For Missions / Applying Marketing of Pistachios to Digital Ministry

Applying Marketing of Pistachios to Digital Ministry

Justin Stowell is the Brand Manager for Cru and also oversees their website and social media. He enjoys obsessing over his UCF Knights, watching squirrels with his wife Mandi, and writing jokes on Twitter that have very narrow target audiences.

Wonderful Pistachios had a problem; how could they break into the snack-food industry when potato chip companies were spending millions more on their marketing? In digital ministry we have a similar problem; how can we use our limited resources to gain maximum exposure to the Gospel? Put another way, how can you use a $200 budget to start a ministry?

Marc Seguin, VP of Marketing for Wonderful Pistachios, set out a plan for how they could get maximum impact out of a smaller, more measured approach:

Identify a simple truth about who you are and what you do

As a snack, what did pistachios have that no one else did? What was their unique selling perspective that made them stand out in an over saturated snack market? They found the interactive, fun process of cracking open a pistachio was unique to their product. What is your ministry doing or providing that sets you apart? If you could tell people one truth about your strategy, what is it?

Amplify that truth through an integrated campaign

If Wonderful Pistachios couldn’t afford a year-round marketing campaign, what would it look like to deploy all of their efforts on one high-impact, cross-channel pitch? They had their “simple truth”, now it was time to expose that truth in one strategic snacking burst; during the Super Bowl. According to Seguin, “If you can’t outspend the competitors, be louder than them in one strategic moment”. By allocating their entire budget towards one messaging burst across all platforms (social, TV, in-stores) they were able to gain maximum exposure to their brand rather than low exposure over the course of a year.

Be prepared to own the moment

When Wonderful Pistachio’s commercial finally played, their team was ready to guide the conversation on social media using hashtags, responding to everyone who commented, and consistently communicating their truth to these new fans. Oh, and of course they made sure there were plenty of Wonderful Pistachios waiting for them in their nearby store. The result was a buzz that lasted well beyond their budget.

In digital ministry, your budget may be low but the principles of good marketing still apply. Find a simple, easy to understand truth about what you want to accomplish, identify the most strategic time and place to use your budget to convey that truth, and then be ready to “own the moment”.