Church Marketing: ‘We’ve always done it that way’ is a bad answer

If you’re spending money, time or energy on a church marketing strategy, be ready to answer this important question:


If your answer is “We’ve always done it that way” then you have a lot of work to do.

Some churches and organizations have coasted for so long on autopilot that they truly cannot tell you why they do the things they do. Maybe there’s a good reason and they just don’t remember what it is — or it’s just a stinker of a tactic.

Example: A large church spends hundreds of dollars a year on multiple Christian magazine subscriptions for members of the congregation to take home and read. Ultimately, these magazines sit untouched on tables and in racks throughout the church. Nobody takes them. The dust on the covers indicates that nobody reads them. When asked about these, a church administrator answers something like: “We’ve been doing it for years, so I guess it just never changed” or “When the bill comes each year, we just pay it.” If the church took the time to count how many magazines they threw away each month, or assessed how many people actually picked one up, or simply pulled them from the tables to see how many people noticed their absence and asked for them, they’d be able to make an informed decision the next time the bill came due.

The above scenario is just one example of a bad church marketing practice. Things like this represent a lack of stewardship and a waste of resources. (Could that money be used for more effective ministries?)

Here are a few possible reasons churches allow bad church marketing practices to go on and on:

  • People are too afraid to challenge a tradition
  • The work has been transferred from one person to another over the years and its meaning has been lost
  • The staff is so busy with “newer and fresher” ideas that they can’t find time to double back and evaluate their existing, old and dusty tactics
  • There’s been no audit of church marketing strategies

Have you noticed that these bad practices only seem to get noticed when someone new enters the picture? A new pastor or a new administrative assistant? Possibly a new member of the congregation?

Sometimes it takes an outside person to come in and say, “What’s up with this?”

If the things you are doing are ineffective and aren’t advancing the goal of growing God’s Kingdom, then it’s time to stop, evaluate, and possibly move in another direction. It’s time to be serious about developing a strategic church marketing plan to meet the vision God has given your church.

Share an example of a church marketing strategy that continued way past its usefulness.


2014 is fast approaching. Be a good steward of your church marketing budget. Hands and Feet Marketing can provide an objective eye to your church marketing plans, strategies and tactics. Contact us today!

2 thoughts on “Church Marketing: ‘We’ve always done it that way’ is a bad answer

  1. Eric, your ideas are so well articulated and the points you make are always thought provoking. Every organization needs to be thinking of ways to evaluate the current M.O. while anticipating the future. I enjoy reading your posts!

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