By Dan Kennedy, Kumveka Executive Director. He’s guided dozens of ministries through marketing best practices.
What are the trends in marketing? How will they impact nonprofits? And how does being a Christian impact how we think about these trends?
The problem is, I don’t know—no one truly does. But as practitioners, our jobs are to understand, contextualize, and apply macro trends to our space. And the truth is, by the time you finish this sentence, everything just changed. Again. So what is arguably more important than the content of the future is how we respond.
Let’s use this framework to walk through this:
A. What THREE trends will most impact the future of marketing?
B. What TWO scriptures put these trends in perspective?
C. What ONE best practice in marketing will never change?
THREE Changing Trends in Marketing
Your life and mine—not to mention how we market our organizations—will forever be influenced by these trends. Each one can and should be explored deeply, but we’ll take a look at the highest level:
Big Data. Mind-blowing databases with greater scale (every day we create 2,500, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000 bytes of data—a size impossible to comprehend), scope (includes things like your credit card transactions from this morning to a medical test result from 10 years ago to a list of every website you ever visited to the last 3 countries your passport was scanned,) and immediacy (updated in real time). Great video here.
Artificial Intelligence. Mind-blowing application of all that Big Data. Closely related is “machine learning”—our tech is learning. It is literally getting smarter. Most of us have experienced this at a base level with Amazon or Netflix’s recommendations. But it’s entering our homes, cars, and restaurants (to name a few), often with us unaware. (See this video about AI in customer service calls.)
Mobile Tech. Mind-blowing pervasiveness of devices. According to Pew Research (2018), 95% of Americans own a cellphone of some kind and 77% own smartphones. See this video that unpacks this trend. All of this means that the outcome of Big Data processed through Artificial Intelligence can be truly “hand delivered” to you wherever you are. It feels inescapable.
For each of these, we must ask the questions: How can be this be used for good? How might it be used for evil? Let’s unpack those questions over coffee sometime…
TWO Unchanging Truths from Scripture
Countless verses point us back to an unchanging, powerful, and good God. Two that provide perspective in the shadow of the trends above:
On what stays the same…”Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8
On what changes… “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, ‘See, this is new? It has been already in the ages before us.’” Ecclesiastes 1:9-10.
ONE Unchanging Best Practice in Marketing
What other trends do you see? What other biblical truths help us filter these changes? What other best practices in marketing need to be called out?
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