Happy New Year!

No, I’m not a month ahead.  This week’s Marketing Matter focuses on “thinking differently,” and comes from combining thoughts from three different sources I encountered this past weekend.

#1) Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent, the beginning of the new liturgical year.  From “The Little Blue Book” for the Advent and Christmas seasons, the thought for the day began with an illustration of how we try to outdo what we did last year in preparing for Christmas…a bigger surprise gift, a more stunning light display…it’s our culture’s tendency to want to experience “the next big thing.”  For this year, the “Little Blue Book” suggests rather than “bigger,” this year, we should think “different.”  Thinking this way is “head” work – and requires taking time to do so.  Taking time to prepare, and think differently.  That’s what Advent’s all about.

#2) I was listening to a radio program that features music and lessons from a local Presbyterian church.  The pastor’s sermon focused on the preparations we make to celebrate Christmas, and how they’re presented by today’s media – the matching sweaters standing around the piano singing Christmas carols; the perfectly wrapped presents surrounding the stately Christmas tree; the sumptuous meal featuring the golden-brown turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, and “all the fixin’s;” no one’s arguing, no one’s drunk, no one cries.   All is calm – all is stress-free.  But that’s not who experiences the Incarnation of Our Savior.  Those who are “relaxing at home” miss the miracle – the ones who experience it are the ones who are incredibly stressed – Joseph, who not only can’t find a room for his wife who is about to have a baby, but has come back to his hometown to pay his taxes; the Magi, who got lost along the way (and remember, these were “Wise” men); and shepherds, who were considered the lowest of the low because of their rural livelihood among smelly sheep in a world that was becoming more and more “urban-centered.”  Think of how you’d feel if some guy brought his animals to feed on your front lawn.

#3) Some of my musician friends were chatting about how they’ve been feeling lately.  When musicians are in a rut (regarding playing techniques, writing songs, improvising, etc.), the suggestion is made to go to “the other extreme.”  For instance, if a guitarist is playing only hard rock and heavy metal, musical patterns tend to repeat themselves, creating the rut they need to crawl out of.  The guitarist might listen to classical music in order to generate new ideas, and therefore, new knowledge, by combining the tradition and the trend, landing somewhere in the middle. The more extremes visited, the more different neurons in the brain are used, and more and different ideas are created.

This may be the time to try a different marketing technique for your school.  Recall that Einstein is credited with saying that doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.  If you’ve done direct mail pieces, perhaps take a Sunday morning and have representatives stand outside the your supporting church or churches with information about your school…paying particular attention to those with infants and toddlers.  In these days of preparing for the infant Jesus to come to us, perhaps we should prepare our infants to come to our schools as well.

Speaking of infants, 24 days until the infant Jesus comes to us…

© Michael V. Ziemski, SchoolAdvancement, 2009-2014 (Original Publication Date: 20041130)