Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Start the Bzzz...

Several very influential books have appeared on the horizon in the past years dealing with the idea of "word-of-mouth" marketing. Among them are Seth Godin's books, including Unleashing The Ideavirus, Malcolm Gladwell's books including the The Tipping Point, and the Anatomy of Buzz by Emanuel Rosen.

The general theses of these works is that a new form of marketing and brand loyalty is forming apart from traditional mass marketing: word-of-mouth recommendations that have the potential to spread like wildfire and create intense loyalty.

Several years back Snapple literally took New York City by storm, but it all happened under the radar due to a clever word of mouth campaign. The idea is simple, get people excited about a product and help them spread the word using their own social networks. Network marketing is built upon the same principles.

I have long felt that the follower of Jesus has been encouraged by God to do much the same thing about the message of Christmas: God has come to humanity in the form of Jesus in order to give us a picture of and the power for life to the fullest. Word of mouth in this sense is called evangelism in the Bible. It simply means to spread the good news.

An evangelist is a sneezer, someone who spreads the ideavirus about Jesus into their social network. We really don't like the word evangelist because it has so many negative stereotypes. In the business sense one of the negative steroetype forms associated with evangelism is called shill marketing.

Shill marketing is where companies pay people to pretend that they're having a real conversation with you when you have no idea they're being paid. But that deception tags the brand.

You're interfering, trying to deceive, and people ask themselves, "How could they do that to me?" When people think that a Christ follower is only befriending them or talking to them in order to have a spiritual conversation, people feel used.

Jesus always encountered and accepted people where they were, but in his listening he created a pathway to share the most important news about the coming of the kingdom of God. The authenticity of Jesus Christ is our example in anything that we do by word-of-mouth, regardless of if it's a recommendation of a good movie or sharing what Jesus means to us.

I've often found it sad that Christ followers will use their social networks to sell products and make some money for themselves, but won't speak of the value of seeking God above all else with their friends. Let's change all of that and join Jesus in creating a real Bzzz this Christmas about what really matters in life.

He who has this disease called Jesus shall never be cured. Russian Proverb

See you Christmas Eve, 700 PM @ CoHo!

Romans 10:9-15
For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, "Anyone who believes in him will not be disappointed." Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They all have the same Lord, who generously gives his riches to all who ask for them. For "Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"


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