Buzz marketing is all the rage. Everybody is talking about how to create buzz.
Earlier this year we got buzzed at GCC. Our PureSex message series got so much buzz and media attention, we're still answering questions about it today. The series was back in February and people are still talking about it. A lot of fun.
But, I'm not going to talk about the advertising we did, the results or the media. [Go to www.mylamesexlife.com if you want any of that stuff.] I'm going to answer the question nobody's asking (but should). What did we do with the buzz once we got it?
I think it's a big landmine if people don't have a plan for what to do when the buzz comes. Things get all sideways before they realize it and then they start feeding the frenzy around them and lose sight of what they came to do in the first place. It's dangerous for anyone, especially the church.
I'll admit it threw me off when we started getting calls from the national media. My mind automatically short circuited into figuring out ways to positively manipulate a new message with an expanded platform. But before people like me could do any damage, our leaders pointed us back to the original objective. They reminded the entire staff that nothing was changing, regardless of the platform. Here's what they told us over and over:
"This is not new for us. We are just doing what we do every day. People matter to God. We're just loving people one at a time. Don’t freak out about the media. Reporters are just people. And, people matter to God."
Even with a lot of buzz, communication isn't complicated. The old rule still applies...less is more.
Background: Our primary objective wasn’t to create buzz; it was to promote a series about sex to people who don’t go to church. How can you make God's truth appealing to people who are immersed in a culture that lies about everything, especially sex? So, we brainstormed and came up with a few ideas that people don’t expect from a church. Maybe they'd be curious enough to at least come check it out.
[But, really, between you and me...we didn't come up with anything that shakes the core of culture. I still can't believe it got the media attention it did. A church talks about sex and puts bare feet on a billboard...Quick! Call Fox News in NYC. I still don't get it. Anyway, back to the story.]
Efforts: We anticipated a little buzz and we prepared for it. We had a packet ready for the media. Beyond that, none of our efforts served the buzz. All of our efforts stayed focused on serving the people who aren't hearing the truth from anywhere or anyone.
Response: Our message stayed the same. "You matter to God." It never changed to be about the billboards. Or the mylamesexlife.com web site. Or the sex. It was started and stayed "You matter to God." When Mark Beeson was interviewed by local news anchors, and Mancow and FoxNews, the message stayed the same "People matter to God." Plain and simple.