Archive for December 2009

The Growth Strategy of a Church

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At one point in history someone figured out that if you customize a product or a service for a certain group of people it works better. Demographic segmentation was born.

Malls have kids stores, women’s stores and shoe stores.  Television has old movies, rated R movies, and kids shows. Restaurant’s have a kids and seniors menu.

I have had a problem for the past couple of years; I would like to see Church gain popularity towards the younger generation (13-25 year-olds), sadly I believe the opposite is true. It’s not just “society’s” fault, I think the Church could be doing a better job.

Church doesn’t customize very well, sure there’s a daycare and Sunday school but a congregation is usually made-up of people anywhere from the age of 12 or 13 all the way to 80 or 90 years old.  Is there any other time in our lives that people 70 years apart in age can truthfully find meaning in the same message?  Possibly some movies or spectacular entertainment productions but for every other part of our lives, organizations have improved their service to cater to certain people.

The answer I receive when I mention my argument is always; “the Church shouldn’t have to cater to you, you should just like it.”  I believe it’s that attitude that turns our generation away.
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We’re Not Dumb Anymore

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The Flynn effect states that since the 20th century, IQ test scores on average increase by 3 points every decade.  A person taking an IQ test in 1930, scoring in the average, would be considered mentally handicap compared to today’s IQ standards.  As civilization progresses, so does our average intelligence level.  When the knowledge base increases across the board, strange things begin happening. We get smarter.

Something I’ve noticed as of late is that pyramid schemes as business models are still around.  In the past month, two friends have been invited to “recruitment” seminars, which I am proud to say they both, within minutes discovered the pyramid business model and left in disgust.

Now the proper term is “multi-level marketing” (MLM) but it’s the same theme, you make commissions on your sales and on the sales of the people you’ve recruited as sales people.  You can already begin to see the problem.  If I’m selling, then I get you to sell, we are now competing for future sales.  Doesn’t make sense does it.  Not anymore, but it did for a very long time.  What surprises me more is that their is actually a list of companies still around using this as a business model.
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Re-Thinking Your Music Career

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I’ve been to a few local live bands that I can say have amazing talent.  You know the local ones that you’re positive they will go somewhere with their career?  But then comes the hard part. How do you get to the next level?  How do you consistently get paid for playing music? You must re-think your industry.

When you ask the majority of up and coming artists they reply, “oh we have a CD coming out soon, I sure hope you’ll buy it!”  I want to be supportive but I also want to be realistic.  I haven’t purchased a CD IN TEN YEARS!  Why are they still making CD’s?  I know there are exceptions to the rule and some CD’s still sell but have they ever thought about researching their own market before?  Ever tried to understand how others in their situation have grown their own music business? I can guarantee you it did not happen by selling CD’s.

In Chris Anderson’s book Free: The Future of a Radical New Price it explains that if the price to duplicate something is relatively free (as in a music file) then eventually it will be free. Young musicians needs to understand this and adapt accordingly.
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My Top 10 Podcasts

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My friend Colter (@Codaclothing) asked a bunch of us to submit our favorite albums of 2009 to put up on his website.  Knowing that the song from the Amazon Kindle commercial or Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance will probably be vying for top spot so I thought I’d take a different approach.

Below are my top 10 Free Podcast’s with links to get them in your iTunes.  Enjoy!

  1. Malcolm Gladwell on Spaghetti Sauce – One of the best story tellers and authors of our day, this talk is almost six years old and still applies today.
  2. Seth Godin on Standing Out – an oldie but a classic, Seth is one of the foremost minds in marketing today having authored eleven books and is a captivating presenter.
  3. Stochasticity – “A wonderfully slippery and smarty-pants word for randomness.” This is the explanation on the site of what Stochasticity means.  Very interesting podcast that you’re sure to find some tidbits to chat about around the water cooler.
  4. Dan Pink on the Surprising Science of Motivation – From the famous Ted conference this talk will change your mind on how to motivate people in the work place.  The surprising part is I think most people actually think the opposite of what research shows us.

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The Complaining Generation

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Recently I have been asking a lot of people how they like their job and it didn’t surprise me that the vast majority said they were unsatisfied.  The more I asked, poked and prodded about their career, the more positive it became.  Then it dawned on me, sure there are some better careers than others, but our generation enjoys complaining.  Let me explain.

If you have what most people would call a “boring” job (accounting, office job, the majority of the crown corporations) you probably have great security and make an above average wage.  You complain about how board you are at work because they block you from using Facebook and Twitter but your paid four weeks of holidays and have “earned days off” so it’s worth it for now.

If you have what most people would call an “amazing” job (entrepreneur, creative director, manager at a small company) you probably have great flexibility and actually enjoy the majority of the work.  You complain about how you’re underpaid and how it must be nice to collect a check every two weeks.  You struggle but your passionate and an office job just isn’t your style.

So why must we always complain?  
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Why Are You Buying That?

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In some industry’s I would argue brand loyalty does not exist for the vast majority of people. For these products price is the main reason of choice. In the grocery store I have too many options in front of me, so like any other confused male in their twenty’s in a grocery store, I begin to compare prices and inevitably many of my choices are dictated on which is the cheapest. But a product can look good enough that you will pay a premium just because you perceive it to have more value (this happens a lot).  Many products in the grocery store are sold because of implied value, which creates brand loyalty. Marketing has aided this effort for years, making products seem better than they actually are, just so people would buy.

Alright so you buy Kraft over the no name salad dressing, and you buy Bicks because No Name pickles taste funny (when in fact they taste fine).  Marketing has done a great job building trusted brands for us but I don’t agree with buying a name brand products just so a multi-national company can keep marketing it.  Presidents Choice Cola tastes strikingly similar to Coke Cola but you don’t want to be known as the guy who buys PC brand Cola do you?  
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