So Churches Are Telemarketing Now?

Tonight around 6:30 I was sitting at the kitchen table with my daughter and the phone rang. It was an automated telemarketing call and since we get those from time to time I was about hang up but the voice asked the question, "If you're interested in finding out about a local church press '1'." Since I'm in church marketing and this was my first church telemarketing call I had to see where it took me. The automated voice told me that "New Church (name changed to protect the guilty) is an exciting place for families with contemporary worship, a great children's ministry, Bible based teaching and it's in your local area."

The voice never told me where in my local area this church is located but informed me that if I wanted more information about the church I could leave my name and mailing address at the conclusion of the message to receive further information by mail. The voice also told me that the information I would receive would guide me to the website where I could find out more about the church but it never told me what the actual URL for the church is (in case I was actually interested in finding out more about it now).

So here's my question...what were the leaders at this church thinking when they chose telemarketing as their method of solicitation? Of anything they could have done they opted for one of the most notoriously disruptive devices known to mankind. People dislike this form of solicitation so much that there's a National Do Not Call Registry. Is this a sign that we have officially reached the end of the road when it comes to good ideas on ways churches can promote themselves in their communities?

The fact of the matter is that people are so accustomed to the daily barrage of marketing messages that their filters are turned on almost all the time. Also, there are certain marketing methods that are simply viewed as obtrusive (like telemarketing calls and pop-up ads). With both of these things in mind it's important for churches to be even more aware and strategic with their marketing methods. If anything, churches should aspire to be the most attentive toward people's preferred methods of communication because the message of the church is so important that we should want to create as few secondary obstacles for people to overcome as possible. If someone is going to have an issue with a church (and we know there will be plenty) it shouldn't be with their marketing. Let an unbeliever's issues with a church be related to something of substance that can start them down a road toward a life changing decision.

I'm all for good church marketing. I do it every day with my job. Tonight, however, I was both challenged and disappointed. I was disappointed with this very bad church marketing idea and I was challenged to consider what constitutes good church marketing and what responsibilities a church may have with any promotional effort it makes.

I'm encouraged too. I'm encouraged by where I see things going. The new media (web 2.0) tools facilitate relationship building and allow churches who use them to engage people and establish connections through interactions. These new tools are some the best things permission marketing has to offer and I believe they will be responsible for some of the greatest strides churches can make to connect with people...especially people who don't want telemarketing calls.


Clare Redfield said...

I wonder since when did church need to do telemarketing?

Clare Redfield said...
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