Updated: Oct 14, 2020
If you’re reading this article, there’s a strong chance your instant reaction to the title was one of disbelief. Both Christianity and Marketing get a bad rap nowadays, so unless you hate both and therefore think they deserve each other because of it, you probably don’t see the connection between the two. But there is one, and when you see it, you’ll realize that if you’re looking to hire a marketer, hiring a Christian is your best option.
Let’s start with the least controversial part: Marketing.
We must first clear up the misconception that marketing is advertising or sales.
Marketing is not advertising. Marketing is about communication and building relationships. Marketing can USE advertising to help build awareness or to alert people about special offers. But advertising is just a part of the marketing whole.
Marketing is not sales. Marketing helps sales function – it brings in leads that sales can then close. But while sales benefits from marketing and while the need for sales is inherent in the reason for marketing, they are not the same. (Note: If either your marketing or your sales involves lying to try to make money, you're setting yourself up to fail at some point in the future.)
Marketing is bigger than advertising and it’s bigger than sales. It’s displaying the character of your business: your mission, your reason for being in business in the first place. It’s the heart of what your business should be.
Your business should have a why somewhere. Why did you start it? What was your goal. If you make widgets, why did you start up your particular widget company? There’s a purpose somewhere. That purpose is your point of differentiation. It’s why people should care about and want to do business with you. Your marketing should be communicating this why at every touchpoint. In advertising. In interpersonal relations. In community outreach. In sales.
Marketing is NOT just shilling for dollars. It’s being your unabashed, truest self. It’s finding people who share your values and building mutually beneficial relationships with them. When done right, marketing is why people SHOULD trust your company. Period. If your marketing is focusing on anything less than this, your marketing is not “real” marketing. It’s sales or advertising.
Now on to Christianity.
This one is more difficult. Like marketing, there are misconceptions about what Christianity is. But people don’t usually invest emotion into their viewpoint on marketing. They do for Christianity.
For this point, I have to point out a particular Bible verse that more people need to be aware of: Matthew 7:21-23
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”
In this verse, Jesus Himself is stating what everyone needs to know: that there are many who claim to be Christians, but not all are. To be a Christian, one must follow in Christ’s footsteps and follow the commands of God.
Too many people I know point to people who claim to be Christians that take a holier-than-thou attitude, or who display continual hypocrisy, and view that as what Christianity is. But Biblically, we know that this is not the case. Those who proclaim their Christianity pompously are probably not.
After all, we must keep in mind the whole chapter of Matthew 7:
Verses 1-5: “Do not judge or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Verse 12: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
Verses 15-20: “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”
THIS is how can those who are not Christians can know who is and isn’t a Christian. Christians look at their own flaws rather than pointing out the flaws in others. They work to improve themselves first. They treat others the way they would like to be treated. They act in kindness, they work hard at work worth doing.
Or, as it says in John 13:34-35, Christians are to love one another as Christ loved us – and that others will know us by the love that we have for each other.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.” -1 Corinthians 13:1
When we keep this in mind, we can see that too many people who claim to be Christians do not live up to the description. So, the key is in humbly understanding that we fail every day. Every day. As Christians, we NEED our relationship with Christ, because we know we will never be able to achieve these stated goals for our behavior without that relationship.
And now, we see that marketing and Christianity have so much in common.
In both Christianity and in marketing, we need to build relationships. We have to focus on what makes us who we are. We have to seek what benefits others, not just ourselves. We have to treat others as we would have them treat us.
In both Christianity and in marketing, our success will be based on the love we have for one another: love that does not delight in evil, but rejoices with truth. In both Christianity and marketing, there is a never-ending goal of trying to help others by sharing the benefits of what we know and who we are.
Christians and marketers know that we don’t always succeed. But we also know that should never stop us from striving for these goals. And that the benefits are always worth it.
And this is why, Christianity and marketing are a match made in heaven.