Liar liar…don’t get caught in this marketing mire…

Marketing, marketing, marketing!  New business owners often get bombarded with the need for, the benefits of and the consequences of not having a marketing plan and schedule.  The challenge lies in the fact that for the Christian business owner,  marketing can be a mine field of misleading advice.  As Christians we are held to a different standard of business and cannot simply follow what everyone else is doing without practicing discernment.  Our marketing must be in line with scriptural truths as to not deceive and manipulate our clients and we must be extremely careful not to bastardize scripture to serve our own selfish ambitions.

Allow me to provide a closer look into some of the prevalent marketing tactics I have observed in the marketplace as well as offer you guidance on how you can evaluate your marketing efforts from a Christian perspective.  Most certainly if you currently subscribe to any of the below practices, you will want to prayerfully reconsider your approach.  I personally pray that this article will not only strengthen your discernment as a business owner but also as a consumer and that you will put your trust in God’s provision for your needs rather than popular smoke and mirror tactics.

Tactic #1 – Creating a false appearance of increase
I recently read a testimonial from a well-known marketing coach that claimed her client had achieved a revenue increase of 400% in mere weeks!  While this may not be a complete lie, consider what may be omitted from this type of statement.  If you only brought in $100/month in revenue to begin with, a 400% increase in revenue will hardly make you rich.  (Psalm 101:7)

Tactic #2 – Promoting unrealistic expectations
In this scenario, the client is told that if they purchase a certain product or service they will be part of the elite 5% of businesses that go on to hit the million dollar revenue mark, regardless of the individual’s ability to run a business.  Do the math–  this statistic represents 1 out of every 20 entrepreneurs!  If you start with this expectation in mind, you are certain to be disappointed and the only people who will profit and become millionaires are the ones trying to feed you this lie.  (Colossians 2:8)

Tactic #3 – Making money for God
There is a teaching I came across recently that asserts that the more money we make, the better we can serve the Lord’s cause.  This is a prideful assumption as it implies that God somehow needs our man-made resources to fulfill His agenda.  God did not tell us to “go make money”, He told us to “go make disciples”.  Your ability to minister to others is not dependent on your pocket book – rather His call on us is to “…seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and he will give us everything we need…” (Matt. 6:33).  Yes, of course it takes money to do certain things in the world, but if we start putting our trust in the creation rather than the creator as our source of supply, we are heading for big, big trouble.  (Romans 1:25)

Tactic #4 – Preying on people’s fears or unhappiness
I frequently hear experts suggest that we need to exploit our prospects’ pain, fears and dissatisfaction in order to compel them to take action and buy our products or services.  What a shameful, unbiblical practice!  We are to encourage others in putting their trust in the Lord, not exploit them in their destitution for the sake of our own gain.  (Proverbs 29:25)

Tactic #5 – Offering the false promise of an easy life
Almost daily I get emails from coaches and network marketers promising me a short work day accompanied by a big paycheck.  While you will enjoy far more liberty and flexibility as an entrepreneur, no business can be established and maintained without hard work.  As a small business owner, you will hold the primary accountability for the rise or fall of your enterprise even if you outsource many of your operational processes. Stop buying into this false promise and let go of the idea that you will be snoozing in a hammock at the beach while money magically streams into your bank account.  (Proverbs 28:19-20)

Tactic #6 The well-guarded secret
We all love to be in the know and we hate to miss out on anything that gives the appearance that it could potentially make others more successful than we are.  The bible however tells us there is nothing truly new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9).  If you do some research, you will find that there are a multitude of other so-called experts who claim to have the exact same secrets…so how much of a secret is it really?

Tactic #7 – The mind trip
I cannot tell you how many times people have tried to convince me that I need a “money mindset” makeover.  Apparently if you are not interested in building an empire, own three cars and live in a mansion, you are somehow mentally inferior and need to be brainwashed to “think bigger”.  People have even been tempted into incurring debt as an up-front investment under the guise of “acting as if you were already wealthy”.  Has it ever occurred to these experts that perhaps for some of us living simply is a conscious choice?  I want to make sure I am not misunderstood on this point – I have no issue with making money and my business earns a handsome revenue but our earthly desires must never trump our desire to fulfill His will.  (Hebrews 13:5)

Some of you can perhaps think of many more examples to add to my list.  Others may defiantly claim that it’s persuasion not manipulation when they approach their clients using the tactics listed above.  Many are led astray these days by subtle compromises that ultimately lead to spiritual death and away from Christ.  A.W. Tozer once said:  “Christianity is so entangled with the world that millions never guess how radically they have missed the New Testament pattern.  Compromise is everywhere. The world is whitewashed just enough to pass inspection by blind men posing as believers…” (1 Timothy 4:1).  We must view all inbound and outbound marketing messages through the lens of scripture if we truly want to set ourselves apart as Christian entrepreneurs.

The bottom line is:  if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!  We must stay awake and aware of what goes on around us and not forget whose agenda we ultimately serve.  Yes, it is a blessing to enjoy nice things and live in comfort, but when did “getting rich” become the ultimate goal for the Christian entrepreneur?  If Jesus called us home tonight, what value would our earthly goods have?  Our primary focus should always be pointing others to Jesus and equip them to fulfill their part in God’s plan, not to help them store up more earthly treasures.

As a guideline for all your marketing efforts ask yourself the following questions:

  • Would you be able to ask God to bless your marketing approach?
  • Is your marketing message based on scriptural truth?
  • Is your marketing leading others to stumble financially, physically, relationally or spiritually?
  • Is your marketing based on the power of human suggestion or God’s promises?
  • Is your marketing urging your clients to “act now” rather than heed God’s timing?
  • In your marketing efforts, who gets the glory for the results?
  • In whom or what are you suggesting your clients put their trust?

If you’d like to learn more about how to develop a marketing plan that is commensurate with your values as a Christian entrepreneur or how to get started with your kingdom business, grab a spot on my calendar  today for a complimentary 30 minute strategy session with me.

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