just want you to take us on that little elevator ride, that elevator pitch of who is Josh Chambers, Moon March, and just the background that you have. I think, it’s pretty impressive as to what you’ve been able to accomplish for a lot of brands and teams and organizations. And, I want to put that into context for people upfront.
Josh: Sure. Well, I got my start doing Communications, Design Marketing about 15 years ago and I was doing it for nonprofits and I realized that I thought I could maybe learn a lot more, have a bigger impact if I started working for larger brands and big agencies. So, I went up to New York and I ran the Reebok Crossfit Global Merger. I ran Advil and Viacom and Disney and Puma and a bunch of big brands over the years. And on the side, I had started to work with churches more in a volunteer capacity. My wife and I helped plant a couple of churches and I kept noticing that churches were getting a bad advice either the marketing professionals had no idea about the unique operations of how church works. So, they were telling them that you gotta do this, you gotta do this, you’ve got to do this. And, it didn’t make sense for the church or a lot of the good-hearted people who wanted to volunteer or maybe were marketing professionals that were church working professionals, didn’t seem to have the expertise needed to really genuinely helped churches. So, I started to do this on the side over time, and a random bunch of these big brands and started my own tech company, ran that for three years. And then, I started an agency about three years ago that was designed to focus on companies that are making the world a better place.
Kenny: I love that story because there aren’t that many that you find in this church communications world, you know, I, myself, having worked in an agency as well. I think understanding… when you come in from the marketplace, and coming into the ministry mindset, you see a little bit that sometimes you wish that there was a lot more formal training in the basics, the foundations, the best practices that are around. And that’s what I think. When I first heard and saw the resource that you’ve been building for church professionals, I think that just lit me up because we need that. We need structure, we need process and there isn’t any easy way to take it from the marketplace, from the agency world. Right? And you’ve got these agencies like yourself and myself that are helping churches, but there aren’t that many. They’re translating it so that people really, the ones that are inside the church can understand. Tell us a little bit about your work with that and I love the fact that you’re passionate from church planting and your personal experience with churches have fed into that. How did this new site coming? First of all, tell us about the website address, type it in and what’s the purpose and who’s it for?
Josh: It’s called Church Marketing Workshop and that’s the website, churchmarketingworkshop.com and the purpose is to equip churches to learn how to think when it comes to marketing so, that they can lay a strategic foundation and learn how to tell transformative stories that are unique to their neighborhood. Because what I kept noticing over and over, was even the most advanced churches, what they would do is they would look at marketing blogs on how to do tactics and they would try all these different tactics like, ‘Why aren’t my Facebook ads working?’, ‘Why isn’t my Facebook page working?’, ‘What’s wrong with my website?’. And there was no foundation. And so, what kept happening, I noticed is whoever the latest blogger was was what they would do. And so, I had this workshop that I had been giving to churches for a number of years and at conferences and I thought, man, wouldn’t it be great if I could create this in a DIY self-service on-demand fashion? So, I created this program, it’s 12 different videos and it’s all on-demand. It’s a hundred-page workbook and it walks someone through the foundations of where marketing come from. Why is it so manipulative? Why is it so messed up? to How do you actually figure out who’s in your neighborhood and define a communications target, which makes churches really nervous to think, ‘Well, I can exclude that group. I have to include everybody’ and how they navigate that. And then for some of the younger churches, it includes color palettes and type faces and everything they need to start a brand, a good looking site, a good looking logo. And then, it moves over time into ‘here’s how to use Facebook’, ‘here’s how to use Twitter’. So, that by the end of it, they have a marketing plan that gives them day-to-day, ‘Here’s what I’m going to do each day or each week in my different marketing initiatives, but, it’s based on a foundation of who am I, who’s in my neighborhood, what makes me unique, what do I want to be when I grow up no matter what size I’m at’. And I think that’s the power of what I’ve seen. The program this class can do is teach people how to think because if they can figure that out and lay a foundation, then we can go hire a designer or hire a photographer and actually say, ‘This is what I want’ versus ‘I hope what you bring me is good’. Does that make sense?
Kenny: Yeah. And I don’t want it to be lost because especially, and just harping back to my agency days when we had a new account and we’re going to unpack the brand for them, we spent, I personally, when I was younger, thought we spent an inordinate amount of time on the WHO, the target, the neighborhood and psycho-graphic profile, the ethnographic profile. I remember as an intern, I was the one who sent down to the new standard and I had to buy like literally like 100 different magazines come back and we tear up the magazines which ads are targeting our persona and really try to figure out like what is on their coffee table, where do they shop, do they like go for the Fritos or they go for the organic foods, you know, a Banana Republic shopper, right? So like, can you spend a little bit more time because I think that’s really important to understand who you’re trying to target and that’s one of the things in your research that I don’t see in others out there.
Josh: Yeah, there’s a huge dearth there of people that spend time on it. I think churches, like I said before, get really nervous about it because they think that if they set out to define an audience of any kind, they are automatically being exclusive.
Kenny: Churches is for everybody, right?
Josh: Yeah. Churches is for everybody. So one of the examples they use in the class is pretty easy, a fake example obviously, but, if you’re going to go plant a church in a Spanish speaking neighborhood, you should speak Spanish. So, that’s an obvious one. We’re pretty like, yeah, of course, I’m not going to go do that if I can’t speak Spanish, but that’s more or less you think about it in that context that if you are planting a church in neighborhood filled with a certain type of person, predominantly a couple types of people, and you don’t know how to speak that language, you don’t maybe even like those people necessarily or you don’t get along with them. It’s gonna be painful for you. So, what I do is I, at baseline, I give people some websites to go to, to identify the demographics in their neighborhood. And, that’s just some basic, what are the ethnicities in your neighborhood, what’s the income brackets, how many families are there? And then I help them figure out how to sort of get in ahead of these different groups of people and rank those audiences. And what I do is I say there’s an overlap of what you’re good at, so you have to figure out, ‘What are we actually really good at?’, which many churches don’t ever spend any time on, and then ‘What’s our vision for 30 years from now?, and then, ‘What do people in our neighborhood care about?’. And I’m not talking about what do they care about in our church. Why do they care about? I’m just, what do they care about? And the overlap in the middle is where you spend time. So, for example, if you’re really good at taking care of a recovery community and you have a lot of recovery addicts like that whole community that’s predominant in your neighborhood. And, do you want to be a community that is all about our church service? Perfect. That’s an audience that you should figure out how to speak to. If you are a highly intellectual theologian type who exegetes the heck out of everything and you show up at a young hipster neighborhood and they’re just like, where’s the music? You might be a little bit off. So, what I do is basically say, figure out who those people are, what they care about, and then you can figure out whether or not you want to speak to them directly and how. And the last example is one of the personas that we have built out is a single person, who we identify as just coming to church for the first time to meet other single people and that changes what you’re doing with your messaging. You’re not going to come out and say, ‘Hey, single people go stand in that corner’, but you are going to be able to get an idea of what in the world you should speak to them about that first time.
Kenny: Yeah, it sounds trivial and it sounds almost offensive. Like, you know ‘What? Why are you talking to me at this level?’. But, you know what? It’s amazing how many teams just don’t take the time to pause and do that. And, I think it’s even for established thrive in churches. I know that one church I know that does this every three or four years. Just to make sure there’s a story I just read in a thread on Facebook, in a group. We had a heated exchange about millennials and stuff like that, and one church they talked about over the years, the demographics of the neighborhood has changed, so they were primarily Anglo-White congregation over the years, literally the residences around the houses all turned Hispanic, Spanish speaking, and so they had to make a decision what to do and instead of hiring another younger associate pastor, they hired a Spanish speaking pastor for Spanish ministry and all of a sudden their ministry flopped, right? Yeah. You need that self awareness, right? Of understanding where you are?
Josh: Well, and you mentioned agencies, I mean the amount of time, 80% of the work that people see on the creative front, whether it’s a TV spot or a new website or a digital campaign, is the strategy on the front end. It’s the hard work of figuring out who these people are and I think the thing that floors me, I’m no longer surprised by it, but I think I was, when I was just starting out was the church’s reticent. They’re just so hesitant to even think about the audience because it feels yucky somehow, I think, and that’s what I was talking earlier about that whole Christian marketing professionals have no idea that this world even existed about ethnography and demographic research and personification, but then the people who’d worked in agencies, they’re used to spending months and months on this stuff and they’re like, well, just go run a bunch of ethnography is in the trenches, like how the heck am I supposed to be out? So, I hope this tool will allow for churches to do it, to learn how to do it themselves.
Kenny: That’s great. And so you walking through that, then after that they’re able to go to that next step. So, let’s talk about expectations for the course. Is this person who’s going through this, is this supposed to be just a church planter, just the lead pastor? Or is it just the communicator? Who’s actually the person or people that you suggest go through this program together?
Josh: I think in this order, I would say church planter is an obvious one because this course helps people, a planters stand up things from scratch and it’s everything they need to get going from scratch and they often will feel the need the most because they don’t have a website, yet. They don’t have a brand yet. Then, I think it’s more about who’s doing the actual communication and vision casting. So, if you’re a big church and you already have a team that’s full of digital experts, I think that this course is very beneficial for a strategist on the team that is managing the vision and the brand. I think there’s a lot to be learned here. I mean, this is a process I walk multi-million dollar clients through, so there’s something to be learned there for sure. What I don’t think this course is for is yet anyways, and I have plans to release more content on this, but it’s not yet for someone who is trying to become even better at Facebook ads. Right? There’s plenty of resources online to do those things, so it’s more for that person who’s like, one of the people who took the class, for example, he’s a worship pastor and the church has decent size, maybe 500 people, but he kind of has to do everything. So he’s like, look, I’m creative, but I know I’m missing something. Another one is a pastor who’s in charge of church planting for his entire diocese, so he’s overseeing 30 churches and he just took the class and it’s like I’m redefining our vision based on this class. So, I think it’s that decision maker around where to take the story is the ideal person.
Kenny: Gotcha. Gotcha. Yeah, it’d be interesting to hear those stories of the people as they come out of the class and see what their next step isn’t actually implements some of the strategies in their church in the ministry. Okay. So, tell us again exactly where they can get access to this course online?
Josh: It is churchmarketingworkshop.com. And so you go there, there’s three different types. There’s the standard, which is just, you watch the class, you do all of the workbook, you get all the templates, there’s coaching where you do everything, and then at the end you spend an hour with me and then I can answer any questions and then there’s a group. The group is for up to five churches together. So, if you are, have a bunch of pastor buddies and you can all get together and run this or a five multi-site church. And then, there is an exclusive Facebook group as well for Q and A after someone has completed the course because one of the questions that I do get is, well, ‘Am I not going to get a website when I’m done with this?’ and, the answer is no. We’re not creating any content or any digital assets for you, but I am going to teach you how to make them look great. So, after the course, if you’re someone who feels like, man, I’d like a little input from that coaching meant for that person.
Kenny: Awesome. I love the fact that it was built-in an access as part of the options there. So, you said it’s… how many installments, how many lessons that are in the actual course?
Josh: Twelve sessions. And they range from about 3 minutes to 20 minutes.
Kenny: This workbook is huge.
Josh: Yeah, it’s 100 pages and it’s full of templates. So, we have persona templates, channel strategy templates and ecosystem template. All sorts of, these are probably words that some people are like, what are you talking about? But it’s all in there and it’s all there. And the great thing about it is it incrementally walks people through. If you let me hold your hand through it so that you trust the process, you will incrementally be able to build on everything you do over time. And then, I think there’s like 12 color Palettes, a handful of fonts for you to download. So, if you’re knowing I need a new brand refresh, here’s some beautiful color Palettes, don’t think more about it. Just use one of these. Here’s some great font combinations, use these, etc.
Kenny: Yes, and so many times it’s just those small tweaks that makes such a big difference.
Josh: Yes. Yes. It really. It really is, and I cannot stress this enough for churches. The funny thing is this last thing I’ll say, churches know that you can’t make disciples by just giving people a bunch of rules that doesn’t work, and yet, we still approach many of our creative like that. Just give me a bunch of rules, give me a bunch of tactics, tell me what I should do on Facebook and that doesn’t work. So, if someone can take the time to learn how to think, to learn how to fish, they, I think, for years this will benefit them. Even if they have a creative team that can eventually go do the work for them.
Kenny: Well, thank you Josh for spending some time with us and explaining about this resource. If someone watching today want to get in touch with you directly, what’s the best way that they could do that? Send us your digits basically.
Josh: Yeah, twitter @joshchambers is the best way to get in touch with me.
Kenny: Gotcha. And then if people actually want to engage with you and your agency, Moon March, in particular to actually execute and, you know, build a website, etc., how can they find out more information about you?
Josh: The best thing to do is just email me firstname.lastname@example.org and, tell me you heard this podcast and we’ll go from there.
Kenny: Okay. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for being with us today and thank you to all of you listening and watching it today. Appreciate the time that you take to consume this content and share it with your friends. That’s one of the best compliments you can give us. We’re always looking for more people to impact across the Kingdom and share these resources and these are best practices that we’ve discovered along the way. Again, your feedback is critical. Please send us your ideas and your needs, the big questions that you have that are sitting in front of you for your ministry so that we can help tackle it with you. I’m Kenny jang, church butler. Thank you so much for being with us today. Take care and be good. Until next time.