Did you know that you can learn profoundly effective marketing secrets in God’s Word?
Consider the Parable of the Great Supper…
“A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’ But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’ Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’ And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.’ Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.’”Luke 14:16-24
Now I realize this is about God’s offer of salvation to the Jews first and then when they rejected the offer, it went out to the Gentiles. But I look for patterns, methods, strategies and tactics that God described or deployed that we can learn from and apply.
The parable of the Great Supper is a super condensed lesson in marketing.
First of all, the invitations to the offer went to what folks might think of as a “warm market”. They knew the master who was holding the banquet. But they had no felt need. Knowing someone and being their friend is not sufficient basis for doing business, as this parable clearly demonstrates. Even if you invite many, if they’re the wrong group, the wrong avatar, the number of invites doesn’t matter. You must define your avatar. Who needs and would want, what you have to offer?
The so called “warm list” gave three kinds of excuses. No doubt you’ve heard them before…
- Money committed elsewhere: My money is in another investment. I’m already committed to another program.
- Demands of work: I’d love to come, but I’ve got to work late. I’m working a lot these days. Super busy right now.
- Family issues: My wife is not really onboard with this. The wife needs me to take care of some things at home.
Now notice in this example, the master of the banquet doesn’t tell his sales reps to go back and convince them. He was just giving them the first right of refusal.
Now the real marketing begins.
He then tells his sales team to go quickly to the streets and lanes of the city. The fact that he told them to go quickly, implies urgency, which is always a vital part of marketing, when it’s legit.
But when you look at what was meant by the words “streets” and “lanes”, you will find that he was referring to the city square where people gather and to the crowded lanes. In marketing terms, where do your ideal prospects gather? What forums do they frequent? You’re not looking here for the outliers, but for the clusters of prospects.
What exactly do those clusters look like? The master then defines the target market and says in effect, ‘Look for these kind of people’…
- The poor: Don’t think they can afford it, but what you’re offering will change their status. Poverty is first of all a mindset, a belief system that keeps you enslaved. Any poor person could find $10,000 if the value they believed they were getting was sufficient. If you were selling one ounce gold coins (currently selling above $2,000 each) for $100 each, but you had to buy 100 ($10,000) to get any, would you find the money? You might not, but you certainly could if you really wanted to. These people might fall into the category known as “solution aware”. They know there must be a way to get ahead and they would love to find it. They are searching.
- The maimed: They have literally lost a limb, quite possibly in battle. These are folks who have suffered major loss. Perhaps bankruptcy, or lost their home or business, etc. These folks tend to have two traits… They may be skeptical due to previous losses, but they are (or were) risk takers and they are (or were) fighters. Give them a reason to take the risk this time. Alleviate their fears, destroy their false beliefs and give them something rock solid to buy into once again. Provide meaningful guarantees. These people know exactly what they’re missing (a limb) and they want to get that back. They could be classed as “product aware”. You market to these people by starting with your product. For example, I dropped my laptop on a tile floor, messing up my screen. It still works, but I’m going to replace it. Show me an ad for a new Macbook Pro and I’m ready to buy.
- The lame: These folks walk with a limp. They may even have been deprived of a foot. These people have their scars, and like Jacob, they walk with a limp. They have wrestled with man and with God. They haven’t gotten over their injury. They may also be skeptical and have limiting beliefs which you need to identify and resolve. These people may be classed as “problem aware” and you should lead off with acknowledging the problem and crystalizing it into a specific need that you can solve.
- The blind: People with sight but no vision. Mentally blind (false, limiting beliefs) No direction in life. Don’t know what they need, only that they do need something. They have this numbing awareness that something is missing. In one sense these folks are “unaware”. They have a general angst and need something that will jar them into opening their eyes and seeing what’s really possible. You will want to make a bold, (even outrageously bold) claim that gets them to rip off their blindfold and see.
The boss (master of the banquet) then tells his sales team to “bring them in”. This literally means to “LEAD THEM IN“. Make it EASY for your prospect to purchase. Consider incremental smaller sales that match their ability and confidence to do business with you. Then when they’ve experienced what you have to offer, they are ready to make a bigger commitment to your product or service.
But the general manager reported that there was still some unsold inventory. There was still availability to attend the event (banquet). So the master tells his sales team now to go to the highways and hedges…
- Highways: Unlike streets and lanes where people gather and linger, this is a highway where people are passing through. Think of this as interruption marketing. You see it all the time on Facebook. You go there to see what’s going on with friends and family and an ad pops up for something you weren’t presently looking for. (Note: The devices we use to access social media and the platforms themselves are far more advanced than most people know. But that’s a subject for a different blog post.)
- Hedges: “That which prevents two from coming together”. Hedges protect those inside and deter those outside. A hedge is used to create separation. This could be various clubs or online groups. They provide exclusivity. People who join these groups are looking for something. Market directly to these groups by joining them, speaking at their events, networking, etc. People who enter certain search terms are by definition defining what they are looking for and that automatically excludes everything else. That is a form of a hedge. Because people have entered certain search criteria, they have in effect given you permission to find them. This is permission marketing. Think Google or YouTube.
And lastly, the master tells his sales team, his advertising guy, his marketing team, to COMPEL THEM to come. This was no milquetoast close. It was strong and passionate, as it should be if you believe in what you’re offering. Use strong persuasion, entreaties, ethical bribes, etc. (An ethical bribe is an extra incentive you offer to sweeten the offer.)
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Until next time, Be fruitful and multiply!