Here’s the abstract version of the US Report
Finally rounding myself into shape in terms of redeveloping my website, I’ve decided to develop a few infographics. I have an entire set of releases, but for now, I’ll start off simple. Just a little showing of where the Church is prevalent and where it is not.
101 or more congregations
1 – 100 congregations
Okay, I’ve finally got around to putting together an infographic on the Church of Christ in the United States of America. As I continue with my independent study, I’ll post more graphics and finally, my reports by the end of
2001 – 3000 congregations
1001 – 2000 congregations
501 – 1000 congregations
301 – 500 congregations
201 – 300 congregations
101 – 200 congregations
1 – 100 congregations
I was going through the forums at AcaNetwork [Great network, email me to get in], and a topic piqued my interest. There was/is a discussion centering around whether there could ever be a millionaire artist originating in the church of Christ. Well, my first thought was of course, what about Brandy? Okay, seriously, my thought was, there is always that possibility, and then, my immediate thought led me to research [that’s just what we do here].
Well, first a quick lesson in Marketing:
The first thing you’re taught in business school, or even high school marketing classes for that matter is the Marketing Mix; Product, Price, Place & Promotion. Now, for the purposes of this article, we’re going to just assume that all things are equal here, that being, the artist is of magnificent quality, that the overall market can bare another music artist, and that there is indeed an audience for said artist.
I previously brought up the idea of the Marketing Mix because there is an inherent lacking in one area that would prohibit the millionaire artist idea; Place. Place, that is, the proper distribution channels necessary to accommodate demand for the product being offered. Once a clear barrier for any artist outside of the industry model, now not so much. But, once again, for the purposes of this posting, I’ll assume that this could be worked out.
So, you want to be a millionaire Christian acappella music artist? Well, let’s play with some semantic ideals first. Let’s assume:
There are so many that assume that the road to a million dollars is going to come by selling a million albums. Not Gonna Happen. The reality is that the road to building a million is going to begin with an immaculately planned strategic ground game, meaning, there is going to have to be, somewhere in your organization, an immensely talented marketing strategist working in the background along with a worldclass support team.
Alright, let’s get to it.
More realistic is thinking plan first. There are fifty states in the continental United states, but we’re only going to work with 40 of them. Any 40, you pick. Now, in each state we’re going to concentrate on selling 1000 albums which is going to give us a total sold of 40,000 albums sold. Now, if we look at the going rate in the church of Christ of $15.00, the, let’s look at the numbers:
40,000 albums sold x $15.00 = $600,000.00
Well, we’re already 60% of the way there. This is all assuming that you hit your maximum amount sold in every state. In every state you would have had to have sold 1000 cd’s.
$1,000,000 – $600,000= $400,000 remaining
Now, this is where the real work begins. Remember, we’re looking to build this million with this one album campaign, so, we need to create supplemental income around the album. The most likely route is the touring route. The idea here is to be proactive and plan the concerts yourself, controlling the gate and setting your own revenue model.
For this model, we’ll suppose that, of the 1000 in each state who purchased the album, around 56% end up attending the concert.
1000 x 55.56% = 555 attendees
Now, it doesn’t matter how the 555 get broken down, be it 2, 3, or 100 concerts in each state, but, the price must be set at a constant $15.00 rate. At this rate we’ll be looking at a gate of $8,325 in each state.
555 attendees x $15.00 admission= $8325.00
Quantify this in the 40 states and it adds up rather quickly.
$8325.00 (gate) x 40 states = $330,000
Now, if we’ve been good stewards and haven’t been dipping into the cookie jar, you should have a substantial amount of income from album sales and touring.
$600,000 (album sales) + $330,000 (touring)= $933,000.00 gross
Okay, so now we’re at $933,000 with a somewhat modest base (by general standards) of 40,000 fans. Let’s see where we’re at on the road to millionairedom [new word!]
$1,000,000.00 – $933,000.00 = $67,000.00
With $67,000.00 left to accumulate on the road to millionaire status, merchandise is the most viable route and also the one least sought after in the real market of Christian acappella music. Sure, every artist puts out the $15 cd, and everyone goes out on the road, but, how many actually have extension items [souvenirs] ready for distribution? Looking back at our concert formula with 555 attendees in each state, we need only 66 of those to purchase a souvenir t-shirt at the ever modest rate of $15.00 each.
$15.00 T-shirt cost x 66 purchasers = $990.00
We can expect to generate $990.00 in each state we tour in, but remember, we’re quantifying this by the 40 states we tour in.
$990.00 shirt revenue x 40 = $39,600.00
After we add these numbers up, we are now even closer to achieving our stated goal.
$933,000.00 gross + $39,600 added revenue= $972,600.00
And then we subtract….
$1,000,000.00 – $972,600.00 = $27,400
27,400! This is where it get’s kind of interesting. Why? simply put, if we were to reverse things and follow the current standard of pressing a thousand albums and selling them at the standard rate of $15, and if we did a concert say, every other weekend, covering costs and taking home a tad less than $500 for each show, then this is the number we’d be looking at come years end, and in truth, this is more realistic than the million dollar number, but, since we’re here to build a model, let’s look at the last component.
With 27k and change left to generate, we look to the time tested tradition of the poster. I mean, when I was a kid I had nothing but Four Christian Stars posters in room, but then again, I got them for free and i generally drew on the back of them. But, for most people, the Poster is a great way to commemorate the experience.
At the current industry rate, we’re going to say that 18% of all concert attendees will purchase a poster, or about 100 in each state. If we set the price at a very marginally sound $6.00, then we can expect about $600 at each location. Once again, we’re looking to quantify here, so..
100 sold x $6.00= $600.00 x 40 (states)= $24,000
$972,600.00 current gross + $24,000= $996,600.00
And Furthermore, The remaining amount.//
$1,000,000 – $996,600.00= $3,400.00
Well, we end with $3,400.00 needing to be accumulated. Why haven’t I build a function to gain this money? I think we should leave a little amount that would most likely be gained through appearance fees or some other function not seen here. One would have to suggest that If you came this close to $1 million dollars in a year, that you would probably end up finding a bevy of ways to accumulate other revenues, be it through the sale of ringtones, of through licensing or publishing, or most likely through extended album sales.
So, what have we learned throughout this whole thing? Well, the question of whether it can happen is an astounding yes. The more realistic question is whether it would happen given the fact that it hasn’t been done. The more appropriate question, even still, is whether there will be an artist who will take the time and effort to actually attempt to build a grassroots effort that would bring any legitimate amount of success?
What Do You Think?
Of late, I’ve been developing a system for managing the reporting of layby for our members.
The Layby Package [i’m just going to go with that name] is a really a set of database and merge document that allows a congregation to deliver to its members an overview of their giving, either quarterly, bi-annually, or annually.
The key to the whole package is the record keeping. At The Park [The Magnolia Park Church of Christ], the leadership was planning on implementing a giving campaign to coincide with the already existing building fund plan. The result was a system that was first implemented at the Hallandale Beach Church of Christ – the Victory Campaign. Their plan included a campaign brochure, a presentation, and a pledge card. For The Park, I designed a campaign folio, a presentation, a pledge card, a reminder card, as well as the quarterly statement which outlined each individuals giving for the quarter as well as where they stood in relation to their initial pledge.
Now, the Quarterly statement really began in December, 2007, as we were trying to roll out the official yearly statements for members. We decided that in addition to giving them the official statement with the church seal and everything, it would be nice to let each member see exactly what they gave each week. This, in turn, was well received, as many people were surprised to see the peaks and valleys in their giving throughout various times of the year. At the start of 2008 a decision was made that the initial statement would be developed further to include many elements that would be useful to the member. The Following were added for the first quarter statement:
In the Future, we look to build an internet application that shows the same information for each member.
What do you think? Is this something that you think your congregation could use? What, if any, layby reporting mechanisms do you use?
I wanted to write a post on the idea of congregational branding. Now, the idea of Branding, even as it is with marketing, a congregation is one that many people object to on the basis of misunderstanding. They look at the word marketing and automatically think in terms of people who are trying to pilfer and sell bills of goods to members; likewise, people look at the word Branding and feel that the product must be inorganic if it can’t sell itself, which is completely understanding. The exact opposite, however, is the case here. In branding, a very strategic subset of marketing, the local congregation has an opportunity to have their message at the forefront of their audiences mind. With the plurality of congregations who basically look the same on the outside, the proper exposure is important for congregations who want to present the truth.
Now, the concept of congregational strategic marketing involves defining the resources that are available to you and building a strong set of practices around those resources that will greatly enhance the perceived profile of your congregation.
There are a few necessities that every congregation should have in building this strategy;
Website – A web address is essential to todays congregation as many people look for congregations on the web. Consider looking into building a web presence, and notice the word presence, for the congregation. There are many open-source website platforms that are free to use and hosting is very reasonable for congregations.
In today’s environment, any great marketing system has to first address the overall identity of the congregation, and what better way than to have an identity system as the cornerstone. Now, an Identity system, at its core, is simply a stationary set that provides identification for your congregation. In most instances an identity system consists of a coordinated letterhead and envelope set and a business card. In more substantial cases, there are various labels and note cards and other collateral pieces that are used. The key, however, is the seemless transition from one piece of stationary to the next. This is achieved through 2 specific factors; The Logo and the color scheme.
The Logo – The logo, while important, is as simple to create as utilizing a stylized font in spelling out your congregations name. The key is consistency in usage, the fact that every time people see your name at your congregation it is always neatly displayed with the same characteristics, be it the same color and font, or any other way that generally sets your logo apart. At the Magnolia Park Church of Christ, there is both a primary logo and a secondary one. The Primary logo consists of a stylized spelling of “The Park”, the congregations name, with the title Magnolia Park Church of Christ directly underneath. This is done with the specific purpose of people associating the both the nickname and the congregation name. The nickname presents a friendly feel and is, in a sense, welcoming when seen and disarming, but at the heart is always the congregations name as to always remind people that The Park is a church. The Primary Logo is used mainly in-house for the members on all publications and there are plans to utilize it more on information that goes out to visitors and others.
The secondary logo is a much simpler logo that is just a styled capitalized M & P that appears on everything from the church bulletin to announcements and visitors cards.
The Color Scheme – It’s important to have a set of colors you work with when designing congregation materials. For one, with a defined color scheme, you’ll be able to always achieve a level of familiarity with those that receive your materials. Also, as an added bonus, you’ll not have to spend a lot of time with colors that may not work well. One of the prime points of creating a color scheme is great color usage. Think about it; on your bulletin board, which bulletins stand out? And which announcements wash out with their bland black and whites. Even if you’re pressed for money, a pre-designed letterhead with spot color will achieve both recognition and consistency in presentation.
Keep this in mind – The more time and effort that is spent on creating a smooth and consistent image for your congregation in print, the more likely it is that people will respond positively when your name is presented to them.
If you have a music ministry, then it’s time for you and your group to get out there and start making things happen. With all of the resources out there, there is no excuse for your group to lag in these particular areas.
This particular list is simple a starting point, as I intend to continue to push forward with ways in which every ministry can thrive and become what they envision themselves being.
On to the List…
This is probably going to be the easiest of all the things to do this year, but it is also the most essential to your particular ministry. Sales tracking is important to ministry management because, when done correctly, it can provide a snapshot of the ministry at any given point. Tracking can be as simple as writing on a sheet of the paper the following:
Now, the key to keeping good records is to take the data as it is collected and input it into a spreadsheet that can keep track of various sets of information. The Type of information collected will determine the scope of the research you can do in the future.
One of the great things about your music ministry is individuality. I’ve personally gone to concerts where two groups can sing the same song but sound totally different. Individuality is what makes your ministry what it is, and there is nothing more impor-tant to the cause of being seen as an individual than to have an identity system.
For the local group, an identity system is essential as its components are basically the first things that people will see when looking at your brand. A standard identity system consists of a coordinated letterhead, envelope and business card. In expanding upon this idea, you could go ahead and develop a logo to really bring home the nature of your brand.
Now, there was a time not too long ago when having a web presence meant just having a website. These days, with the emergence of social networking sites, it is not that necessary to have a top-level domain site of your own [i.e. nacama.com], in-stead, there are a number of options available so that you can have a genuine presence on the internet. Sites like myspace© and facebook™ are perfectly alright when used properly, but, with a little more research, you can find plenty of niche sites that offer ample space to host photos and other things. The Key is to put together an internet strategy for your group beforehand and don’t be quick to just post a profile on every site you see. A simple plan to follow to get started is this:
Perhaps the best thing about a blog is that most are free to host and simple to maintain. Sites like wordpress.com and blogspot.com offer free websites and for a little extra, you can have the blog point to yourgroupname.com. For those who are a little more advanced, there’s wordpress.org and joomla that offer DIY solutions for groups that want to produce their own site. Whatever you choose, look at what best fits in to your overall strategy.
SmugMug – fee-based photo sharing site [smugmug.com]
Flickr – Offers free and Premium photo sharing solutions [flickr.com]
Snapfish – offers free image hosting and sharing [snapfish.com]
Youtube – Offers video hosting and broadcasting. Strong emphasis on video channels. [youtube.com]
Vimeo – Offers hosting of HD quality videos. [vimeo.com]
This Is the Year to start a fan club for all your fans. Now, it’s fairly easy to dismiss the idea of having a fan club if you only think in terms of young pop star fan societies. But, the reality is that a ‘fan’ club is an intriguing marketing opportunity that will allow you to engage fans on a more intimate basis. Another thing to consider is that this doesn’t have to be a paid fan club, no, you’re simply trying to stay connected and relevant in the mind of those who follow you.
One good place to get started is at the community portal site, ning.com. At ning.com, you can start your very own social network, allowing members of your particular network to have their very own profile page that ties directly into your network. The good thing is that this will allow you to disseminate information across a more broad cross-section of followers.
Now, you’re probably asking how this is different from just having a website. Well, while a website is a great promotional tool, they tend to be static in nature, that is to say, they don’t tend to be updated as often as maybe even a conventional blog would. This creates a problem in that sites that don’t generate content as often are generally unable to continue to draw fans back in after the initial visit. A social net-working site, on the other hand, has the built-in feature of allowing interactivity through the creation of fans individual profiles. So, while your content may not change for a few days or weeks, or even months, the fans investment into the network will continue to bring them back to the site. Add to this the ability to host the network at a top-level domain, say, club-mygroup.com, or some other neat name, and you have the continuous stream of people who, every time they visit your site, pay to you the name recognition that you’ve built. That’s equity!
Note: Since the publication of the Music Ministry Guide back in March, I’ve decided to rename this “Start Planning a Tour”, instead of Plan a Tour. The Start planning change is reflective upon the fact that it is tough work attempting to travel the road, much more difficult than I gave credit to initially. As Such, I plan to devote an entire article to tour planning as well as introduce some tools that will hopefully assist in the execution of the tour. Ok, as you were…
The Last thing you should be doing this year is planning to go on tour. Touring is a time honored tradition that dates back to, well… I have no idea, and yet still, touring is something that every group should aspire to do at some point.
Now, planning a tour involves a number of factors, not the least of which is building a budget for your excursion. A lot of your planning will deal with the aspects that you can control;
Well then, I hope this was informative and that someone was enlightened by these simple nuggets of info. I am currently planning to expand on each one of these areas in a future post, providing links to even more resources and ideas for your ministry.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know; leave a comment.