marketing hacks from the Bible

Marketing Hacks from the Bible

Humans are truly incredible beings. We have learned how to construct bridges that are miles long. We can plunge into undiscovered depths of the ocean in our submarines. We can fly at speeds, faster than sound, and as every post about the ability of man is obliged to remember, we put a man on the moon.

But, we still miss things.

Regardless of all of our achievements, there are still those moments when we realize how little we really do know. Sometimes, we do not even know the most basic truths, even when they have been sitting right in front of us. Right now, there is a meme trend that reads, “I was today years old when I learned”…[i.e. “Arbys” is pronounced as RBs, which stands for roast beef].

For millennia, really, humanity has overlooked some of the truths in the Bible that have been apparent since the quill touched the parchment, like:

  • The earth is round (Is 40:22)
  • Blood is crucial for survival (Lev 17:11)
  • The ocean has defined currents (Ps 8:8)

Had we humans paid closer attention to the Text, Columbus would not be considered a hero for determining the earth was not flat and perhaps George Washington would still be alive… or, at least he would not have died from bloodletting.

These human blunders cause me pause to wonder what else we may be missing from the Bible that may not even be so scientifically minded.

Marketing is a deep passion of mine and has dominated both my education and vocation.

In one sentence, marketing is, the art of getting an audience to see and understand your message in a way that moves them to action.

If we take a moment to zoom out, there is a mic-drop realization that really, the Bible is the greatest marketing book ever written. The strategy is written in the sum of the parts, culminating in a masterpiece of wonder and fulfillment.

The reader goes into the text, looking for one thing and usually comes away with micro calls-to-action that ultimately lead to the greatest call to action, “Believe in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” (Acts 16:31)

Biblical Marketing 101

Storytelling

The entire text of the Bible is a gigantic story that starts at the beginning of time and ends at the end of time. Interwoven in the overarching story are smaller stories, teaching us great lessons, drawing the reader deeper and deeper into the story of the Gospel.

Audiences can relate with characters, events, and even the most simple minded can learn the principle of Old Testament stories, written thousands of years ago.

Whether you believe that Jesus Christ was the Messiah or merely a great philosopher, all must admit that His teachings were captivating to audiences, numbering in the thousands. Instagram followers pale in comparison to Jesus’ followers. How did He get thousands of people to not only listen to Him, but to follow Him around… on foot?

Well, the Text says:

All these things Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed, he said nothing to them without a parable.

Matthew 13:34

Jesus knew that stories were the best way to get people to understand His message and be motived to act.

There is a very popular trend and philosophy in the marketing world today called, StoryBrand. Instead of just telling a story, marketers are encouraged to create a story that invites the listener into the story. The story is somehow about the listener, not the one company or brand telling the story.

Jesus did this very thing. Name a parable where Jesus mentions Himself or makes Himself the hero. Rather, the stories relate to the audience in such an inspiring way, the listener understands what he or she must do and is often compelled to act.

Audience Personas

Marketers spend thousands of dollars each year on market research working to identify the personas, or the personalities and people types who make up their database. Once these personas are defined, they can then craft messages to each of these audiences in the communication style that fits their needs best.

Well, you can see this very same thing in Scripture. Did you know that each of the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) were written by four distinct authors, telling the same story?

However, Matthew was a tax-collector and used his account to tell Jews that Jesus was the long awaited Messiah.

Mark’s audience is not the Jew, rather those of the Roman empire who would not be otherwise familiar with Jewish tradition or prophecy.

Luke, the physician, gives a technical, third-person account of the same story.

Finally, John the fisherman, writes what many refer to as the easiest to understand books of the Gospel and explicitly states his purpose for writing… But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name (John 20:31)

The Old Testament too offers the message of Jesus to many other personas as well:

  • Musicians should read the Psalms.
  • Mathematicians should read Numbers.
  • Historians should read Genesis, Exodus, Nehemiah.
  • Scientists should read Job.

The Bible’s personas don’t just stop with vocational lines, either. There are entire books that speak to men and women collectively and individually. Children are fascinated by stories of Daniel in the Lion’s Den and of course, Jonah.

The Bible speaks to emotional personas as well. Those who are heart broken, those who feel lost, those who feel unloved or unlovable, those despairing, those suffering, and those going through trials, and those who are rejoicing.

The Bible contains a stylistic bent for every age group, every profession, every people group, every learning style and every mental capacity.

Evergreen Material

Staying relevant is a task that just about everyone in the work force is faced with today. The moment you become irrelevant is the moment you become dispensable. The same goes for content – if your content is not relevant, your content is no longer necessary.

As a marketer, I really do not like to have to consistently update things… I don’t like when web pages are out of date and need a content refresh. I don’t like when Facebook ads need to be changed because the pictures have fatigued and the offer has changed.

The more time a marketer spends updating old material, the less time she has to create new content and optimize the user experience. The more “evergreen” material a marketer can create, the more time she has to focus on the future.

Evergreen material can be used over and over, but is still relevant and useful for the end user.

The beauty of the Bible is that it is truly timeless, or evergreen if you will. Some people think the book is incredibly outdated and irrelevant in today’s culture and climate. True, the Bible is quite an old book, but the principles and truths in each line are still as relevant and useful today as they were the day they were written. Even Solomon noted, “there is nothing new under the sun.” Ecc 1:9

The principle of “loving your neighbor” has been around for thousands of years and is just as relevant today as it was in the first century.

Have you ever stopped to wonder how old the Golden Rule is? Yes, that comes from the Bible.

The calls to action, “Repent!”, “Trust in the Lord”, “Don’t be afraid”…etc. are still the same and what God requests of His people.

Easy to Understand

Distilling a concept down to a manageable chunk of information is no easy task. Entrepreneurs struggle especially because these company creators are passionate about their business and know why and what they do is so special, they can barely leave out any detail. The job of a marketer is to come in and decide which aspects of the business or offer are most compelling and then promote that message. If someone sees a message and has a hint of trouble understanding the message, that potential lead is most likely moving on.

The Bible masterfully distills information down to bite size pieces that even the most simple minded can understand.

For example, take John 3:16.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

This one verse sums up the entire story of the Gospel, from creation in Genesis to eternity in Revelation. That’s it. That’s all you need to know to know God. If you believe in God’s son Jesus, you have eternal life.

For some, that’s just too simple. Well, get ready, because the Bible is ready for this person too.

Here’s what this verse covers. God creates a perfect world, but man disobeyed God, changing forever man’s relationship with God. Man could not restore this relationship, so God promised (with a covenant) that He would send His Son as a perfect sacrifice to restore that relationship. Then, Jesus finally comes and shakes up the entire religious system, requiring only faith – not works – to secure eternal life with the Father. He willingly dies at the hand of those He came to redeem, three days later He overcomes death, returns to His Father, and promises that He will come back someday.

It would take a lifetime to dissect the impact and message behind John 3:16, but all you really need to know is that if you believe in Jesus as God’s Son, you can have eternal life.

That’s only one example.

Conclusion

I highly doubt that the authors of the Bible, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, when penning the Bible thought that their writings would be used one day in a blog about marketing.

That just goes to prove the whole point that this 2,000 year old book is “evergreen” with relevant content for today’s audience. I wish I could create content that would last that long!

So, if you’ve never given the Bible a try, it’s time to pick up one of the oldest, widest read books on earth. You might pick up on a couple of tips for your marketing endeavors, but I’d bet you’ll pick up on so much more. You really don’t know what you could be missing.

Photo by Carolyn V on Unsplash