Tuesday, March 22, 2011

'Going Fishing' and Reaching Men in Need

He said, "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men". Using the backdrop of a fishing community as a way of life, Jesus positioned rather nicely, the fishing community to illustrate His ministry. The parallel of men fishing for a livelihood and how easily transferable the thought of men fishing for men's hearts minds was brilliant.

It's not far off when marketing services to male clients who find themselves in the throws of new found fatherhood. A key element to 'fishing for male clients' is your ability to attract male clients by selecting the right tackle and your means to cast the right bait before them. You want to solidly 'hook' them on the love and support you can provide them.

There are four measures [types of tackle and techniques] to attracting male clients to your services. They are Service, Cost, Place and Proclaim. We'll get to these terms in just a moment.

In the past we would have called these four measures your "marketing mix". This is a term Neil H. Borden presented in an article, The Concept of the Marketing Mix. Borden referenced this idea when he taught through his discovery of James Culliton's notion of a marketing manager as a "mixer of ingredients" just before the 50's. Borden's 'marketing mix' included product planning, pricing, branding, distribution channels, personal selling, advertising, promotions, packaging, display, servicing, physical handling, and finally fact finding and analysis. It was E. Jerome McCarthy who later linked these ingredients into four categories many of us know today as the 4 P's of marketing Product - Place - Price and Promotion.

Yet for a non-profit, seeking to work with men a concept known as 'marketing mix', while so very close in terminology, requires a subtly different tone and approach to reaching men in need. Using the fishing analogy to catch men, think of the terms Service, Cost, Place and Proclaim as the lures you have in your tackle box that you're going to go fishing with.

Tackle #1 - SERVICE - (2 Cor. 9:12-14) The term "Service" refers to the tangible, physical services you provide men. Here are some examples of the service decisions you will need to make in order to be most attractive to men's hearts:
  • Brand name - Give your service a name that reaches men's hearts - resonates with them
  • Functionality - Make it a “No brainer”
  • Styling - Is your style from the 70's, 80's, 90's or is it today?
  • Quality - Best, Best, Best - half measures are scorned
  • Safety - Make a guy feel secure, does he feel welcome and secure?
  • Presentation - Make it sincere, real and transparent
  • Support - Go beyond business hours
  • Promise - (Matt 5:37) Oath & Vows - yes, stick to your word
  • Services - No Snags, make it seamless
Tackle #2 - COST - (Luke 14:28-30) - Similar to Price in the 4P's of marketing is COST. What is the literal cost to a man wanting to receive services from you? Not so must cost in a literal dollars and pennies proposition, but a cost of time and energy. Here are five thoughts you'll have to consider:
  • Suggested Investment - Layout the cost for being involved with you
  • Cost Strategy - Compare your cost to other cost choices (Planned Parenthood)
  • Investment Incentives - Show the payoff, in his terms
  • Bundle multiple payoffs - Show more than one positive payoff
  • Cost Flexibility - Show variance of payoff from low to high
  • Cost Discrimination - Be able to show the real value of a decision with you vs. the competition
Tackle #3 - PLACE - (Matthew 13:3-9) - Simply put, where will men encounter the services you want to provide them? Have you thought of:
  • Administering Services - on-site & off-site. Some of the best ways to service guys are 'outside' your four walls.
  • Market coverage - how far and how deep will you go to serve men?
  • Specific service members - who gets to serve men where they're at? Can you scan your team and decide in advance how to match a particular mentor to a particular client?
  • Inventory Management - What do you need on hand to serve men and make them feel welcome?
  • Client Processing - How few steps can you take to keep info fresh and up to date, the more steps he's gotta take - the faster he leaves.
  • Transportation - How far will you go to get men? Can you transport them as an added benefit?
Tackle #4 - PROCLAIM - (Luke 14:17-19) In the context of a ministry's marketing mix, “Proclaiming” represents the various methods of marketing communication. The communication of information about your services with the goal of generating a positive client response. “Proclaiming” decisions include:
  • Promotional strategy - Will it be a “push” strategy like Abstinence or a “pull” strategy like Unplanned Pregnancy counseling? What is your strategy otherwise which makes them take a listening to what you have to say?
  • Advertising - How will you get word to men where they are most accessible?
  • Personal Proclaiming - How can you use your very own story to reach men? [by far, the most effective]
  • Public relations & publicity -Who can you partner with who is sympathetic to your work - which will give you access to guys? [The courts, hospitals, etc.]
  • Marketing Communications Budget - create a short-term to long-term budget.
Working the elements of Service, Cost, Place and Proclaim appropriately could lead to incredible nets full of men turning their lives around in protection of the women and children in their lives.

Till next time,

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