Published in December 2006

Communicating With Church Leaders Conclusion
By David Lee Jr., PhD

Promoting your organization.

Editor’s Note: This is the conclusion of a five-part series. Part 1 appeared in April 2005, Part 2 in April 2006, Part 3 in May 2006 and Part 4 in September 2006. Beginning January 2007, David Lee will be authoring a new monthly department, “House of Worship: Business.”

    Systems integrators must promote their skills and services in order to win business. We have all engaged in promoting our skills and services through numerous communication mediums. For example, all of us have spoken with potential clients. Many have used colorful brochures and sophisticated video presentations to promote our skills and services with potential clients. The content used is very important. In fact, marketing firms spend a great deal of time selecting the appropriate communication medium, the appropriate words and the appropriate images to communicate a desired message to a specific target audience. So you ask, “What does this have to do with designing and/or selling AV equipment?”
    I say, nearly everything!
    Throughout this series, I have grounded my discussion in Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovations theory, which includes his perceived attributes theory, that five primary attributes explain the decision-making process that people experience, either knowingly or intuitively, during the persuasion stage of the adoption process: relative advantage, compatibility, complexity, trialability and observability.
    These attributes are a measuring stick of sorts that church leaders either knowingly or intuitively use to help them decide which systems integrator and which media technologies would best address the communication needs in their church setting. For example, the church leader will want to know the advantages your company has over another. Is the price of the technology compatible with his or her budget? Is the technology you recommend difficult to use? Can the products you recommend be test-driven (trialability)? Would the design or technologies you recommend provide desirable and observable results?
    Questions such as these have to be answered in order for a church leader to make a credible adoption decision. Ideally, this information comes from you in a face-to-face conversation, from client recommendations, from corporate and technical promotional materials found in brochures and video presentations, and on websites. Thus, the words and images you use in your promotional materials are important. And, they should be tailored for local church leaders.
    Let’s clarify this point. Each market sector has a unique audience. Images of guys and gals dressed in black leather, with wild hair and makeup, might be an approach toward selling gear to Ozzy fans, but these images would not be well received by church leaders. The best microphone, amplifier or line array most likely would not be adopted by a church leader due to the identification with Ozzy (who seems like a nice guy, but...).
    My example here is not meant to convey that if Ozzy uses Brand S microphone, that a church leader would not. Church leaders simply want to use products that are compatible in their local church setting and will yield positive, observable result. With that said, here are a couple of things to consider when packaging promotional materials for church leaders.
    • Develop your promotional package using language that is understood by church leaders. If you do not speak this language, hire a person who speaks technology and understands local church cultures. Example of church language could be, “We can help you select communication technologies that can enhance the worship experience in your church.”
    • Many of the audiovisual technology companies have created brochures and website pages that cater to the House of Worship sector. Take advantage of them.
    These suggestions are common-sense approaches to communicating with church leaders. Although they may seem trivial, I assure you that, if your promotional materials contain appropriate words and images that are tailored to the House of Worship sector, you will help church leaders better understand your company and the products you recommend and can help you thrive in this market.



David Lee Jr., PhD, is CEO of Lee Communication Inc., and a member of
Sound & Communications’ Technical Council. He travels worldwide consulting
with churches, organizations and governments. Send any comments to him at david@leecomm.tv.

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