Denise Stoppleworth – President – IRONCLAD Marketing

Denise Stoppleworth

Okay, we’ve all read that famous poem about everything you needed to know about life was learned in Kindergarten. True and poignant. Got me thinking. There are so many crossovers in life where basic rules and lesson apply.

I recently directed the Christmas program at my church. Trust me, working with 40-plus kids under the age of 13 to pull off a meaningful program is about as far from my normal day-to-day life as you can get (though I do often accuse Mitch and Kevin of acting like children!). But, in the process of practice and directing, I found myself conveying messages that aren’t uncommon to what I tell clients and staff on a frequent basis.

So here are the marketing lessons learned in directing the Christmas program:

1. You can’t communicate a message if you don’t first understand the message yourself.

Case in point: My fifth grade daughter. She was one of the narrators for the program and her part consisted of mostly quoting bible passages. Let’s face it, not all bible passages are easy to understand or to read. They take some real thought to understand the message. Sure, the nativity story itself is fairly straightforward, but this program was more than just that, and the other parts took a bit more to interpret. We spent a lot of time talking about the message being conveyed so she could appropriately deliver it.

2. Know your audience.

It’s one of the basics of marketing…and of Christmas programs. As I worked with 10 adorable preschool children to practice their lines, I had one little girl quietly smile and speak her part into the microphone in a little more than a whisper. At that point, I knelt down to look her in the eye and said, “That was great. But you know what? My dad is going to be here for the Christmas program and he’s a grandpa. He’ll likely be in the very back of the church and his hearing aids don’t work so well. I don’t want him to miss a single word, so can you make sure that you say it loud enough so even he can hear it?” Guess what, the night of the program, every 3, 4 and 5 year old said their parts perfectly for even the most hearing-challenged in the audience!

3. If you’re passionate about your message, it will come across in your presentation.

Anyone who has spent time with me knows I’m big on passion and doing everything you do with enthusiasm. And when it comes to the heart of the true meaning of Christmas, there is no group more passionate than young children. Any mishaps, or missteps (like saying, “She gave birth to her firstborn, a son….” before Mary, Joseph and the donkey even made it to the stable) are quickly forgotten and overshadowed by the power of the passion put into conveying the message. Dare I say there was not a dry eye in the church? Okay, perhaps that’s a stretch – but I was teary-eyed.

And I’m happy to say that, despite the stress and the minor mistakes, the program was a huge hit! But more than that, it was a time to apply some basic communications lessons to convey a wonderful message. And, it was a gentle reminder that each and every day is a learning opportunity if we’re just open to it.

It’s funny how marketing lessons seem to be everywhere in life. Or rather it’s life lessons that are everywhere in marketing.

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