Wisdom Wednesdays: Marketing and Dragons – What’s Inside?

by Blake Tilley

My wife and I recently decided that our 700-square-foot house was just too small for our two boys and us.  I think my wife got tired of waiting in line for the bathroom.  The good thing about putting our tiny bungalow up for sale was de-cluttering meant the removal of a single lamp.

So now that the for-sale sign is in the front yard, we sit and wait … or do we?  Selling anything is tricky business.  There’s cost, value, quality, location (or convenience) and timing.  Will we sell our house because enough people move through it (law of average), or will time eventually, and hopefully, bring in the right buyer?  But what about impulsiveness?

Tilley-DragonMy son had a great idea to attract prospective buyers.  He’s into dinosaurs, sharks, cheetahs and dragons.  What if Dad and he put a big dragon on the driveway to convince prospects that this was obviously the coolest, and therefore best, house they could possibly ever want?  Sounded like good logic to me, so we did it.

Each year thousands of pieces of direct mail are sent across the nation in hopes that someone will support the mission.  While it’s not exactly selling, someone making a gift has the expectation of service to the mission.

Loyal donors recognize direct mail sent from their favorite ministry, they know the mission and support its service, nothing impulsive there.  Prospects, on the other hand, may need a little help opening that envelope.  Give them a reason to look inside!

Tilley-BlakeThe next time you conduct a direct mail campaign with prospect segments, experiment with a different envelope for just the prospects.  See if they are the ones who grab candy bars and batteries at the check out (or buy a house because of the cool dragon out front).

Don’t forget about the story!  That’s what compels people to give, and that’s what will convert your prospects to regular donors.  Start building that relationship.

My wife says that despite the dragon, the house still needs regular cleaning, grass cutting and aroma candles burning. Like the story in the envelope, it’s what is inside that truly counts!

Blake M. Tilley is the Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications with the LCMS Foundation.


2 thoughts on “Wisdom Wednesdays: Marketing and Dragons – What’s Inside?

  1. Blake, this is a great message. Thank you, it has brightened my morning. One of our major donors, 94 yrs old, just went into hospital rehab for the 3rd time. Your words help me to get out of the office and visit here asap!! Bob Kuehner, LFSRM, Colorado

  2. Blake: Good point. It’s about our story and their story/belief system. When the two align, then the connection occurs, the relationship starts, the story can be enhanced and the commitment occurs. Tim Probst WELS Kingdom Workers, Milwaukee and worldwide.

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