Marketing Jesus on the Quad

February 22, 2012 — 5 Comments

“P&G To Lay Off 1,600 After Discovering It’s Free To Advertise On Facebook”headline last week

The new age of marketing is great news for college ministry.

Two reasons:

  • Advertising is almost completely free
  • It’s highly dependent on peer relationships

Every year we spend less and less on traditional advertising.

When I first came on staff with Cru we would spend hundreds of dollars on a single ad in the School Newspaper. Even as recently as 3 years ago we invested thousands on yard signs, facebook ads, and posters around campus.

Now we almost exclusively do free “advertising” on Facebook and peer-to-peer word of mouth.

This graphic does a great job summarizing this new era of Horizontal Marketing. It’s well worth clicking to read the full infographic (graphic via @mcryanmac who tweeted “This has very interesting implications for how evangelism on campus moves forward”).

“Horizonal marketing means creating a remarkable product and story and setting it up to spread from person to person.” – Seth Godin


I want to take a few posts and figure out together what this new era of marketing looks like in College Ministry.


Here’s where we’re headed in the next few posts:

1) What are we marketing?

  • Cru (or church or whatever Christian group)
  • or Jesus

2) Applying Horizontal Marketing to College Ministry

  • Using social media for marketing
  • Peer to peer marketing
    • How can we make it easier for students to talk about what they’re up to and what they care about?


Let’s get the ball rolling:

What are some implications you see of how we apply Horizontal Marketing in college ministry?


Posts Twitter

P.S. - I'd love to connect with you on Twitter: here
  • Scott Allen

    Tim, I’m very interested to read your next few posts. We’ve spent some time on this as a staff team over the last 12 months but we are a long way from figuring out how to take advantage of horizontal marketing.

    • Anonymous

      I’d love to hear what y’all have figured out or been talking about. Any breakthroughs?

  • This change in culture for me ushers in a greater need for training in natural/relational evangelism. (I think you’ll have posts going there it sounds Tim).

    Just as I am reluctant to open the door to vacuum salespersons that come to my door, so that may be how many see us as we approach them. If I want a new vacuum, I am going to go online, check out reviews & prices, and maybe ask friends about their vacuums. Or, if I hear a good trusted friend telling me how great a vacuum is, I will give what they say great weight in my searching for a new vacuum.

    I think this means everything (ok, maybe that’s an overstatement) for how we do evangelism today on campus. What does it mean to raise up students who can do evangelism in a “customers come to you” culture?

    Keith Davey & Mark Gauthier, in a CSU seminar on evangelism last year said that natural mode evangelism is a greatest need for moving forward in EV in Cru. I think this Horizontal Marketing trend gives even more weight to that.

    • Anonymous

      Great thoughts!
      I agree. Relational Evangelism is everything.

      I’m just using my blog to verbally process because I think we need to figure this out – how do we make it easy for students to talk about what they’re passionate about? I’m coming with very little to the table in hope that the wisdom of the crowd figures this one out!

  • Pingback: What are We Marketing- Jesus or Cru? | Leading in Ministry()