Monday, August 17, 2015

Lessons from a Door to Door Evangelist

Last week I was visited here at the home office by some representatives of a well known religious organization.  These souls were evangelizing through the thinly concealed device of peddling a "free magazine" (the one that is the voice for that particular sect).  Strip away the religion and we really had a door-to-door marketing campaign.  And the representatives made about as many marketing mistakes as one could make.

1.  Target marketing.  The campaign was a simple brute force door-to-door, heedless of analysis of demographics.  The mother organization presumably feels "everyone" is a target customer, and its representatives (and there were at least five (!) in my little cul-de-sac) waste massive amounts of time knocking on doors.  And by the way, they visited on a weekday morning when hardly anyone is at home.

2. Brand messaging.  Almost nil.  The representatives were bizarrely attired, and didn't telegraph a positive image.

3. Establishing a connection with the prospect.  The representative who addressed me started with (and I am not making this up) "would you like to receive a magazine?".  The person could have engaged me with light philosophical questions such as "Do you feel like you aren't getting all the right answers" or some such to spark a conversation about how they can help solve my problems.  Of course I don't want a magazine!

4. Tactics.  Door to door is not, in my opinion, an old school tactic that works well any more.  With concerns about crime alone people don't respond well to the knocked door appeal.  I can't remember when a door-to-door contact engendered a really positive experience (except maybe the Girl Scout Cookie kids.)

5. Sampling.  Do not ask me if I want a magazine subscription.  Do leave behind something I can read.  Or leave something as a gift that might invite me to warm up.  A coupon? a tract?  Sure, 95% of the stuff will be tossed but I might be more willing to respond if I get something, rather than be asked to give or do something.

Bottom line: even the church must pay attention to marketing lessons.  This little contact was a fine reminder that the fundamentals matter.

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