According to Pew Research Center, 23% of US adults stated they didn’t have a religious affiliation, up from 16% in 2007. However, 89% of US adults stated they believed in God, with 61% of the unaffiliated also stating they believe in God. In other words, people are becoming less religious, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are non-believers.
Some feel that this is owed in large part to our consumerist society, which has made people think they can choose their faith as they wish, and switch from one to another whenever they feel like it. In other words, people have started to view religion as they do brands.
In fact, Mara Einstein, author of Brands of Faith, explained that people take on religion just like they become loyal to brands.
Of course, other issues have also had a significant contribution to this situation, but they are beyond the scope of this article.
Religious Organizations Need to Adapt
If people have started viewing religion the same way they do their bank or ISP, then religious organizations should adopt the same strategy to attract new “customers” and retain existing ones.
It’s easy to say that a religious organization shouldn’t have to engage in marketing campaigns or to think of the “customer” experience. After all, that shouldn’t be the role of a religion. Unfortunately, the problem is that certain organizations – those referred to as megachurches – have already joined the fray.
These megachurches engage in massive marketing campaigns, spreading the word through as many tools as they can, from handing out die-cut stickers for people to stick on their cars to setting up websites and putting you videos on YouTube. They’re also very focused on the experience, ensuring that attending church is entertaining, that there’s always something for the kids to do, and so on.
In other words, religious organizations have to pick up the ball and adapt, or they will find their numbers will continue to decline steadily.
Marketing on a Budget
Regardless of how much funding a religious organization has, it can seem wasteful to spend money that could be used to help the less fortunate on marketing. Of course, the argument in favor of doing so is quite simple: by marketing and increasing awareness, religious organizations are actually helping people. But many people aren’t quite as aware of this fact as they used to be, which is why every dollar spent on marketing is worth it.
However, that doesn’t mean religious organizations can’t market on a budget. After all, some may not have the funds for a massive campaign using all forms of media.
A great option is sticker marketing, no matter the size of the organization. Read on to find out why stickers work so well in any form of marketing, but especially for religion.
Stickers Send the Right Message
We may be living in a consumerist society, but at the same time, we are evolving. People are more and more interested in giving back to their communities, in working together to build a better world. And, as a result, how socially conscious and responsible a brand is has a significant impact on their decision.
A religious organization by its very nature is socially responsible. However, perceptions can easily be swayed and an organization that spends a fortune on marketing via more traditional channels might not be perceived as being quite as socially responsible as they should be.
Stickers, on the other hand, are a great way to market because people don’t perceive them as advertising. People are also aware stickers are cost-effective, which makes them even more open to the message you are trying to send.
People understand the need to get the word out. However, a 30 second commercial during prime-time that might have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to make will not always send the right message.
So, instead of worrying about raising funds to make a snazzy commercial, you’ll find it a lot more effective to print and distribute a variety of stickers with your message.
Whether you opt for die-cut stickers, circle stickers, kiss cut stickers and so on, it doesn’t really matter. The perception is that they’re not expensive (they aren’t), ensuring that the target audience is open to the message you’re actually trying to send, rather than becoming hostile and closing off because of what they might consider a waste.
Stickers Are Fun
Let’s be honest. Life is already pretty tough for most people and the last thing they need is to deal with even more difficulty. It’s why megachurches have gone with the entertainment angle. They’re making it fun for people to attend church. Of course, not every organization can or should take the same approach.
Using stickers to market, however, sends a light-hearted message. For most people, stickers are a reminder of their childhoods and happier times. So, by using die-cut stickers or circle stickers, or rectangular stickers or any other stickers you can imagine and incorporating a fun design, people will immediately associate them with fun and happy times, which will definitely prove more of a draw than anything else.
Stickers Spread Like Wildfire
Precisely because of the connection to happier times, people love displaying stickers on their personal items. And they also love handing them out to friends and family, especially if they feature a great design and/or an inspirational message.
In fact, with stickers, you can end up having your ‘prospects’ doing the work for you because once your stickers have made it out into the wild, they will spread like a forest fire.
Sticker marketing is a great option for religious organizations because it is cost-effective and also sends the right message. Plus, it really doesn’t hurt that most people associate stickers with happier times, which means they are less likely to pull up every obstacle possible and become hostile towards the organization trying to ‘advertise’ to them, as happens with many other types of channels.