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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

How to Market Your Products Biblically and Successfully

By Steve Kroening

For years, I struggled to find a Biblical view of marketing. It seemed like all the marketing out there did only one thing -- brag. Companies regularly brag about how great their products are. In our culture, this is an accepted practice. But, as a Christian, I was uncomfortable bragging about anything I did or sold.

Then I discovered that there's a good reason I was uncomfortable with the marketing. And it wasn't just because of the bragging. It's because there was something fundamentally wrong with that type of marketing.

You see, when a company brags about its products, the focus is on the company and/or its products. Most business people would say, "Yeah, that's what I'm trying to sell. So why not focus on the product?" The reason is simple -- and it's also a primary reason why so many marketing ventures don't work.

When you focus on your product or service, you talk about the features of your product. You might talk about why your product is better than someone else's. And you might even describe all the details of your product.

But the Scriptures tell us not to focus on ourselves. They tell us to serve others and consider them more important than ourselves (Phil. 2:3-4). Now you can see why I had such a hard time with marketing for so long. It's tough to follow Scripture and brag about yourself.

Fortunately, God knows more about marketing than I ever will. It turns out that God's principle of considering others more important than yourself is a great marketing principle as well.

Here's how it works: Instead of focusing on the features of your product, marketing needs to tell the customer what benefits the product has to offer. In other words, marketing should show a potential customer how your product can make their life better.

Some might argue that telling all about the features of your product does show how it benefits the customer. But that's true only when the connection between the features and the benefit are obvious or already known by the customer. For instance, car salesmen regularly focus on features because just about everyone knows how those features translate into benefits. If he tells you a car has a 350 horsepower engine, you know it's strong enough to tow a boat or to go really fast (depending on the vehicle).

But if you're a plumber and you want to sell someone a new type of water heater, then selling features isn't going to cut it. You've got to explain why this new model, which costs $200 more than the competition, is going to benefit the customer far better the other brand. You could say your unit heats water twice as fast and uses one-third the gas. Those are features. A better way to sell it is to say, "You'll never run out of hot water again and you'll cut your gas bill by two-thirds. In fact, this unit will pay for itself in the first year."

When I figured out this perspective on marketing, I realized that marketing isn't about bragging. It's about serving.

If I truly believe my product will serve people better than someone else's product, telling them how it does so greatly benefits them. I might tell them about some of the features along the way, but always in context of how they benefit the user. And what you'll find in the end is far better sales results.

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Steve Kroening writes for Success magazine and also publishes Wisdom's Edge. You can get Biblical tips on health, finance, relationships, parenting, and success, delivered to your email inbox every week. Simply visit and sign up for this free e-zine.