Monday, September 08, 2014

Marketing Lessons from the Catholic Church

The Catholic Church knows how to recruit new “customers”. No surprise; they have been doing that for 2000 years!

What is their marketing secret?

1. Conveying the mission statement

The mission of the Catholic Church is to win and retain believers. To that end, “customers” must be convinced that the Catholic god exists.

Representatives of the Catholic Church use a cool sales trick to convince.

They argue: “True, you cannot see our god. So how do you know he exists? Well, you cannot see trust, but you trust your parents. You cannot see love, but you love your family.”

2. Why being Catholic is important

To win and retain customers, a business has to convince them of the added value of its offering. The Catholic Church explains that its main “product” was so important that his birth started the anno domini (AD) - Christian calender worldwide. This underpins what professor Robert Cialdini describes as the Principle of Authority.

3. Overcoming peer pressure

When the majority of the peers of a (potential) “customer” has a different set of norms and values and/or religion; it’s hard to champion the Catholic cause. But the Catholic Church uses in such cases an age-old and proven strategy – social evidence.

They point out that out of a current world population of 7 billion souls, 2 billion are Catholic. Quite an impressive market share!

4. Social engineering

One of the main “threats” that the Catholic Church faces, is an environment where the majority is not baptized let alone consists of practicing Catholics. The winning argument in such a case? During the time of JC, baptism was introduced for the first time. During the first day alone, 1,300 people were baptized, Quite an impressive conversion rate!

5. Retaining believers

One of the main challenges of the Catholic Church is to retain believers and handle crises (e.g., child abuse claims). The Pope as the CEO of the Catholic Church is facing the same challenges as many of his Fortune 500 counterparts: protecting and promoting the values of the enterprise and executing its mission while adapting to changing times and conducting crisis management to survive.

As the current CEO, Pope Francis is doing a good job. Let’s see how he steers his multinational during the coming decades…

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