thoughts/ideas/opinions from scott hodge

Wednesday, December 24


In my computer bag is a stack of papers in a file that I call my “to read” file. This file consists of articles, writings and blogging ideas that I run across on a regular basis. I usually scan through the articles online or in my email and then print them to read more in depth. Well tonight, I ran across an article written by a marketing “guy” by the name of Howie who writes an online newsletter called, “howieConnect”. You can check it out here.

In an article dated October 17th, 2003, (yes, I'm behind in my reading...) Howie shares some very interesting thoughts about marketing and reaching an audience. His ideas/thoughts are super simple, yet it’s amazing how many of us fail to incorporate these practices when it comes to reaching our “targets”. (For the church, the target should be unchurched people.)

In the article, Howie asks this question: “Are you marketing in You-ish or They-ish?” Check out this excerpt:

When I start marketing a product, I naturally start out by talking to myself. I write sales copy that appeals to my values. I argue the price/value question in ways that I find convincing. I use layouts and pictures that affect me.

Bad Howie.

Unless my market is very much like me (which rarely happens, believe me), I’m going to fail.

I’m speaking Gorilla-ish to Dogs. To me, I’m saying, “Buy my stuff,” but they hear, “Run away! I’m a Dork.”

I’m not going to succeed in teaching my prospects Howie-ish. If I want to communicate with them, I have to learn their language.

Then Howie answers the question of, “How do I go about learning their language?”

Here is a condensed version of what Howie does to learn “their” language:

Howie says:

1. I do research.
2. I go through thought exercises. (I imagine myself living their lives, having their problems, dreaming their dreams.)
3. I start writing like I would talk to them, knowing everything I know. (When they sense that I’ve made the effort to bridge the gap and understand them, my prospects often take a step toward me as well.)

These are some good thoughts – and definitely something that those of us in the church world (in general), need to keep in front of us. In fact, if you think about it, this is nothing different than what missionaries do when they go to a foreign country. They do research, they (hopefully) do thought exercises to try and understand the people they are attempting to reach, and they learn the language.

Well comment, challenge, let me know your thoughts.

(Not totally new ideas for some of us, but good thoughts to reinforce why we do what we do to encourage us to keep doing!)

Good stuff – long post. Sorry!