Mark 16 vs 15: And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.
Mark 16 vs 16: Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. (NIV)
Two days ago, Christianity in Nigeria came under fire.
A young woman tweeted a story to her 5,000 followers, telling the world about her experience spreading the ‘good news’ to her Muslim uber driver.
The reactions ranged from shock, annoyance and irritation….
But yeah- the twittosphere was agog with fresh hell. Was she wrong to engage her driver in a religious parlay? Would he still have listened if at the moment she wasn't in the more powerful position? Under what terms would such a conversation be a breach of privacy? Does this mean the end of all jovial religious exchanges? And most importantly for me, what did she eventually rate the dude?
This was me, by the way.
If you thought this was a post that decries organized religion as “The opium of the people” (Thanks, Karl Marx), I’m sorry to disappoint you. Everyone knows my stance on religion- in fact, when covid broke out, I ranted about it here. So no, this is not that type of post.
What this article aims to do is draw analogies between Christianity’s rapid expansion, advancement, and longevity and compare that with the science of running a business in the 21st century. I will attempt to do this by outlining how the former created exponential growth by harnessing the 5 wheels of a Growth cycle by way of the AARRR model.
Didn't see that coming, did ya? Buckle up your seat belt, put your swords and pitchforks down (yes, Salem witch hunts were a real thing) and let's have a lesson in marketing.
The aim of every startup or company is growth. The gurus of marketing with their turtle necks and long Twitter threads have outlined the factors that create a growth engine and yesterday’s events made me realize the church has played this same game for decadesss.
It’s the reason there's a church on every street corner in Nigeria. It’s the reason Lagos-Ibadan cannot be passed on some days. It’s the reason for the private jets and Ferragamo suits. They follow these immutable laws of growth which I shall now share with you. Let's go.
Acquisition is how you attract customers to your business. The OG Christian — Jesus Christ propounded a leadership by example — a product-marketing-itself scenario where your product (or life) is soo chill, people just wanna be on that wave too. Then we have the disciples- the earliest brand ambassadors, tasked with spreading the gospel to all the nooks and grannies (yes, grandmas need the word too) of the earth and making impressions as they go. They spoke to strangers, family members, the gentiles, etc just to get the word of mouth going and to extend their reach in hope for what? Conversions. Sound familiar?
Oh yeah, remember Constantine? That was the first Super influencer. He declared Rome to be the center of Christianity and the brand spread like wildfire. Are you jotting things down? Choose your influencers, create a community, find footsoldiers and empower them to empower others. Instant growth, marketing students!
The passage I introduced this post with is quite beautiful, to be honest. In two short sentences, it covers two tenets of the growth cycle. Basically, immediately you acquire, you activate. Now for Christianity, activation is Baptism- a recognition of your acceptance into the kingdom of God performed in broad daylight for everyone to see. It sets off an us-against-them narrative (the fastest way to polarize people and gain a cult-like following) and baptized Christians are often seen to speak in tongues — another marker of their new birth.
So, what lessons do we get from this? Well, you have to make your customers experience your product immediately they sign up to use it. Show them the value you are offering them at every touchpoint within the system. If its a social media platform, show them all their contacts on the platform. If its a savings platform, give them free N1k to get started. It gives them that sense of community to be accepted as part of something. Basically, don't wait- activate.
Retention is how you will manage to keep people coming back for more. With the early Christians, it was all content marketing- From the sermon on the mount where Jesus posted viral threads on the secrets of the universe and the meaning of life, to literally feeding people who were hungry from following the man about. Our take away here is Content, baby. From drip campaigns to email newsletters, push notifications and the occasional giveaway (yes, if the son of God can do giveaway with Agege bread and Titus, you can too), the people have come to regard you as the authority in whatever field you are playing. In a world where every single thing is competing for your attention, you’d have to go the extra mile to keep eyes on your platform or your product.
Ohhh this is the sweet part: the money-making. The revenue is how you intend to collect funds for your goods and services and how much is left over when you calculate what it takes to gain a single customer. I’m just going to skip over this part so I don't annoy God (multiple offerings in the same service, segmentation of services, upselling believers through content marketing, and Malachi 3 v 8) but yeah, it goes without saying that your CAC (customer acquisition costs) must be lower than your ad spend. Thus saith the Laws.
Referrals bring us full circle to the post at the beginning of this article. A product or service truly hits exponential growth when customers become brand ambassadors. It is an integral part of marketing and it's no wonder Jesus Christ himself said “Go into the world and preach the gospel..” when he rose from the dead — yeah, it's that important. People talk and you want them to spread the word (in Christianity's case-literally) and convert others for you. This brings down your customer acquisition cost as you spend less to gain more customers which in turn increases revenue which drives more acquisition which…you get the picture.
Whew. Talk about Sunday school, amirite?
Regarding the conversation between the Uber lady and the Muslim driver and the implications of consent or the lack of it, I just have one thing to say — You do not beat a fish for swimming. An integral part of both mainstream religions is to go out and convert. Everyone is essentially a salesperson for the God they serve. You might twist it with the modern-day definitions of personal space but you see, marketing is baked into the core of the Abrahamic religions. Let’s not forget the crusades or the various Jihad’s we’ve..well..had. We cannot keep fighting the symptoms of a problem- unless we are afraid to confront the problem itself.
That brings me to the end of my midnight snack. If you want to talk digital strategy, SEO, content, or growth stuff for your brand, you can mention me here or click here to visit my website. Till then, I hope your customers become your ambassadors. ❤️
“Mankind is not likely to salvage civilization unless he can evolve a system of good and evil which is independent of heaven and hell.