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What we can learn about Marketing from Jehovah’s Witnesses

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Now, before I get into this, I need to make a few things clear.

  1. I am not bashing anyone’s beliefs in this post other than their beliefs in the best way to communicate and market, which is what I have done with other companies in the past, like here and here.
  2. I not a great believer in organised religion, not just whatever Jehovah’s Witnesses believe, as I think the negatives out way the positives and the applications are not as relevant as they once were because we have developed a better understanding of the world around us through science. However, I do understand why people need religion even if I don’t subscribe to it myself.
  3. I may make assumptions about religious beliefs in this post based on my own understanding and personal experience.

It was Bank Holiday Monday here in the UK and I was enjoying my third lie in in as many days, such is my prerogative. There is a knock at my door. Now, you may think it was obvious who was going to be on the other side of it and therefore I should have just left it, however, I order a lot of stuff from eBay and in my head the only thing awaiting me was a delicious package of recently procured clothes.

So, I get out of bed, struggling with my dressing gown, open the door and I’m greeted with…

“We just want to give you some literature to read.”

Understanding how people treat your messages

This could have been conveniently posted through my door like all the other unwanted mail that I throw away, so I am going to give them a Marketing point for that. They have understood that most fliers that go through doors ultimately get discarded so to achieve a higher conversion rate or ensure your message is listened too you can’t just simply put the literature through the door.

This is similar to display marketing. Most people just zone it out now, so you  have to be more disruptive to be heard.

My response to the offer of literature?

No

Not a strong call to action

Their first line was not a strong enough call to action. If they had tried “Have this Apple Watch to play with” or “Read this and it will help with your focus so you can pursue and achieve all the ideas in your head” (this is one of my biggest problems at the moment, busy brain syndrome) or even just “Here are some ideas to smarten up your kitchen without having a whole new set of cupboards” I would have paused for a moment as these are all things that I need solving.

Nothing in that opening line suggested to me that they had anything I wanted. I have enough to read before they’ve added to the pile.

Know your audience

Where is the targeting? Who is most likely to be susceptible to this message? As I mentioned before, they were solving none of the problems I had above. In fact, they were most likely going to create a problem by making me question my current religious beliefs. Their effort is wasted somewhat by their scattergun approach to harassment…I mean Marketing.

There was no permission granted

However, before this, before I’d opened the door and been offered a leaflet, they had made the assumption that it is perfectly OK to knock on someone’s door, disturbing them in their free time and trying to change their belief system. It is not. I could put a sign up to say they are not welcome, but I don’t believe I should have to. There are very few ways, other than never answering my door, that I can opt-out of them knocking it.

So what can you learn?

  • Understand the best channel or best place to communicate with your audience.
  • Have a strong call to action.
  • Know your audience and target your messages accordingly.
  • Seek permission before intruding.

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