The Genius of Jesus’ Marketing Plan

IMG_1177-0.PNGThere are plenty of books, blogs and sermons about how Jesus and the church need new marketing. This is not that. This is more the observation that Jesus himself, son of God, is a brilliant marketer. And, before you consider this irreverent, please read on and consider.

More often than they’d like to admit (or than they even realize?), people in marketing make the mistake of developing a product or service and then positioning and marketing it by describing all the features with whiz-bang inside jargon that everyday people don’t understand or care about. People only care about benefits. That is, how a product or service can benefit them.

We all know by now that the old model of “interruption marketing” doesn’t work. You know, where the party with the widget to sell disrupts their proposed customer from whatever it is they’re already doing and are already interested in, and then proceeds to tell them about something they may not need or want. Maybe it works a little better when the message is supposedly “contextual,” like a beer commercial during a football game, or sugary cereal in a comic book, or lipstick in a gossip mag. I guess. How’s that working out?

In most cases, the typical marketer tends to pay money to push product-centric advertisements in front of people who then flip past, drive by, or DVR through the ads without looking. But the marketers know this so they look at their “awareness” or “click through” metric and “conversion rate” with the satisfaction of success when they hit low-to-mid-single-digit success at best. And when their bosses don’t see sales tick up, they fire the marketer and hire another one to do it all over again.

That really doesn’t work so well. It might seem crazy, but I think there’s a great case study of “best practices” in looking at how Jesus did marketing. I mean, it’s now some 20 centuries after he walked the earth, and there are are 2.18 billion self-professed christians in the world. That’s one out of three people on earth.

How did he create and sustain such amazing awareness of his “campaign?” Here are my observations:

  • Jesus “studied” any given individual’s or group’s precise need
  • Then he gave “content” away for free, targeted at the precise need
  • That person was so enthusiastic about the content and experience, they wanted more (some willing to pay as much as their life)
  • And they would rush out and tell everybody they knew about it

Summing up, Jesus’ marketing plan was to be “consumer-centric.” He never had a marketing budget, yet he catalyzed the largest marketing department in the history of the world.

How, then, can an organization go about product development and marketing in a way that emulates this? Would that a good idea?



  1. Wayne Hastings says:

    Chip, I enjoyed this post. One thing Jesus did was know his audience. Many companies try to think they know their customer, but in reality their view is either blocked by “gatekeepers” or they refuse to get themselves engaged with the customer trusting their own pride of message or product.
    Companies who know, appreciate and serve their ultimate customers always seem to be ahead of the pack.

  2. Tracy Hoexter says:

    I love this analogy. The visual you posted sums it up so well… just reach people’s heart in a genuine way and you’ll have a bond. Key word “genuine”.

  3. And I’m so glad Jesus wasn’t a telemarketer… Thanks for a thoughtul post.

  4. This is helpful Chip! There have been few in the Christian realm that follow Jesus’ marketing plan… especially the part about giving away content for free, or with the sincere motive of helping, healing and redeeming people. I really look up to great legends like the musician Keith Green for emulating this.

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