today i came across an interesting article regarding the utility of social networking and social media in the milieu of marketing. the crux of the author’s (peter shankman) argument (if you look beyond his hap-hazard way of making his point) is that social technologies are just tools in the marketing tool box, not a replacement for real marketing. you can read the article here.

this got the old crank and wheel going in my head and my thoughts began to churn, and that churning turned into an opine – and from the opine came two questions to be presented and answered.

the first of these questions is simply this – what is good or real marketing? shankman argues (loosely) that this is a combination of good marketing strategy and well executing marketing that makes a difference. and to some extent he is correct (in the midst of his diatribe against the shotgun method of social marketing he makes a few salient points). as my friend charles lee pointed out, recent analytic trends show that social marketing is working, but the thrust of shankman’s assertions really hit home.

it is not as much about how you market, or what you market, it is about how good your marketing is.

hearkening back to my undergraduate days studying rhetorical criticism, my mind immediately shot to one of my favorite quotes. roman rhetorician quintillian once said that persuasion is nothing more than “good man speaking well.” paraphrasically, this can be understand thusly: an act of persuasion hinges on person with good motives, having a well crafted message, that is delivered well.

then it hit me, this is all that marketing really is (and by the way, wanting to increase profits is a good motive, we are capitalists after all).

the reality however, and i believe this is shankman’s underlying statement, is that social marketing allows shortcuts. and because of this, those who rely too much on social marketing either fall short on crafting a message well or delivering it well, or tragically, both.

at the end of the day, church is no different – what distinguishes a growing church from a stagnating church is the message that it crafts and how well it delivers—not just on sunday mornings. from top to bottom, we as the church in america need to take a huge step forward and get better and do better at crafting and delivering the message of the gospels. from our logos and slogans to our sermons and studies and everywhere in between.

our message has the best motive of all:

“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” – 2 Peter 3:9 (NASB)

which leads to the second question – what shall we do about it?

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