Have you ever been to church and you were sitting in the pew listening to the preacher. He’s up there reading from the bible and then he makes a statement like, “I see you sitting there. Struggling with a decision. Trying to understand what God wants you to do. Which direction should you go.” And you look around and think, “OMG he’s talking about me! How did he know I am trying to decide whether to take on this new client or not?”.
This phenomenon happens literally thousands of times every Sunday in every church across the globe. I call it the Preacher effect. The fact of the matter is, we’re all dealing with something and depending on how the Preacher phrases his sermon, it’s not hard for you to internalize his message. It does’t work 100% of the time, but it does work more times than not.
What is the Preacher Effect?
So what is the Preacher effect, exactly? Essentially, it is when you make a statement that resonates so well with someone they think your message was meant specifically for them. Now don’t misunderstand me. I am a Christian and I do believe that there are times when God is trying to tell you something, cue up Shug from the Color Purple. But today, I’m talking secular. I’m talking about the fact that, we as humans are prone to internalizing things.
How Internalization Works
We think about buying a new Honda, and next thing we know we only see Honda commercials on television. Does that mean we should buy a Honda? We break up with our boyfriend, and the only song that’s ever on the radio is “our song”. Does that mean we should go back to our ex? We contemplate moving to a different state and find out our best friend’s cousin just moved there. Is that a sign we should make the move? See, we do love to internalize.
I believe this internalization is part of the “it’s all about me” society we’ve created for ourselves here on earth. The Preacher Effect, in a nut shells, says when the Preacher gets to preaching, his message is going to resonate on a personal level with a percentage of his listeners. And depending on how common he makes the message, it will resonate with an even larger percentage.
How Can the Preacher Effect be Used in Marketing?
The key to the Preacher Effect is not just the common-ness of the problem for which he is providing a solution. But how he delivers the problem statement. The Preachers always say things like, “there’s someone in the room who” or “the spirit is telling me someone is struggling with”. The Preacher is working the room around common issues that are normally faced by all, but shaping his statements as though he is speaking to only one — you!
So how can the Preacher Effect be used in marketing? Easy, you find the common problem that your target market is having and tell them that you are here to solve their specific problem. If your target market is moms of toddlers. Your marketing message should speak to the struggles they have with their children’s learning or finding time for themselves or preparing their toddlers for a new baby entering the house.
You can get that, “who me” response if you say something like, “so you’re struggling to find time for yourself between playtime, story time, and nap time. I understand your struggle and I’ve cracked the code.” Immediately, all the moms who have thought this to themselves a million times over the last 24 hours are going to stop everything they’re doing to hear what you have to say.
Getting people’s initial attention is all you need to do, if you have a good follow up message. I’ll talk about the follow up message in another post. For now, work on your Preacher Effect message.
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